Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Week 4: Lweendo.

September 13, 2012

            WHAT A DAY.
            Today I went to class, had breakfast, and then went to the clinic! Today all the people who aren’t medical majors got to go if they wanted to! I wanted to see what it was like so I went and shadowed Mrs. Bingham. It really is quite amazing what she does. She is so good with kids and just people in general. It amazed me how she was able to ask only a handful of questions and then was able to prescribe them something. I loved watching her in action.
            We stayed there until lunch and then came back, ate, had class, and then it was time for a group of us to leave to go to the Kalomo Hospital. We got there and walked into the first room. I was immediately surprised. Clearly, I didn’t think it would be like a hospital in America, but we walked into a concrete room with as many beds as they could fit, one patient after another. One woman was lying on the bed with her child that had burns and bandages all over its little face and body. Another woman was sprawled out asleep. It was obvious they each had something different, but they were all in the same room. It seemed so inefficient in terms of keeping diseases from spreading from one person to the next. But we went from room to room, singing, praying, and sharing a word of encouragement. One room we went into, the Women’s Ward, had older women and younger ones, all will different ailments. There was a mentally ill young woman that looked to be in her 20s. We were about to pray and she kept shouting, “No! No!” And once Jeremy started the prayer she kept saying, “In the name of Jesus get out!” and once Jeremy said, “Amen.” She looked at us and said, “Help me.” I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. She asked if we would pray again except this time for her specifically. The Zambian man that was translating for us, Ba Nomuswa, told her that a pastor would come back another day and pray with her. It was definitely an experience. It makes me wonder if it really is a mental illness or possibly possession? How do we know, really? Who knows.
            We left that room to go visit the Mother’s Ward. The ward consisted of a concrete slab room with 30+ women packed into it just lying around. Flies EVERYWHERE. I have never been around or even seen so many flies in one place. We encouraged them through song and in a small devotional thought. They sang us a song as thank you for coming. I loved it. After we had a greeting line with them we came back for dinner.
            Then it was time to meet our Tonga tutors! FINALLY! They were almost an hour late (of course) but finally arrived. I met my tutor, Munalula Musa. She’s 24 years old and was so sweet! We talked about everything possible when meeting someone. Family, friends, majors, hobbies, cooking, sports, boys, any and everything. She told me her name in Tonga means, “Someone who was loved before she was born.” I loved that. We’ve planned to hang out and watch movies, paint nails, and things like that so I am so excited. We talked for about an hour or so and then it was time for her curfew.
            They left and Petra, Parker, and I decided to go talk to Webster at the Estes House. He told us some snake stories, which were hilarious. But then it was time for curfew so we had to tell him goodbye. It has been such a full, but great day.

God, thank You for the blessing of days like today.  For the miracle of medicine , the gift of friendship, and the precious moments in everything. There is something special about this place. God, I pray You continue to change me without holding back. No matter what, just do it. As long as I have Your peace I will do whatever You want me to do. I pray for Munalula. Thank you for sending her to me finally! I pray this relationship is beautiful. I ask that you be with the orphans and widows. Let them feel Your love. Give me a forgiving spirit. I love You.
 Use me Jesus Christ. In whatever way. Whatever way.

