Friday, March 07, 2008

Three years ago I arrived in Sierra Leone...

...and I'm still here!

It is crazy to think that exactly three years ago I entered our teamhouse compound for the first time. A place that is home to me now, was so strange to me then. The high walls 'decorated' with razor wire and two security guards on our compound seem very normal now. I'm the only one who has lived at this house for 3 full years! I'm the most permanent person here! (mind you my parents have been in country longer but they live elsewhere)

This evening I went to the heliport to pick up Jo - a doctor coming to work in the clinic for 2 months - covering for me while I am away. Driving back from the heliport to the house this evening made me think back to March 7, 2005. The day I left Holland. Flew out of Brussels. Met Dr. Josette and her twin boys, and their teacher James. And flew to Freetown.

I remember arriving at the airport and meeting Pastor Mark. I remembered the hassle of changing money and getting helicopter tickets. I remember the heat as we were waiting at the heliport. I remember arriving in Aberdeen. My dad picking me up. And then arriving at the team house. Familiarizing myself with my new home. Meeting my new team. Sharing a room for the first month. Wondering what I was going to be doing work-wise.

The center was nothing like it is now. Only half of the structures that are up today were there. We've done so much additional building since the beginning! The wards were only big rooms filled with boxes that had been offloaded from a container that had just arrived. The first weeks were spent getting the place set up, cleaning hospital beds, unpacking supplies, cleaning the operating room, interviewing Sierra Leoneans for jobs, ordering drugs, going through inventories, sorting through some problems with the community, visiting other hospitals, etc. A time of challenges and blessings. A time of learning - about self, work, community, life, God.

3 years and 18,251 consultations time flies!

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