Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More news...

Here's another short update on how I am doing. I tried emailing earlier this week...but couldn't connect. I guess that's just a part of life here in SL. :)

I am doing pretty good. We are all very busy, trying to get the VVF centre as well as the clinic ready so that we can start seeing patients. I have already realized that this is definitely a pioneering mission- which means that it takes a lot of time and effort to get systems in place! For many of us, this is a whole new line of work. We're trying our best to get things done but it's not always easy. We are sometimes limited by transport, often by time, and by lack of resources. We do all know that this is what we should be doing. And that God's timing is perfect!

We're not only trying to get things ready at the Center, but also trying to get settled in at the team compound. We are very happy with the place we have- it's amazing. A container arrived last Wednesday from Holland- and we spent most of this past weekend putting together our kitchen tables and chairs, dressers, beds etc. A busy weekend! Up until yesterday I was sharing a room- which was fine really. But it is nice to now have a room of my own (at least for now!) and I was able to move in yesterday. I don't have any furniture yet, as that is on the next container- but with time I will make it my little home. I even have my own bathroom! The best part about our compound is the gazebo...a place where we sit and talk, eat, catch a breeze, have our Krio lessons, enjoy tea parties etc. Hopefully in the future we'll have some great barbeques and parties there :)

Okay, this is it for now!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

First week in Sierra Leone

Greetings from Freetown, Sierra Leone; where I’ve been since Monday.

On Monday a friend dropped me off at the airport in Brussels. The flight was only 6 hours, since we flew directly to Freetown instead of stopping in Abidjan first. After collecting our luggage (I met up with other team members in Brussels), we found out that the hovercraft was broken. Surprise, surprise.That meant we had to take the helicopter- a 7 minute ride. Of course we had to wait awhile before we could actually get onboard, because we were in the 4th load of people going, and the helicopter had to refuel. It was a hot and sweaty wait, at 32 degrees Celsius. The helicopter ride – my first ever – was, to say the least, noisy, but exciting too.

The team house is great. Quite a bit of space and a good lay out. And the team is great too. We have a generator, which is on during the evenings. But of course, as one would expect, it cuts out every now and then. We also have running water -most of the time- on day 2 we got back from a sweaty day at work and had NO water till the next morning. And we have normal (western) toilets and showers. I can’t complain.

I spent this past week sorting out boxes and their contents, and finding places to put them. One of the wards, our storage ward for now, was filled from right to left and top to bottom with boxes. We had to move boxes out of the room in order to be able to get an overview of what was all in there! And all of the boxes needed to be opened because what was written on the box often wasn’t what was actually in the box! Finally we were able to put all of the boxes in piles, according to where they belong. It was quite a job…and is not quite done. And we’re expecting another container to come in this week!

Never a dull moment….
We are storing some of the boxes in a huge shipping container…next to the hospital, which we now refer to as the HOT BOX as it is about 40 degrees C in there. Diane (nurse) & I were clever enough to load the boxes onto a bed with wheels, so that we could just roll the bed (with boxes) to the container. Well, we might be clever, but we can’t steer very well.
As we were going off of the ramp to the hot box, the front wheel slipped over the edge of the ramp! The bed started tipping over…almost squashing one of the local guys who was sitting there mixing cement. And a bunch of our boxes fell into his wheelbarrow – which was filled with water and cement! Oops! What could we say- except that it was the wheels fault! Everyone thought it was quite funny…except for the cement guy! I guess we need moments like this every once in a while!

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~