Monday, October 29, 2007

Something I NEVER pictured myself doing....

Have you had one of those jobs assignments when you think... no one will believe I am doing this. Today was another one of those days for me.

I am living on a compound that has several empty houses. (We are asking God to fill them.) I am currently sharing this space with two other single women. One of the things I volunteered to do was basic, I mean simple, maintenance. So, last night I had to figure out how I could get 14 toilets to flush at the same time. Joanne would be at the literacy center. That left Teresa, drafted into the project and our house hold helpers. But that only gave me a total of six people. So, I drafted our watch men and yard workers. By nine am I was unlocking houses and giving assignments. Oh, and teaching men 50+years of age how to flush a toilet and why this silly tubaab (white person) was asking for their help. The job went off without a hitch! Okay, this is Africa, there were one or two.... I couldn't get one of the houses to open up, I forgot to turn on the water in two of the houses. Thus I got my exercise running around this morning. When the job was done I drove to the village to buy breakfast for those who helped out. Opps, I didn't get any for Teresa. I stopped by Joanne's to give her the visual picture of teaching the watchmen and yard men how to flush. : )

The day proceeded to be busy and filled with all kinds of things. I mended the volleyball net, tried to clean a water filter and discovered the shut off valve, didn't shut off the water. (a cool shower in the heat of the day!) I saw a few sick individuals, ran a group of people to a village to the north and east of us, found some one ther who wanted to come to our village. (a little taxi driving on the side!) Then fixed a lunch that was interupted by an accident. A bush taxi flipped out on the main road. They described it as four feet in the air. (Tires up!) Four adults and three children were brought to the compound and they came to get me. I tried to patch up gapping head wounds and missing arm muscles. The people were headed to the captiol city. I am praying they have something at the Government Hospital to help clean out and close these wounds. I called our ambulance driver to carefully drive the victims to the hospital in Banjul. The children were just banged up, praise God, and all the adults were stable. One woman and her two daughters live in Spain. They are in The Gambia for a two month visit. The girls spoke Spanish and not a local dialect. Wouldn't you know... I couldn't put a whole sentance together in Spanish without Wolof words slipping out.

Tomorrow... a new toilet... the adventure continues.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Exciting Day!

Okay, I have to let you all in on a few of the recent happenings.

I haven't had a working phone line in months. It has decreased my time on line as I have to go to another house to access the Internet. I can get access, I just don't do it every day now. Yesterday I was in my house talking with Teresa and a Gambian woman. I heard a motorcycle come on the compound as it circled our property the driver was tooting the horn. It was a bit annoying in the house. our watchman came to my door to tell me that the men on the cycle were from the telephone company. When they arrived at my home I told them if my phone was fixed that day I would be so happy, I would dance. (Now, don't panic, this is a culturally appropriate comment to make.) They laughed (I am sure they thought, yeah, you are a tubaab, you can't dance.) and looked at my phone jack. Then they went to check out the line. About 30 minutes later, I heard the cycle start up and they were gone. I went to ask the guard what they said, as my phone was still not working. He told me they told him they were going to the market. I guess the market was a long way away; they never came back. MORAL of the STORY: Don't say you will dance! The phone will be fixed, in God's timing.

Now, I told you about my plumbing problem... well, Barney came to set a new toilet today. Ha-ha He did try, but the toilet bowl was the wrong size for the whole I have. By the time we figured that out for sure and certain, he had cut a piece of PVC that went around the out flow of the old toilet. So there was no way to replace the old toilet. I told him I was grateful I was better. A month ago my intestinal problems would of made a week with out a toilet in the house a severe discomfort. So, let this be a warning to you all... if you see me running to an empty house, watch out. I am either trying to use the phone or the little girls room!

Life is never dull in Ndungu Kebbeh.

Oh, I lent Joanne my camera because her termites were back in force at the literacy center. I am glad I wasn't there this time, but i can't wait to see the pics. Maybe I will share them with you.

You can check her blog out at

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Healthy once more

For those of you who knew I was having some health problems... I am healthy finally. I had many people worried on both continents. My team mates had me stay in Banjul while the Bronchitis had the best of me. Kumba (Ruth) and I have been in email contact, I even called her twice. She told me the other day she was really worried. And we all know about a mother's worry, mine is no execption. I love her for it.

After a series of illnesses and a two month bout of low blood sugars, I am finally feeling myself. I have been back to work in the clinic. It is good to be able to be treating others. I am just beginning to get out and about visiting friends in the village. It is good to be out and about. Thank you for your prayers and concerns.

Nurse... Plumber... yep benna la!