September 14, 2012

            Another day in Zambia! Full and fulfilling.
            Today we had class, and then instead of Humanities we had independent study. Field Work along with one of the nursing classes meets at that time and since I’m not in either, Aubrey and I went to her house. She was making posters of Scripture to put up around her house and asked me what some of my favorite verses were. It was really encouraging going through some of my favorite ones and being reminded of how cool God is. We talked about hers too and we both shared some of the people we miss most from home.
            After about an hour we went to breakfast and then waited about 30-45 minutes to go to the George Benson Graduation! It was supposed to start 9:00 but it didn’t begin until after 10:00. We are starting to get the hang of this “being late for everything” (which is really being on time) so we didn’t  show up until about 9:30. We got there and the ceremony was set up outside under a bunch of tarps tied to a thicker sticks that made a little canopy for everyone to sit under. It was so nice with the breeze. We waited around and sat and talked for about an hour and then finally it started and the college choir danced in. It was so fun to watch! I love how even serious events like graduation turn into a party! When they danced in and sat down, the graduates followed with music and dancing as well. And then the teachers came in. There was music, but no dancing :) Everyone had gotten there and then a man they called “The Guest of Honor” came in. The program focused more on the Guest of Honor than the students graduating. Even the student that spoke at the end for his whole class (like a valedictorian’s speech) addressed his speech toward the Guest of Honor. Apparently the person considered the Guest of Honor changes every year and I didn’t catch who the man this year was. I think he was high up on the education ladder in Zambia, but I couldn’t make out what exactly he did. They presented lots of awards. When a student’s name was called out, they danced up to the front to receive it and the parents danced out of the crowd to the front for a picture with their child. It was hilarious. After 3.5 hours it was finally over. It seemed so so long. Once they announced that the ceremony was “diminished” the smiles and hugs that were passed around surprised me! Everyone had huge smiles on their faces and parents were standing up clapping for their children. It made me realize how special and big of a deal it is to be a college graduate here.
            Afterwards our group walked back, had lunch, and then Morgan and I went to the Havens. I went straight to Haven 1. Aaron is HUGE! Well, compared to what he was when I got here! Meagan told me that she has weighed him and he’s gained a bunch! Which makes me SO happy because weight gain usually means healthy baby! Meagan assigned me another baby today too! Chilala, 3 weeks old, is having lots of diarrhea and just needs some extra holding is what Meagan told me. She was crying so I picked her up and then a doctor along with some interns came in. The doctor came to check on all of the babies that Meagan was concerned about. She looked at Chilala along with a couple others. I went to Haven 3 to see JoJo and talked with one of the interns for a little bit while massaging Joel and feeding him. But we had to leave shortly after for dinner.
            So Morgan and I came back, ate, and then a group of us went to the Merritt’s to sing! Love. It. So. Much. I met 3 boys that are good friends with the Merritt’s: David, Lee, and Crae. They were so nice! I just have such positive feelings about people that I meet here and the place in general. We left after a few minutes of talking. Once we got back, River, Molly, Petra, Bridget, Kaitie, and I all decided to go star tripping. It was SO great. And hilarious. We laughed and laughed. And laughed. Whenever we fell to the ground we would become covered in stickers, but we were laughing so hard I didn’t even care. Speaking of stars, the stars here are incredible. You can SEE the Milky Way. It is breath taking. After star tripping we all talked for a couple minutes and then came home for curfew.

God, thank You for the blessing of today. Thank You for the laughter that today brought. I love that we love laughing together. I ask You that we grow closer as a unit, and are as effective as we can possibly be. I’m sorry for the moments I failed You today. I pray for the Zambians that are hurting. Be their Comforter and Peace. I pray for the struggles among our group. Life is hard and I pray for the ones among us to continue being strong and seeing You in ways we never have before. I love You Jesus.
 Here I am God. Use me.

September 15, 2012

            Today was such a needed day of rest. I woke up and went to breakfast and then a woman named Mrs. Daka came and talked to us about marriage and other things from the perspective of Zambians. Mrs. Daka’s role in the community is one of a mentor. She teaches the daughters of the community what to expect when married. Once a girl is “ready to be seen as a woman” in the community or is about to be married, she takes them in and teaches them what they need to know to be a good wife. A lot of things were super surprising to me. When a daughter has her period for the first time she is taken into a hut of her parents and is kept there for three months away from society. The bride price still happens here. If the husband beats the wife, the wife doesn’t tell anyone so that respect for the home can stay in the community. There were many many more things that are so different from our culture. It’s so interesting.
            After her talk, a group of us walked to town. It’s 7 kilometers and took almost an hour and a half to walk. It made me realize how far some women walk on a daily basis whether it be for work or town or water. It was hard for us, but these women do it with babies on their backs and then add a huge jug of water on their heads on the return trip.
            We finally got to town, had lunch at El Pantano, and then walked around looking at things. I got 2 jerseys and just walked around with the rest of the group while they were looking for some zitenge. We were out in the sun ALL day and I felt so drained. We rested at the bakery for a while and after about 4 hours of being in town we left.
            We came back to the Mission, changed clothes, and went to play ultimate Frisbee until dinner. It was so much fun! We had dinner and then Petra, Parker, and I played cards. Then half of our group came outside and we played a MONSTER game of Nerts. It was nuts. Starting to feel the effects of the sun and the day’s journey I went to bed. It was so nice to have a down day after such intensive work all week.

