Sunday, March 7, 2010
My commute to church was just a flight of stairs this morning. I could hear the beating of drums just below my cabin. Today was the beginning of ward church in Togo. My cabin-mate, Gini and I arrived to "B" ward converted into a sanctuary. Instead of pews there sitting stools squeeze between patients' beds. There is no dress code since most people are in hospital gowns or scrubs. No announcements or programs, just translators sporadically placed around the room to translate the message. Nurses are at the door to greet and usher in patients from other wards. Several babies I admired from afar with bandages covering their new lips that once had a gap. In front of me, was a set of newborn twins, born at 32 weeks, and one with casts on her legs. She will never know the rejection that other patients like Bobo and Akkousava have suffered with their legs twisted for years. They both sit with their straight legs propped up on pillows with brightly color casts as they heal from surgery this past week. As the music starts, patients and translators, gather in the center of room to dance. One lady, has a head scarf covering a large jaw tumor, she is scheduled for surgery this week, but already has started to praise. One mama, takes a plastic jar of craft beads and turns it into a music instrument to join in the worship. The message is spoken in several languages and dialects and speaks volumes to patients and crew. We depart with hugs and handshakes, the only thing familiar to a church goer in any country. I head back up the stairs to my cabin and think my attendance will be close to perfect this year in Ward Church.