Saturday, March 29, 2008
It was time to face this beast. The Lister generator. Takes two to start, you have to hand crank it. Jim and I worked in unison and praise God it started on our first attempt.
The next step was checking into the electrical panel. Can you believe it, Duane had such detailed instructions for me. Jim and I checked and double checked. We replaced a capacitor... sounds more difficult than it was. The big conclusion.... the pump needs replacing.
However, we could not find the replacement pump. I placed a phone call to the team on the south bank. We have water. (The sun isn't the best today, but we will be able to shower and drink!)
They will begin the search for a pump. Jim and I may still get to replace it.
Thanks for your prayers!
Tonight, I returned home after being in the office all afternoon. I ran the water at my kitchen sink to fill a water bottle. Only a small trickle came out. I dropped what I was doing and went to the watershed. The tanks were just about empty. I checked things out, started the generator (my adrenaline must have been pumping through my veins, I normally can't start get it to start) and tried to get our pump to work. The solar pumps were saying the tanks were full.
I called Max and Barney (on the south bank) and sought advice. I asked if they had the phone number for Duane in America. They didn't but, it was still early enough that if I called our home office, I should be able to get our administrator's assistant AMY and she would have them. I did and she was there and I had the numbers within minutes. I had to wait a bit before I thought Duane would be home. I called and he came to our rescue. A few minutes on the phone and two wonderful emails.... a lot of prayer tonight... and tomorrow morning Jim (here for two more weeks) and I will attempt to solve the water problem.
I praise God HE is in control. The village has water if we can't get it to work. Megan (Jim's daughter) was a bit concerned about that. Thanks to Duane for answering my call.
Stay tuned for more details as they happen tomorrow.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, I deserted our visitors and headed to literacy to do some work on their electrical problem. Praise God changing the inverter worked! I had some interesting interruptions... two trips to Barra and a termite mess to deal with. Joanne's employees actually cleaned up the termite stuff for me. But I still had to stick my hand into the cabinet, it was a bit gross.
I have a friend I can email for suggestions on electrical problems, a provision from God. Pray for our prefielders.... we have a family on prefield (Van Horns) and Chris is more than capable to do this kind of work. We also have a family, the Byrums, on prefield, when they arrive in The Gambia, Dan will be our hospital administrator. He can do lots of the stuff I am doing now. : )
Amanda is raising support and will be working in the area of community development.
Sarah is raising her support and will join me in the clinic. She is a RN in Michigan.
Picture me as one of the mass ahead of this vehicle, which was the one plus, we didn't have to compete with a vehicle for a place to walk. I had my camera with me, but decided it wasn't safe to get it out.
Teresa and I walked up to a Lebanese eating establishment and ordered lunch as we waited for Max, our team mate on the south bank, to pick us up in our van. He then took us to the "money changer" where we discovered once again the dollar value had dropped. OUCH! From there we went to the travel agent for airline tickets. Praise God we were able to get an NGO discount (we don't have to pay tax, a savings of $240) and cheaper seats for booking early. Why am I booking an airline ticket... well, I have been asked by our field to represent The Gambia at Medical Missions Interface at ABWE this summer (recruiting for .. a doctor, or at least some short term help) and my niece is getting married! So, I thought I would take my vacation to attend her wedding. May be I will see YOU this summer.