Monday, February 4, 2013

Fish, Village Life and a Little Bit of Sunshine

So where does one start when there is 3 weeks of news to catch up on...

Week 1 (which was week 3 here) I was in the labor ward. Monday and Tuesday as usual we had lectures and an exam. I'd also like to call Weds-Fri a huge exam as we are in the hospital putting into practice everything we are learning. Temeke hospital doesn't disappoint. We have been learning about prolonged labor, obstructed labor and post-partum hemorrhage. We have seen more than a healthy share of these cases in our first few weeks here. At one point I had been monitoring 3 different women who had been in active labor for over 2 days!! One for 3 days!! Our team has also experienced more than a handful of post-partum hemorrhages as well and thankfully our leaders have been well trained to help us act quickly and save lives. Post-partum hemorrhage is one of the leading killers in these developing nations because a woman can bleed to death in a little less than 10 mins! So quick skilled action is required to save a life.
Week one I was able to deliver a little girl. She was one of the first healthy simple deliveries after a string of very difficult ones that our team assisted with (some ending not so well).  It was actually a great victory for us because we had really been feeling the spiritual attack in the labor ward. That morning we decided to pray through the labor ward and specifically pray over a particular bed which kept having difficult cases and several of them leading to the death of the baby.  One could be tempted to think it was just coincidence but it was definitely made clear that there was something spiritual going on.  Africa is no stranger to the spiritual world and we as Westerners have a harder time seeing and admitting that something is truly there, alive and active. The good news? We have complete authority over every spirit in Christ!! So after our prayer time the first mom that hops up on the table has an easy, simple delivery! Thank you Jesus! Since that day we have seen less death and more successful resuscitations when there was difficulty in the delivery.  The day I delivered little Rebecca I was actually not feeling the best (nausea still gets the best of me some days) so I was unable to do everything to wrap up the delivery plus get a photo of her.
However, during this week our team had several suturing workshops. The team sutured raw chicken.. and my leader had mercy on me in my pregnant state and allowed me to sit clear across the room from everyone else and suture a sponge! Never fear I got my hands on a real suturing job this last week and sutured a mom for my second time! Ain't nothin' like the real thing when it comes to learning!

The 2nd week our family headed out to the YWAM base that's about 20K outside of the city. Each week our time sends about 3-4 students out there for a week to work with their clinic's resident midwife. We are able to assist with pre-natal clinics, give immunizations and conduct or assist with any deliveries that may happen during the week.  To be honest it was quite an adjustment for our kids because they had just settled into life here at the friary and then we up and relocated them to another place for a week. But even though it took them a couple of days to settle in they handled it like champs and LOVED playing with all the kids at the base. There are several families with young kids and by the end of the week both of our kids were in tears because we had to leave. The good news is we get one more week back there (the week before our last week here).  My week was a little different than my 2 other teammates because they ended up assisting and delivering one of the moms that actually lives on the YWAM base in the middle of the night. They had mercy on my pregnant body and let me sleep. But this meant that was the only one available to help with the immunization clinic.  I was able to get lots of hands on experience. At first I was fine just watching feeling a little apprehensive about poking holes in tiny babies (even though I gave a few pokes in India) But about 20 mins into it the midwife I was working with and I silently came into a flow whereby I was the one poking and she was the one calling out the shots, doing paperwork and of course communicating with the moms. My Swahili this day was limited to saying "pole sana" translated "I'm very sorry" over and over to little teary screaming faces. I was able to give about 100 immunizations and feel pretty comfortable now giving them so it was a great blessing. I was even starting to get good at looking at the age of the baby or even the size and guessing what immunizations they had come for.

the kids favorite place to be out at the YWAM base

Josiah's dirt baby. He exclaimed "now I'm just like Momma!"

the labor room out at the clinic

Maggie. One of the women that works and lives at the YWAM base. One of our girls had the privilege of welcoming her 2nd child into the world on of the nights we were there.

teeter totter??

talking to Bruce on the phone when he was out on the village outreach. Josiah had just told Bruce that he peed his pants!

Week 2 for me (Bruce) was great because I went with the clinic's doctor (Dr. J) on an overnight trip to a smaller inland village to help with a monthly clinic he does there. We stayed with an American couple who has been working with the Zaramo tribe there for 8 years. Amazing couple and they have two beautiful Tanzanian kids about our kids' age. We're hoping to bring the entire Wilkens clan out there for the next clinic but it may not work out timing wise. We're hopping on a 3-day train ride for Zambia on March 8th (pray for us!). Anyway, to get back to the clinic, most of the work we actually did was teeth extractions (no, Dr. J isn't a dentist but he followed one around for 2 days learning how to properly pull teeth). We did treat quite a few others medically but the big enchilada was this lady who came in with a tumor on her foot. We were able to perform minor surgery to successfully remove what turned out to be a benign fat tumor (lipoma). It was exhilarating! It was also a time where I was able to dive a bit deeper in using the Swahili language which, with God's help, I will someday master.
Following Dr. Joel out to a home medical visit

A couple we home visited.

The last and final unaccounted for week is this last week. To be honest with the tiredness and the nausea from the pregnancy it all sort of blurs together. I (Heather) am pretty amazed that Ive been able to keep the weeks straight to post about them! Ok... so this last week Monday and Tuesday were lectures as normal and then I was scheduled to be in the labor room. I really only ended up being in there on Weds and then for 2 hours on Thursday and then Friday decided to listen to my body and take a day of rest.  However on Weds I had the honor of welcoming a little sunshine into this world and that's exactly what I named her. I'm not sure how that all came to be but it just fit her and the situation.  This was actually one of my famous "types" of deliveries.  We have jokes amongst each other about the type of deliveries we normally get. I mean usually everyone gets an equal range of deliveries but I for instance always joke about having the knack for picking the mom who will go into prolonged or obstructed labor. I spend the day monitoring her only for her to go for a c-section.  My other famous type of delivery is where pretty much I walk up to a woman and catch her baby. One time even doing a pivot turn from the mom I was monitoring to catch the baby of the woman next to her with non-sterile gloves on because there was absolutely no time to glove up! That's how I roll. Haha.. My delivery on weds was the latter. Mom actually walked into the hospital pushing, my teammates walked her over from antenatal and 10 mins later I was holding her baby.  She also became my 2nd suturing job because she decided to push the baby's head and body out in one push! She was one determined momma! She was ever so grateful to have her little girl out. I could tell by the fact that she just keep grabbing and squeezing my neck and face! Haha.  She was such a great patient and I liked caring for her.

The kids and I are still homeschooling week in and week out. And not to brag about my kids but they really are blowing me away! They're learning so fast. Granted, getting them into "school mode" is almost always a challenge with lots of fits and tears but once they're in the zone they're eating up almost everything I throw at them. Like we did in India one day a week we try to go on a field trip and this past week we went to the Dar es Salaam fish market. Quite the experience. Yes, we stuck out like sore thumbs but everyone was really chill and granted us a picture (one snap please?) anytime I asked. Abbie drew a picture when we got back home. I'm hoping to go back sometime and pick up some prawns. Yum!
waiting for the catch

fresh fish!

octopus (pweza) anyone?

Fisherman relaxing and playing "Bao". We usually call it Mankala in the States

Abbie swatting flies at lunch

more local flava!

I leave you with a few random pics that I shamelessly swiped from one of my teammates:

yes.. this guy was walking through traffic with this on his head trying to sell it. and yes its a full aquarium!

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