Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Re-entry: Joys and Discombobulations!

What a joy to return home to family and friends after being away for a month in Niger!
How awesome it has been to serve our living Savior in a country that is dry physically and spiritually!

How can I respond to questions such as:
How was your trip? Long flights, no major glitches, some empty planes, some crowded planes
How's Africa? I was only in one country, was peaceful and needy
Was it hot? Yes, most days in the 110F (43C) range and very dry
Did you get sick? Against all odds, I got malaria, but I was able to keep working. (Yes I was sleeping under a mosquito net and taking Malerone as my daily prophylaxis) 
What did you eat? What was put before me :) I ate a lot of delicious mangoes and baguette with cheese. Hospital food was tasty and filling...pasta, rice, or couscous with a sauce of vegetables and sometimes a bit of meat (don't ask!)
What did you do? Remember that's not the best question....Who was I with?
Who were you with, then? It was a joy to be with the three missionary families serving with CURE International, the Negrini, the Lehman and the Roark Families and Angele Fischbach a young nurse from France. Together we had the privilege of serving disabled children and their families at the CURE Hopital des Enfants au Niger.
OK but what did you do serving with CURE....?
Fair enough:) I function as a Nurse Consultant for CURE. My responsibilities are many and varied. This journey, I was involved in:
  • praying daily with every patient and their caregivers alongside of Pastor Hassane, the Spiritual Director of the Hospital
  • encouraging nurses on the ward to give thoughtful, appropriate and excellent care
  • mentoring nurses to improve wound care techniques
  • reviewing applications, testing and interviewing candidates for nursing position openings
  • working alongside, praying and encouraging Angele the expatriate nurse...we loved each other!
  • observing, helping, serving alongside the medical and nursing staff....
  • enjoying the fellowship and mutual encouragement of the CURE families and Angele

Success for Salatamatou-repaired cleft lip and restored health.

Another little darling, called Nana! Her hands and feet are tied to prevent her from infecting the suture line of her cleft repair....not a form of punishment! Nana is a cheerful and much loved little baby girl, once rejected by her mother, now loved by the whole family.
Here is another dear young patient who had a growth removed from his abdomen...he is carrying his drain around like a prized possession.....for some reason he attached himself to me...what a dear one. I like to sing to all my patients!  
Can you see the joy on my face as I serve the Lord in Niger? It's not just for the camera! It is a great privilege to serve the children, families, and staff knowing that as I serve the 'least of these', I am serving my dear Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, yes, I am so glad to be home to my family in the USA.....but can you see that I have left a piece of my heart in Niger? (Hence, the feelings of discombobulation!) No I don't have the 'unfydiddleums', I am just a little confused with hearing only English and no French. I am confused by the rain, the cold temps, the green, the quiet, the lack of dark faces, the lack of street vendors to buy my bread, the lack of camels...donkeys....I am confused by the abundance of the Western world and the poverty of Niger.
Confused....yes! Discombobulated...yes! Part of trans-cultural missions is moving between various people groups....even in trust is in Him who transcends cultures, communities, continents and my confusion. So this morning.....Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!