Monday, September 3, 2012


Eucharisteo. It is a new word in my vocabulary and now a daily reminder to be thankful. Author, Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts breaks it down as “Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word, chara meaning joy.” A dear friend of mine shared the concept with us just a couple months ago at International Church. Before Jen left for vacation she gave me her copy of One Thousand Gifts. She is now home in Canada starting cancer treatments and her email updates are full of eucharisteo. I cringe at the thought of my complaints about minuscule things like bugs in my flour or another rainy day- when I should instead be thankful for food and shelter. So after reading this book, I made it point to give thanks and the joy certainly does follow.

I am thankful for God bringing me here to work with fistula ladies. They bring me endless joy. If I am having a frustrating day, I just take a moment to sit on the bench with the ladies as they plant their hair. I see Monday at her same spot on the bench everyday. She is a tough little lady even to me as she speaks Limba, confident that I know what she is saying. I really don't, but the smiling helps.  I walk by the ward and hear “Allis” called through the screen windows and know someone is looking for me to come and dance. Even a minute of dancing with the ladies brings laughter to the ward. I love that Fatmata, Kadiatu, and Mariatu are always together chatting away in their native tongue. They are determined to teach me more Temene, I try, but I stick with the basic greeting I already know. They have given me a Temene name, Alimatu, so I hear that across the courtyard on occasion. Isatu arrived over the weekend because she will have her surgery in two weeks. I am even thankful we will have another camp this month- it means Isatu along with many women will have their fistulas repaired. Most of all, I am thankful for the Gladi gladi ceremonies. We give Papa God thanks for the healing of the ladies. You can see the joy come alive in their dances and hear it in their songs.

I have been planning First Aid & CPR training for all AWC staff along with IMATT paramedic Tasha. The maintenance guys and domestic ladies leave the classroom with smiles on their faces and contagious joy. All we have done is given them basic knowledge and skills, but they are thankful. I also have the privilege of teaching computer skills to Millicent, the OR supervisor. She is almost double my age and we have a lot of fun working together not only in theatre, but now at my desk. All last week, Milo typed her first Word document and Friday she presented her first OR policy. I am thankful to all the teachers (and my parents) that taught me how to use a computer and to type without looking at the keyboard. It’s nice to take a break, cuddle a baby, and to watch Millicent discover new things she can do now on the computer.

I look back over the past week and I have a lot to be thankful for- even bubble wrap. Two containers came this week full of supplies, but also an endless supply of laughter from the ladies as I showed them the fun you can have with bubble wrap. This evening, I cleaned up my office after a day of admin duties and headed out the door toward home. I saw only one kitchen lady dishing up the patients’ dinner, so I headed over to help serve. It was cassava leaves, not my favorite dish to smell or even to look at. Nonetheless, I delivered the green sludge and rice to each of my ladies sitting on their benches. As they took the bowl from the tray, each one said “Tenki” and that brings me immeasurable joy. That's eucharisteo- joy that comes from thanksgiving.


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not the opinion of AWC/Mercy Ships.