One day I got in the car with my friend and AWC driver, Abou, to run an errand in town. In my forgetfulness, I asked, “What’s new?” (instead of "How d'body") and I got a questionable stare from Abou. I had to explain the phrase and then give examples to what was new in my life. Its been fun to ask Abou every once in awhile the American greeting and I usually get “Its raining boku.” I tell him to try again because its been raining non-stop since June! As I think about it, it has been awhile since I’ve shared with the blog world what is new in my life. So imagine with me… We meet up for lunch (I’m imagining Mexican food) and you ask me “What’s new?”. I then pull out my (non-existent) smart phone to tell you stories that go along with the pictures…
Isatu recently left to go home to Moyamba. She has been at AWC since December of last year bed-ridden suffering from depression, malnutrition, pressure ulcers, and anemia. Look at her now standing strong! Isatu will return in September when we have another camp to have her fistula surgery. I look forward to reuniting with her soon!
Our head surgeon, Dr. Alyona Lewis, finished her time with us here at AWC. I met Dr. Alyona on the ship in Benin in 2009 when she was training in fistula surgery. Those were my first weeks working with fistula ladies and she shared her desire to help the women of her country suffering from this awful condition. We have kept in touch and I am grateful that we have had the chance to work together again. The ladies and staff all enjoyed a gladi gladi ceremony with Dr. Alyona on her last day! Dr. Alyona has passed on her wisdom, skills, and scissors onto Dr. Tagie to continue the fistula operations.
I look forward to Friday each week, not because of the weekend that follows, but because it’s the day we get to celebrate healing for the fistula ladies. Gladi gladi ceremonies never get old in my book. Two weeks ago we celebrated with Aminata, Adamsay, Fatmata, Salamatu, Isatu, Memunatu, and Larana! There is always a Bible store shared and this week was the Good Samaritan, but this time set in Kissy Road not the road to Jericho. Some of these ladies have been here since June waiting for surgery and now they are going home dry.
We have a small international team mainly made up of medical professionals- midwives, nurses, and doctors. So you can imagine the conversations over dinner, but the accountant and project team members still come to meals. We have a lot of fun with Chuck Norris movie nights, cheering on our countries in the Olympics, and hanging out at the beach together. We really do get along, coming from all corners of the world to work in this small hospital in Sierra Leone. The country director, Jude, once described this place like a theatre production and God directs each one of us in and out of the scenes here at Aberdeen Women’s Centre.
There are also goodbyes that happen outside of work within the expat/missionary community of Salone. A huge prayer of mine was answered when I heard about a international group that meets weekly for Bible study and a monthly church service. The group is made up of some amazing people- ladies that work with the mentally ill at City of Rest, families that minister with Word Made Flesh, administrators of World Hope & Word Vision, doctors that heal the blind, and friends that save lives at the government hospitals. Again, we come from all parts of the world, but here we share the common bond of Christ and desire to serve the people of Sierra Leone. I look forward to reunions with these dear friends I have had to say goodbye to for now.
I scroll through my pictures and I only have one from last week. This is my “Mende Mama”, Saffiatu, when she came back for her follow-up appointment. As I was taking a lady back to the ward after surgery, I heard my name called out. Now, it could have been any of the dozen ladies sitting at the craft table sewing and coloring. I was giving report to the ward nurses, when Saffiatu walked in and what a joyful reunion it was! She was so happy to tell me she was dry! This is what I look forward to everyday- seeing the ladies come back dry with not only their hope restored, but joy has returned in their lives. If you ask me any day “What’s new?” I could answer with the simple word “joy” and it would never get old.