Friday, 16 May 2008

I was just thinking...

Things are going well here in Liberia. I was just thinking this morning...

Surgery schedules are almost full...wells are being dug...Community Health is being taught...the dying are being cared for...eyes are being is being prepared...engines are being are being kept...nurses are on duty...waffles are being cooked as I is being prepared...applications are being reviewed...the bank is working...copiers are being fixed...bathrooms are being cleaned...cookies are being made...children are being taught...containers are being unloaded...phones are being answered...vehicles are being worked on...a clinic is being built...agriculture is being taught...

Wow! And that is just a portion.

Thank You!

Thursday, 15 May 2008


His name is Alimu and he comes from Conakry, Guinea, in West Africa. We first met him when a team of us went from the ship to Guinea to see if there were people there who needed surgery. We had slots still available for facial tumors and cleft lips. He is 22 years old and he has had this tumor growing for 8 years. All of his teenage years. He had come 24 hours to see if we might be able to help. He carries a towel around for whatever hide the tumor…to wipe his mouth as the tumor stretches his mouth open…or to cover up the odour. He is very social, or at least he was with us.
The clinic where we saw him was in a village called N’Zao. A great place, run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. A wonderful place with very caring people. The World Food Program flew him down here to Monrovia for free for his surgery and will fly him home to Conakry when he leaves here. With a new outlook on life…
I left there on a great high. People we met were wonderful. We felt like we were with old friends. People with great need would be coming for help. The team I had just spent 4 days with was fun. The 20 hours of travelling together had gone quickly and interestingly. But I also had thoughts that were not quite so comfortable. I had just seen at this clinic some people with great commitment. I read recently that a refugee is not just for Christmas and the thought kept running through my mind last week as we travelled. I had seen people whose doors are open 24 hours a day…yes, they have to set some boundaries but it is because they are willing…willing to be there for the people they serve all the time. Learning all the time…teach me to pull teeth, tell me what you are feeling, what does that lump feel like, what are you looking for. Yes, I love being here, and I love development issues and all I have learned here, and yes, I love being out in the village and yes, I love getting to know the patients and the people I meet here... but I do not think I want it 24 hours a day. Am I weak? Am I not committed enough? Am I spiritual? These are questions I wrestle with, that do not make me feel comfortable.

Alimu is in surgery right now as I write. One of our team is a young man who I know will visit him in the ward many times through out the days as he recovers. He will take him back to the airport and see him personally onto the plane that will take him home. I wish I could be there to see him arrive back home. I wish I could see what he does next and what his life holds. I think it will be different.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

To Guinea we will go!

Last week a team of us drove north to the country of Guinea. For most of our operations the schedules are full, some with waiting lists, but we still have openings for facial tumors and cleft lip surgeries. we went for a small screening. A great team of 5 of us drove 10 hours there and 9 hours back. It was wonderful. We stayed at a great clinic run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
The hospitality was amazing, the people were like old friends and we saw a lot of patients, 21 of whom will come for surgery.
This young man is Alimu and he is 22 years old. He has had this tumor for 8 years. Yesterday he was flown down from Guinea for free by the World Food Program and today he will have his surgery. I am looking forward to seeing him tomorrow to see how he is doing.
Needless to say, we returned very excited, refreshed, and ready to go!
Again, what a priviledge!