Now, I know you all know of me as a nurse. But did you think of me as a plumber? Yup, my toilet broke this week. I had to turn the water off to the house. (our toilets don't have a shut off valve in the line leading to the tank.) After two days of bucket showers and bucket flushes, I think you get the picture... it was getting old. SO, I went on a scavenger hunt to find toilet parts. Of course we didn't have what I needed and there is NO near by Wal-Mart or Tru Value. I did have some Duck tape and PVC cement. So I tried a repair on the broken piece. I am sorry Mac Gyver, Duck tape doesn't work on everything. Joanne was present when I gave the test trial. Praise God or the flood in the bathroom could have been really bad. I was out of luck and the problem was getting worse. I then looked at every toilet on our compound (we have a lot of empty houses right now). I found only one that had the water intake on the bottom of the tank like mine. SO, I capped the water line and took out the pieces I would need. However, yes there is ALWAYS a however in Africa, the tanks were two different sizes and my tank was a mini tank. The borrowed part wouldn't fit in. I then returned the part and capped my water line. I at least have running water in the house again.

I called our teammates in Banjul and told them what I needed. There is no Wal-Mart or Service Center there either, which means.... it is very hard, almost impossible to find replacement parts. So, a new toilet was ordered. Now I am back to bucket flushing and Barney is coming out on Tuesday to put in the new toilet. I don't really want to attempt it as there is a willing some one to do it. Praise God. A true blessing if I have ever seen one!

Have a great week and face each new challenge as a gift from God to become more like him.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It is another beautiful day. I called my niece on Sunday, she turned 19. The good news was it was 48 degrees in Ohio. I told her it was a whopping 86 and 68 percent humidity. She wanted some of my warmth, I want some of her chills.

The spider bites have not changed. I took a picture and decided it was too ugly to post. Then today as I was doing some of my odd jobs, vehicle and generator maintenance, I drove out to the literacy center. I was just in time to see them fill the 5th plate (I am talking big plate) with termite dirt frin the battery cabinet. It was rather gross. I was glad I wasn't a Literacy employee. Any way, one of Joanne's employees thinks that it wasn't a spider that bit me but a WONKA that urinated on me. Don't freak. There is a long black bug that it is said, when they excrete on your skin it blisters and burns. So, we are back to not knowing what I have on my legs. I think they are starting to feel better. Until my malaan (skirt) hits the spots.

Have a great day and thanks for praying.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I know what is next.

Have you ever been so honest with your self that you ask, "Okay, What is next?" Let me tell you that after two months of one illness following or at times on top of another, that I have found my self saying, "I wonder what the next thing will be." I thought I had conquered that. I am no longer curious as to what the next illness will be. I take 'em as they come.

I was feeling great this week. My blood sugars seem to be stable, my bronchitis has cleared, the ear infection has resolved. I have energy and am planning on starting the kids club in a few weeks. I was back in the clinic this week and doing work at home in the evenings. I praise God for bringing me through the last few months.

But I know, by now you have figured out there is something new. After all TIA, (this is Africa) and I have a way of writing about my trials. Well, some of you, who have been out here in the rains, know that this is the time of bugs. All kinds of bugs. Those of you who have been out here with me, know that the bugs LOVE my blood. Sunday morning I awoke to find this huge red, raised, very sore, very itchy area on my left shin with a matching spot on the right one. It only feels good if I have cool water on it. The Gambians told me it is a spider bite. Now you all know why I don't like spiders. I just knew they would be a pain. The bites look so nasty. If I walk it gets redder. They are low on my legs, right where the malaan (long skirt) rubs when you walk. It has now been two days. There doesn't seem to be any improvement. I will get relief tonight when I sleep with a cool cloth on them.

So that is what is new here. Oh, and the screw for the face plate on my front door broke leaving half of it in the door jam. I can't lock my door. This gives me something fun to do tomorrow. I will have to work on our truck and start the generators too. It promises to be a fun day. Any one want to come help? : )

Have a good one.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Okay, you haven’t heard from me in a while. There is a good reason. I went to the capitol, Banjul, for the weekend and got sick. I was so sick with Bronchitis and the low blood sugars, that my fellow missionaries decided I needed to stay there. I spent two weeks at the guest house. I am really praising God for providing that facility. It was so nice to have a place to stay that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. My medicine and medical exams over the past month have exceeded the price of my arms and legs. God has provided for all my needs and I praise him for taking such good care of me.

My friends in Ndungu Kebbeh were getting very worried that I would run off to America. I am very thankful that I was able to get the tests I needed done here. I am feeling better than I have in weeks. I am planning on getting back to work but taking things slowly with good periods of rest as it continues to be hot and humid. This is the time of the greatest illness in our area. Several of the clinic employees have been out sick the last few weeks. The month of the Fast is coming to an end. This will help improve the health of our neighbors.

Friday was a tough day for our staff as two children succumbed to cerebral Malaria. One child was the two year old daughter of one of our watchman and my house worker’s niece. Please pray fro the family as they mourn the loss of their young girl.

Thank you for your prayers. God is definitely at work here in The Gambia.