Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wishing you a...

Appi Krismes
Merry Christmas from Sierra Leone!!!
Wishing you all the best from sunny Freetown.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Back to work...

Wednesday was an early start considering my late night! Instead of going to the clinic I went with Jenny (my replacement) to the local children’s hospital and visited some patients we had referred and brought them christmas gifts. A 6 month old I had referred to the feeding center weighing 3.4 kg was now much better, weighing 4.8 kgs at 7 months…still small of course, but she had chubby cheeks which is always a good sign! After that we went to the clinic. That afternoon we had our Christmas party. It was quite different than your average western party. It was quite African…loud singing, dancing, cheering etc. The staff definitely had a great time.

Thursday was my first clinic day and the last of this year as my staff is now on holiday! I saw about 30 patients and it was easy to get back into the swing of things. One of the nurse’s ask if I would see the patients on my own in Krio or if I needed translation. I said ‘well, I’m not sure if I remember everything”. Her response was “try, if you get stuck, call us”. So I did. And I was in their on my own for the majority of the day seeing patients in Krio…once in a while asking one of the nurses to come in and help out! The most fun part of the day was playing Santa. I bought cookies for all of the children and let each child pick out a stuffed animal. They loved it.

It’s Christmas time. My staff has taken leave up until the new year. So for me this is a quieter period…time to catch up on sleep, work on admin stuff (statistics etc), enjoy the season etc. We have some visitors coming from the Anastasis as well so I’m sure we’ll have a great Christmas here in Freetown.

I’ll post some pictures on my blog sometime soon!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Trip back to SL...

After spending 3 weeks in Holland I made it back safe and sound to SL. I had a great time in Holland seeing family and friends. I was spoiled over and over again! Thank you!!!

I left Holland on Monday and flew to London. I was in for a treat there as well. We had a mini Anastasis reunion which was fun and our hostess was so generous! On Tuesday I flew from London to Freetown. The flight was delayed, as it often is! We finally left 1 ½ hours later than scheduled. The most interesting part of the trip was watching and experiencing my co-fliers! In London they were very sophisticated and patient while checking-in and boarding. Most were Sierra Leoneans, some of who hadn’t been home for 10 years! On arrival in Freetown things were a bit hectic. I was confronted with the culture right away. When people disagree here, they generally tend to yell and shout. Well, we almost had a fist fight at the baggage claim area as one lady accidently took some one else’s suitcase off of the belt! She was accused of being a thief etc. All ended well. Welcome back…! After getting our suitcases we were hassled by men trying to ‘help’ us out as we were making our way to the hovercraft ticket counter. We could easily manage our luggage on our own, however, these guys like to ‘help’ out because then they can ask us for a tip! To make a long story short after about 2 hours of waiting, watching, avoiding arguments, etc. we departed by hovercraft, arriving on the otherside after 1 am. It was a long day.

It was good to arrive at our compound and felt good to be in my own place again, even though it was a very empty room. Before leaving I had to take everything out of my room so that the walls could be fixed. Well, they were fixed and re-painted. My room had never looked this good, as the walls had started leaking and molding away the day I moved in earlier this year!

Anyway, it’s good to be back and I’m ready to go again.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mercy Ships SL news...

Mercy Ships Sierra Leone consists of 2 programs: New Steps and the Aberdeen Clinic and Fistula Centre (ACFC). I work in the clinic part of the ACFC. To give you more insight into the programs we run you can check out the Mercy Ships Sierra Leone newsletters. The latest update on both programs can be found by clicking on the following link:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Peace in the midst of poverty...

As the UN's 5 year mission in Sierra Leone comes to an end questions arise regarding the stability and safety of the country. Is it only peaceful on the surface? Is the country like a volcano, waiting to erupt? I don't know what the next weeks and months will bring. Sierra Leone is still one of the poorest countries in the world. And along with poverty come corruption, injustice, instability. Only time can tell what will happen in this country. I can only hope and pray that the people will stand together, keep peace and work together to re-build their beautiful country.

Click on the following link to read one of the "10 stories the world should hear more about" regarding the end of the UN mission in Sierra Leone.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


“Where is it?” “What is it?” “Does it exist?”
The last few days I've been thinking about home...

After living in Holland for about 10 years, it finally started feeling like home. Then I left. Now I’m back for a few weeks and realize I miss not having a place of my own. It feels awkward and strangely enough it feels like I don't have a home anymore.

HOME: is it a place? is it a feeling? is it a group of people? While figuring this out I'll reflect on the following quotes.

"One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time."
(Hermann Hesse. 1960)

"Home is where the heart is and hence a movable feast." (Angela Carter. 1976)

"Home is any four walls that enclose the right person."

(Helen Rowland. 1903)

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in." (Robert Frost. 1914)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Chance of a life time...

In November Nathan & his mom travelled from Kenema to Freetown, in the hope that they would find help for Nathan. One look at Nathan and my heart melted; what a happy healthy baby. Despite his deformity he was full of smiles. And his mom, though very concerned, obviously loved him very much- it’s not everyday in Sierra Leone that you see a 10 month old weighing 10 kilograms! I hoped for the best and called the ship to ask if they could do his surgery, knowing this was probably Nathan’s only chance.

A little later I was able to tell Nathan and his mom that they're going to make a trip to Liberia in January 2006 for the operation! Nathan’s mom was happy and it was a relief for her to see before and after pictures of other children who underwent surgery, as she thought that her son was the only child in the world with this condition. Also when Nathan was born, her family told her that it was ‘an act of the devil’. It was great to tell her that her son had not been cursed, that she didn’t do anything wrong, and that there was help available for Nathan. Nathan & his mom left the clinic that day with a letter for the ship, a surgical appointment card and a thankful heart. I left the clinic knowing that another chid has been given the opportunity of a life time- an opportunity that will change his life.

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