God, thank You for the day we had today. Thank You for the blessing of friends here. Please keep talking to me about the future. Give me peace of mind that You will let me know what You want. And that whatever I feel You’ve said, is true. Please don’t let me fail You God. Keep us all close. I love You.
 Don’t let my life be lived unused by You. Use me up.

September 16, 2012

            Such a great day! Today I woke up, had breakfast, and went to church in the Johnson Auditorium. Some people traveled to a village church about an hour away, but I just wasn’t up for it today so I went with a group to the Johnson. It was so nice understanding everything going on and being able to participate in the singing. And I didn’t have to ride in a bus to get there! It was only a 5 minute walk! Such a nice break.
            We got back and I worked on some homework until lunch. Katie Daggett fixed us a homemade Italian meal of pasta, salad, and homemade bread. It was so good. After that I went to the Havens until it was time for church. I went to Haven 1 and Aaron was sleeping so I decided to start at Haven 3 with Joel. We sat for a long time with a toy xylophone with colored plates. I would use the plastic mallet and make noise on the xylophone. He would take the mallet from me and hold it, look at me, and then look back at the toy. And finally after minutes and minutes and minutes of just sitting there tapping the xylophone, handing him the mallet, having him stare at me, and then hand it back, he FINALLY hit the xylophone with the mallet! It made me feel so good! I tried working on standing up, but he wanted nothing to do with it today. But that was totally fine! He responded to me with the xylophone, so I’m just going to take it one step at a time. I went back to Haven 1 and Aaron was still asleep, so I changed some babies, played with some others, and then went and picked up Aaron. He. Is. Growing. I love it but I hate it. He woke up when I picked him up and had a HUGE smile on his face. I love that little man. We had such a good day bouncing and dancing and singing and smiling. I also held Chilala today. She is such a little thing.
            We left the Havens and came back to the Hamby and I did a little more homework. It was time for us to leave to go to Sunday night church. After the message a few groups got up and sang some songs. Prince and Lee (the friend we met from Eric’s House) went up with some other guys and sang and did amazing. They’re so great. After the service I met a couple of girls from the secondary school. We talked for a few minutes and they gave Petra and I Tonga names! Mine is “Lweendo” which means path. I asked her why path, and she said, “You know, like you’re on the path to Heaven!” I thought that was really sweet. We came back home, had a super late dinner, and now are headed off to bed!

God, thank You for today. It’s starting to become more and more difficult. Not the being here part, but the being away part. I need You more and more everyday. You are with me Lord. Just keep reminding me of that.

September 17, 2012

            Today was such a long, busy day. But! I got to Skype with Alex last night which was SUCH a blessing. We didn’t get to see each other since the connection slowed way down when our video was on, but we did get to talk! Which was great. It makes me miss him so much!
            I got to class this morning, SO tired, and listened to Ba Siaziyu teach Tonga and Humanities. We had breakfast and then a group of us went to the primary school. We pulled up and were greeted by the principal who told us that she was going to split us up into all the classrooms and that we in charge of class. We were all just looking at each other like, “Uhhh..” What we thought was going to be a day of observation quickly turned into a day of us Makuas being in charge. Addie, Morgan, and I went into the classroom filled with the Grade 7 students. The teacher, Ba Loveness, handed us some books and directed us to the pages she wanted us to teach and walked out. We taught about entrepreneurship, initiation ceremonies (as in when a boy/girl becomes a man/woman and how society here acknowledges that), and all the different types of farming. It was SO awkward at first because we literally had nothing prepared. But we did it! The kids were dead silent most of the time, but I know they understood us since their teacher was talking to them in English while we walked in. I think they were just scared of us! Which, I mean, I don’t blame them! Towards the end, especially when we were talking about farming, they opened up and answered a lot of questions. However, it was time to go and as we were leaving a lot of the students had come outside for their lunch break. As we were pulling away all you see is this whole stoop covered in dark faces, white teeth, and waving hands. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen yet.
            We came back and had lunch, and then a group of girls went to the Havens. We went until dinner. Aaron was wonderful. We danced and sang a lot today! Joel was also great. He interacted with me lots today. He was so cuddly too! He would just lay his head against my chest. He did such a great job interacting. We left, had dinner, and then had Mission Anthropology.
            Then it was time for Family Meeting and we talked about everything from this past week. After the meeting, Katie Daggett asked Petra, Kaitie, and I if we wanted to go see Ginsen at Meagan’s house since we went with Meagan to take Ginsen to her doctor’s appointment last week. We got there and Ginsen’s little eyes were glazed and her mouth was hanging wide open. She looked so sick. Meagan and Louisa took out Ginsen’s IV because she is declining so rapidly. It was an eye-opening moment because it meant that there was literally nothing that us as humans could do anymore. We all just sat there at the feet of Meagan as she was holding her, listening to Ginsen breathe. There were a few times that her breaths skipped and it made us all nervous that she was about to go. After an hour of sitting there I was just praying in my head that God would just take her. Her breaths turned into short wheezes and we were all just waiting.  Meagan told us that at this point it’s just a matter of trying to make her as comfortable and as peaceful as possible. Petra, Kaitie, and I had to leave because of curfew and when we said goodbye we knew it was our last goodbye to Ginsen. Her little body just can’t take it much longer. It’s so hard to comprehend because everything in me thinks we could be doing more, but I know there isn’t anything left but prayer.

