This week has proven busier than last week. Most of the kids have started school. The guidance counselor and I have put together a leadership week for the older youth who are waiting for test results to tell them what grade they are to enter this year, either 10th grade or college. There are about 18 of those students. We are spending the day together from 8:00-3:00. I think that they preferred sleeping and hanging out with one another! We have put together some fun as well as educational time with games, bible study, leadership seminars, field trips, reading, computer time, music, and practicing a skit to perform for the whole CRC. Between spending the day with them, preparing for the next day, and still participating in reading time, devotions, and bedtime stories with the rest of the kids, I feel like I am back in America with a crazy busy schedule! You won't believe it but I am teaching music; playing the recorder, new songs from the UMC hymnal, and even a bell/chime choir. It is pretty funny seeing as I was not in choir or band! Very limited skill here.
But God is good and we are doing it! Our field trip today found us climbing a small mountain where a radio station sits. We were invited into the DJ booth and a few of us talked on the radio, one being me. The young adults with whom I am working are just like the teens at home, but at times the cultural differences and expectations are glaringly different. There have been moments of challenge but we have done well with one another. I really love these kids. They are usually very loving and supportive of one another and the adults. I will be sad to leave here. One more week.
I have just been asked to do a funeral at another hospital for two babies who died in the last 24 hours. We were out in town and met two of the women from the States who are working at the St. Mary's Hospital. They thought of me this week when the need for a pastor came about. Both of the mothers were Muslim. They are in the hospital on the female ward for fistula repair, a horrible condition for women with either an opening between their vagina and their bladder or their vagina or their rectum. You can imagine the consequences. It is a problem in the developing world when people are delivering at home and things go bad. The women needing this repair have been ostracized in their communities, not well nourished or loved. They come to this ward to await surgery and become strong and then need to stay for three weeks after surgery
to recover. They leave healed with a new life! Can you imagine the joy of arriving in the ward and discovering a group of women who experienced the same hell as you with this condition? And here is a group of women who become sisters to one another and find love and family again. They are learning craft skills as potential money making while they are there. The youngest patient is 15 years old!
Sarah had delivered twins and one of them had died at delivery and the other one died yesterday. Isatu's son died this morning after a complicated C section, she had already had the fistula repair, requiring a C-section for this delivery. Isatu has three other children but this is the third baby she has lost. She is so sad and just cried when I met her. The women all gathered outside on benches for the memorial service. The ecumenical group of women all sang songs about Jesus and God as well as said a Muslim prayer together and a Christian prayer of blessing. Each of these women gathered had experienced similar losses in their life. Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world! It was a beautiful service that I was honored to be a part of. The group of women have invited me back to visit and pray with them. What joy and community I found there! Please keep Isatu and Sarah in your prayers.
Danny has been working with the Sierra Leonian medical officer, providing him with a few much needed days off. Danny typically ran the ward rounds and saw about 40 patients a day in the OPD. He enjoyed working with a reliable lab and a stocked pharmacy. He works more here than he does at home!