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I discussed this with my fellow missionaries and then advised my Gambian staff that I would be going to the meeting along with one of them. I told Alhajie I would pick him up on the way. The course was to start at 9 am. I have been in the country long enough to know that wouldn't happen. I left here just after 9. The meeting was a half hour away. We were one of the first to arrive. I think that it started a bit after 10 am with opening remarks and an overview. One of the best opening remarks... we would be paid for attending the workshop (D300 a day = $15). At almost 11 am, we broke for breakfast. We were served a sandwich similar to tuna fish. Fish, mayonnaise, onions, and boiled potatoes. It was very good. they served warm, sweetened milk tea. I could have done without the tea, but everyone wanted to make sure the tubaab (white person) didn't go without. Class was called back together a little after 12 (yes, notice it was along breakfast break). We had an interesting lecture on the reasons for focused care. At 1:40 pm we broke for prayer and lunch. I wanted to get a picture of the prayer time at the mosque but I didn't. When lunch was ready I was called into the office lounge to join the program planners in sharing their meal bowl. It was my favorite Gambian dish. Rice, with a sauce made with palm oil, white fish, sweet potato, cabbage, bitter tomato, eggplant, hot pepper. It was a bit intimidating to eat with the planners but again great care was taken to make sure the tubaab was treated well. After lunch we were given a soda. The meetings started back up around three fifteen. An hour later, the effects of lunch kicked in and our presenter instructed us to stand. He then told us we had to repeat what he did and said. He broke into a song chant with motions. It was funny to watch us all (I didn't know the words but tried to be a part of the group) follow his leading. Another Kodak moment missed. It was his way of getting us to stretch. he then went on to say if we didn't want to come Sunday... some people actually voiced their objection to the plan, which was why he had this statement prepared.... we would have to come early the next morning... 8 am. I groaned. Mornings and I don't mix. At 5 pm, he finished for the day. I had a few patients to look in on and then a bit of shopping to do in the nearby town. I made it home by 6:30 pm to find a patient of mine had returned from the hospital in Banjul. I made a house visit to see his medications and make plans for him to see me Monday.
By Friday evening I was ready for bed!
I had asked my employee what time he wanted me to meet him in the morning. I figured he would know better what the guy meant when he said be there at 8. I was shocked that Alhajie wanted to be there at 8. So, I made plans to meet him on the way. Saturday was to be the monthly Clean Up The Gambia day. You can't drive any where from 9 am - 1 pm. So, it was probably good we went early. I later found out they cancelled it.
I am sure you will be shocked to hear that Alhajie and I were the only ones there at 8 am. I went in and visited with out patients and greeted all the other patients. They enjoyed talking to a tubaab that spoke Wolof. Many people are shocked when you start speaking to them in Wolof. It cracks me up.
Alhagie and I were kicked out of the ward, by housekeeping. We went and sat outside. We had a great discussion on Islam, Christianity and our view of God. Later Alhajie brought up American politics. He told me he liked conservative views, agreed with the war, but would vote for Hillary. I stopped that conversation. UGH, good thing he can't vote! At 9:15 am the speaker arrived and class began. It was much different than the day before. Breaks were shorter and the lecture time more intense (so to speak). Breakfast was a red meat and fish sandwich (I think it was cow, but could have been goat). Again we broke for prayers and lunch at 1:45 pm. Lunch was Benecin and I sat at a bowl with the guys I was talking to at the time. I ate Gambian style, with my right hand. The food is really best that way. Again we were treated with a Coke/Fanta/Sprite. Class went until 5 pm. We took a post test and then we were instructed to go to the office for our Vitamin M. (money... the guy had a sense of humor) We were paid for three days as we covered all the material. The registration process was a joke, but that is the American in me.
All in all, I did pick up some new information. I networked on the availability of the new drug, i.e. Could I obtain stock from them (it is more money than my yearly medication budget). I learned what documentation we should be doing. I will make sure it gets done. So, it was helpful that I went.
That doesn't mean I am actually looking forward to the next one I have to go to.
Monday, March 3, 2008
After FC, the SPTs finished our shopping and errand running. Wednesday morning we loaded up the car and headed home. We had a three hour wait at the ferry. It was a bit HOT! and sunny that day.
Getting off the ferry is more of a challenge. Foot passengers and vehivles are all trying to leave at the same time. Makes it very interesting, especially if you are following a mother with one child on her back and the toddler walking along beside.
Now what do you suppose a aviation fuel truck is doing in Barra? Who knows! We thought this was a picture perfect moment.