Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 10: Train Travel, New Government Hospital and Fresh Air

This week is seeming to never end. Monday we spent the day packing and organizing for our trip south and Tuesday was much the same except we left at 5pm to the train station. After we arrived the team had to lug all the luggage up a huge staircase and back down again to the correct train platform. We have had to do this each time including when we first took the train north. Pretty glad we never have to do that again.

Definitely makes you rethink the things you "can't live without" I packed our family in 2 hiking backpacks, a large rolling suitcase and small carry-on. Not bad considering that includes some of the kids toy and homeschooling curriculum for small kids which always means more tactile things like, glue, crafts, puzzles and paper. I still wish we had less to carry. We used everything we brought with the exception of a few articles of clothing for "just in case weather". Still I am always wondering how we can live with less. Our time in Perth will include some "pining over packing" moments. Moments I am not looking forward to. I am thankful that Africa means more "outside time playing in the dirt" and less "inside keep them occupied time".

Before I start I wanted to share a testimony about something that happened in MGMH (the hospital) before we left.  As I shared earlier there were a lot of things happening at the hospital that were not supposed to be happening. We shared about the extortion that was happening when the cleaning ladies and transport people were demanding payment for handing over babies or for doing jobs that they were already being paid to do.  I had said that we felt we weren’t supposed to just march into to the higher ups and tell on them. That it was a deeper problem that needed to be unearthed by prayer. Our team spent time praying into this situation and interceding.
Before we left the hospital this week one of our leaders Bekah went up to the head deputy superintendent of the hospital to give a thank you card for letting us work there.  She spoke very highly of our team and said that we worked really enthusiastically. This information was passed on to her by the post grad residents and nurses, because she herself wasn’t there, which is such a testimony of our time there.  Before Bekah left she was followed out of the office by another higher up who directly asked her if we had seen any payments being demanded or given to the 4th class workers!!! She asked for the specific details of what we had observed and learned that was going on and she shook her head with sadness, as it was worse than she had thought. She told Bekah that they would be doing all they could including putting up security cameras to try to stop it. She also asked Bekah what changes could be made!  She wouldn’t let Bekah go until she shared her thoughts of how they could improve. Bekah was able to share about the women in the septic ward needing more care, more cleanliness overall and how the women need more education. What an amazing opening! We try to go in with humility to learn from them and we pray and ask God how we can help and God opened the door for us to share His heart for the women in this hospital! Yay God!

We arrived here weds and were taken the extra 30km by 3 vehicles that our hosts arranged for us. I am really glad it all worked out so smoothly because there was a lot of wondering how it was all going to take place. Thanks for your prayers if you prayed for our travel. The kids also did great in the train. And besides a few moments of uneasiness on the part of Josiah because we are Ina new location the kids are handling the change like champs. In our old place the kids were mainly stuck inside for hours on end only going out for short periods at a time because the city was so overwhelming.

We are staying with a large Christian family on their compound. Our host is a pastor and it is his family. They are about 12 who live on the compound and about 10 others who are extended family that come and go on a daily basis. It is has been a blessing although at times it’s crowded and chaotic. It is really great though after our time in a big city to actually live with an Indian family and really get to know them and see how they live. The food is less spicy and more edible, delicious actually. Where we live its like glorified camping. We are outside most of the time. Josiah can be found digging in the dirt most of the time. Abigail is having a blast as well.  

the kids were so excited to find a pumpkin laying around. they wanted to carve it. Dec. 1st. Better late than never.

International AIDS awareness day parade

definitely not in the big city anymore

kids found a banana stalk on the ground.

part of the kitchen

common sight. Josiah in the dirt

Last night we celebrated the pastor’s birthday India style including but not limited to; spicy food, loud music, charades, dancing, being hand fed cake and a bonfire. It was a lot of fun. The Australians also attempted to make “damper” which is basic campfire bread. We thought it tasted good, kind of like Bisquick biscuits but the Aussies said it wasn’t quite right.

Charades.. Bruce is a cow waiting to be milked but Elisee is laughing too hard.

no party is complete without the old men sitting in a corner talking. apparently 70 degrees is freezing as well.

So far this smaller town pace of life has been such a nice change from the chaos of the big city. There are lots of chances of exploring here with rock climbing right in our backyard. Heather and I have even started running again after a 2 month hiatus.
hiking up the hill behind the house

view from the top of the hill

There is all this marble, granite and quartz in the dirt here

brother and sister (cousin relatives of the family we are with)

cool tree

rocks in the distance

Bruce on the rocks in the distance. lol

Saturday I was able to go in to observe surgeries at the hospital and my experience in the operating theatre (O.R.) here was intense to say the least. There is a main operating area with 3 cases able to go at the same time.
This Saturday there was a tonsillectomy and a prolapsed uterus repair. Whatever surgical experience I had in the States I pretty much had to leave at the door. “Scrubbing in” is a loose term here which means putting on scrubs and sterile gloves. The tonsillectomy was only using local anesthetic (I’m not kidding) and was, in a word, horrific. The hospital doesn’t have enough money to use general anesthetic on patients that are over 18 years old.

main operating Theatre
One really positive thing about this hospital is that it is so much cleaner and more orderly than the previous hospital Heather was working at. Part of this has to do with a smaller population but we came to learn that another reason is the superintendent of the hospital who is dedicated to developing this government hospital into the best it can be.  
This superintendent doctor is a Christian man who has suffered a lot for his faith. He shares the Gospel openly and was transferred a few times in his career because of it. Finally through certain circumstances he became the super of this particular hospital. Soon afterward a fundamentalist Hindu group showed up at the hospital to kill him. However, at that time his mother had become suddenly ill and he had made arrangements to travel the night before to visit her. So he wasn’t at the hospital that day and things cooled down a while after that. He came to preach last week at the compound where we are staying at an nighttime prayer meeting and it was great to here all of his stories and testimonies.
The team has had the tour of the new hospital and have a packed schedule of hospital during the mornings till 1pm and then ministry in the evenings at local villages teaching simple healthcare. 

We ask for your continued prayers for health and for our work in the hospital. We also pray for added safety for our kids as being mostly outdoors in a new environment can pose threat some unforeseen hazards. God has been so faithful so far and we are continually amazed at His provision and protection so far and we know its because of the prayer covering we have. We are so blessed. Thank you! On Dec. 14th we travel to Chennai to take our flight back to Perth.

In the meantime we intend to take life one day at a time and soak in the beauty that is India before we leave her.

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