God, I DON’T understand the ways of this world. I don’t know why these things happen to these tiny babies. Well, I know its sin, but God it’s so real here. The reality of sin. Looking at Ginsen’s eyes, watching her little chest rise and fall with her wheezy breaths. The reality of sin, my sin, in this world is like a slap in the face. My sin does this. It robs people of life. It reveals Satan for just what he is: a thief that really does only come to take, murder, and devastate. And to have a dying 5-week-old baby’s face to look at while realizing this...God, we need You. I love You God and I believe You are good. God if Ginsen passes tonight, I know I’ll need You tomorrow. Keep holding her. Keep holding me.
 Use me through it all, Lord. I love You.

September 18, 2012

            Today was SUCH a great day.
            This morning I woke up, went to class, and then before breakfast Petra and I went to Meagan’s house to see what went on with Ginsen in the night. We got there and she was still awake! We were in shock. Everyone was. We sat there with her for about 30 minutes and then went to breakfast. After breakfast we headed over to chapel and after that Petra and I came back to Meagan’s. We sat with her for about 2 hours talking about everything. About the way life is here, relationships, and things that go through her head. I asked her what goes on in her head when babies pass away. She said she used to be really angry at herself and feel a lot of guilt because her job is to catch sicknesses before they get out of control. So when she has a child in her arms about to die she has a hard time feeling like she could have done something else or if she could have only caught something sooner. She said she’s not numb to death, but it’s just stopped surprising her. I also asked her how she knew here is where she needed to be indefinitely and she said she just felt like there was nowhere else she could be, and do what she felt like was necessary. She felt like the lifestyle the Bible says we’re to live isn’t seen often. It’s so rare. And she feels like caring for orphans and widows is something that is written about all through the Bible and that everyone should be doing something about. That isn’t a specific or individual calling. It’s something everyone should be working on and helping with. She wants to do something meaningful and she feels like this is it for her. Of course she feels lonely. Of course she feels like she’s missing out sometimes. But she said a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says something to the effect of, “For every missed thing there is something gained.” I thought that was such a great thought. I know she’s missing out at home, but what she’s gaining in its place is so worth it. It was such a beautiful thing seeing her talk with that baby in her arms. Speaking words of hope and truth in a situation that seems so drear and full of despair. She said that here in Africa she finds it hard to deal with sickness sometimes because our reaction is to help, help, help. But sometimes, like now with Ginsen, there’s nothing left for her to do and all you can do is just sit alongside people and suffer and cry with them.
            I hope that one day I can find myself here with her. For some amount of time at least. It is such a beautiful life here. But not the kind of beauty that people use to describe perfection. It’s full of pain and hurt, but the kind where good comes out of the ashes. The kind that hurts, but heals. That paradox kind of beauty. That is what is found here. And that is what I’m in love with. In this culture you find what matters. That’s what I’ve been looking for.
            Meagan told us she was going to get some sleep since she’d been up all night with Ginsen, so Petra and I left and came across Memory. Memory is 19 and she helps the cooks with food and cleaning. She is precious. I love talking to her. She’s so down to earth and I feel like we’re people that would be friends in the States. She’s so gentle ad such a quiet spirit. We talked to her about culture here and how the West is starting to move in and change things. I couldn’t help but sit there and feel super embarrassed about it. I hated being from the West in that moment. To know that my kind of people is what’s changing Africa and removing them from their traditional ways. In some ways like medicine and hygiene that’s good. But in ways like dress and respect, it is so so sad.
            After we talked with her for about an hour and helped her with the salad, we had lunch and then class. After class I answered some e-mails and then realized it was already time for dinner! E-mails take such a long time to answer and give details and just say everything I want to say.
            After dinner and a few minutes of journaling, Parker, Petra, Bridget, Aubrey, and I went on top of the containers too look at the stars since the power was out. The stars were like something I have NEVER seen before. You can see the Milky Way brighter than ever. I wish there were a word other than beautiful to describe it, but that’s all I know. It is so beautiful. We brought out blankets and watched a movie. Right after the movie was over it was curfew so I came home and jumped in bed! Such a great feeling.

God, thank You for this day. I’m just in awe that Ginsen has hung on not only through the night, but all day. Let Your will be done. I love You Jesus. I pray for my friends back home. That You reveal Yourself to them just as much as You are revealing to me here.
 Use me Jesus. Have Your way.

September 19, 2012

            What a day! I woke up, went to class this morning feeling super tired. The past three mornings it’s been such a struggle to get out of the bed! But I went to class and after our Humanities class we had breakfast and then chapel. After chapel we had Mission Anthropology and then I worked on my blog post for Mission Anthropology until lunch. Before we started eating lunch Jeremy told us that Ginsen passed away in the night between 1-2 AM. It saddened me but more relief came over me than sadness. I knew she needed to go.
            We had lunch and then a lot of us went to the Havens until dinner! Joel was his normal self! He certainly does hug more, but there wasn’t any major breakthrough today. I would say a little is definitely better than none. Aaron was actually sort of cranky today! But he without a doubt just keeps getting cuter and cuter. We left there and ran into Meagan behind Haven 3 on our way out. She told us she wants some of us to repaint some of the names on the headstones in the Haven graveyard. I think I would like to help her with that.
            We got back to the Hamby, had dinner, and then Bridget and Aubrey and I went to the cabana table to talk. We came back after a few minutes to find Petra and Prince sitting with Chris. We sat down and talked, sang and played cards! Chris showed us this crazy magic trick that we STILL don’t know how in the world it happens, but it is so weird! And real looking! Then, we decided to do something called the Cinnamon Challenge. It’s where you take a tablespoon of cinnamon and try to swallow it. Sarah, Petra, Bridget, and I did it and not even 20 seconds later we were all spitting it out and Bridget and I threw up! I threw up three times! It was THE weirdest feeling ever and I will never do it again! It was miserable. Oh my word. The rest of the night until curfew I could feel the cinnamon in my throat and nose. After our turn Parker and Prince did it and were STONE faced the whole time. And they both swallowed it! I could not believe it! Prince’s face didn’t budge at all. It was like nothing was happening at all. It was super impressive. After laughing lots and trying to spit all the cinnamon out of my mouth every 5 seconds it was time for us all to disperse and go back to our houses for curfew.

God, thank You for today. For all the laughs and even got the news of baby Ginsen. Thank You that she’s in Your arms now. I pray You keep me focused and in tune with Your leading. I need it Lord. I love You.
 I pray that you use me wherever, whenever. At the Havens, among our group, whatever You wish.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, sweet Holly. You have no idea how much I enjoy reading your words and how much they impact my heart. I can't exactly tell if you are a little homesick or not, but I long to be where you are. It sounds so beautiful. Definitely not easy or comfortable, but just beautiful. I'm so sad for Ginsen. It has to be so hard to see that happen. I just love that y'all were able to be with her and alleviate some of her suffering. And my favorite part about everything is the name of your tutor; that is absolutely precious! my heart was so full when I read what it meant. so amazing. I feel like you were created for this, for what you are doing now. I am so so happy for you. I miss you a ton. Probably more than you realize. I'm sure Alex does too. But seriously, this blog is so wonderful and I'm so glad you have been able to write so much about your experiences. I can't wait to tell you about Will proposing! I was literally in shock; I never saw it coming. We have already set a date too: August 3rd! At this place called the Oaks in Centreville. It's GORGEOUS. So excited :) hopefully, africa won't steal you away forever and you will be able to come. I look forward to seeing your beautiful face and having a sleepover and just talking for hours. I love you so much, Holly.