Sunday, December 26, 2010

Language is Culture...


I learned that ‘language is culture’ this summer while in PILAT at MTI in Colorado. It made sense to me, but I didn’t really understand until I was sitting at MS-TCDC in Tanzania in a Beginner’s Swahili course a couple of weeks ago. Certain words exist in languages because of the culture, and other words don’t exist because of the culture. For example, in Tanzanian Swahili (apparently the ‘purest’ Swahili), there isn’t a word for ‘lay down’ because it would be difficult to lay down on your bed that’s in the living room & that you’re sharing with others, so…you only sleep on a bed. Or how about this one….’oa’ (to marry) is only for men…women ‘olewa’ (get married). I think that eludes to arranged marriages, as well as the different rights of men & women. The words I learned also explain culture. Some of the first words I learned were ‘shamba’ (farm), ‘bustani’ (garden), & ‘mbolea’ (fertilizer)…not the words I would have expected. But, when you realize that the majority of people here farm at least one crop, they’re important to know. As is how ‘time’ works around here. The day starts when the sun comes up, not around say 6am. So….when people started using clocks, they said the numbers a bit differently…subtracting 6 hours from the time shown on the clock. For example, if the clock shows 10am it is read ‘saa nne asubushi’ (4 in the morning), not ‘kumi’ (10)! In class, the teacher also went on to explain that some people in really rural villages still don’t use clocks, so that’s an even bigger challenge when trying to get people to be ‘on time’. Time telling by the sun sounds pretty cool, though:) Learning the explanation of the meanings of some words & how others were formed was really interesting. For example, ‘mwana’ (child) + ‘mke’ (wife) = ‘mwanamke’ (woman, aka ‘child born to be a wife’). The same was for ‘mwanamume’ = man, aka ‘child born to be a husband’ (‘mume’). Or one of my favorites….’barua’ (letter) + pepe (husks….like corn husks) = email….because it’s like a letter that flies away just like the light-weight husks of corn do:) Some Swahili words have just been adopted from English, hence the lovely term ‘Kiswaengligh’. I like those words:)

Another language is culture thing….greetings. Greetings are super important in this culture. To give you a sense of how important…one of my Swahili teachers was acting out a phone call in which he was going to tell someone he was in danger (I can’t remember how this came up, but it’s always something good to know!), & it went something like this (in a whisper):

#1 “Habari za leo?” Hi. How’s your day?
#2 “Nzuri sana. Na wewe je?” Very good. And yours?
#1 “Nzuri sana. Hujambo?” Very good. How are you?
#2 “Sijambo. Mzima?” I’m good. Are you complete?
#1 “Mzima. Nipo hatarini!” I’m complete. I’m in danger….right this moment!
#2 “Nitapiga polici.” I’ll call the police.
#1 “Asante sana.” Thank you very much.

Can you imagine?! Language is culture….greetings before danger:) Oh yeah….also, you’re always doing ‘good’…no matter what:) Each day at language school, we had 5.5 hours of class time, complete with regular meal & chai/coffee/hot chocolate breaks. We took notes, we had homework, we played games, we sang songs…we learned Swahili:) My brain was definitely tired & full by the end of the day! There were a number of times in class that I was frustrated with Swahili….”Why don’t they just say ___, like in English…it’s so much easier!” And then I remembered the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). Mankind started out with one language, but then we started trying to achieve Heaven & fame. So, God fixed that. He had a reason for scattering us all over the Earth speaking different languages. “Ok…I’ll learn it the Swahili way…” :) Twice we had the opportunity to talk with a native Swahili speaker for an hour….the first time I walked away with a headache The second time was better, though:) We also had a ‘field trip’ to the market…most of the vendors enjoyed us trying our Swahili out & appreciated our efforts.

My classmates at TCDC consisted of other Americans, Germans, Swede’s, British, & Dutch. We got to rest our brains some on the weekends, & explored the area a bit. My personal favorite was Mt. Kilimanjaro:)


Now that I’ve returned to Kenya…I’m trying to practice using all the things I learned in Tanzania. I’m also using tools that I learned about at my PILAT training at MTI in Colorado this past summer. Here’s a taste of some of the things I learned & did in PILAT... Let me just say…thank you God for not making Swahili a tonal language & for it using the Roman alphabet!!! :)



Language learning really is exhausting…my brain is thinking & functioning in ways that are new or haven’t been used in a very long time! I’ll be getting a language helper after the new year when everyone returns back to work from Christmas break, but until then I’m just going to town everyday & practicing with who ever will be patient, listen, & talk to me:) I’m also living with a Kenyan family, so I can live the culture & the language. After all….language is culture!

If you’d like to see more of my pictures from Tanzania, click here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Apartment tour!!!

Not the greatest still shot to start this off with, but here you go:)

Apartment tour!!! from Katie DeFries on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nail House???

One of the first things I did upon arriving in Kenya in September, was to start working on getting my work permit. I am currently allowed to be here because of the tourist visa I purchased through Customs in the airport ($25). A tourist visa is good for 3 months, at which point you can purchase a 3 month extension. After that, it’s technically illegal to be here without some kind of permit. The work permit can be valid for up to 4 years. So…I heard I was going to the ‘Nail House’ where the Immigration Office is to work on this. One of my male teammates told me he had a contact person there that helped he & his wife go through this process. He referred to her as “his ‘Nail House’ lady”….funny comment from a guy! Well, when we got there, I quickly learned that my ears aren’t quite tuned in to Swahili yet. It’s actually the ‘Nyayo House’. My bad:)

Here’s a step-by-step process I’ve gone through so far for getting my work permit…it’s one that tests your patience!
• Submit the application along with: 1) a letter from AfricaHope stating I’m volunteering with them & requesting I be issued a work permit, 2) at least 3 letters of recommendation from non-family members (thank you to those that wrote wonderful letters for me!), 3) copy of my birth certificate, 4) copy of my passport, 5) 10 passport sized photos, 6) copies of my diplomas, & 7) résumé.
• Wait…& wait….& wait…until the work permit has been approved.
• I went to check on the status of my work permit when I got back from Ethiopia. Stand in Line 9. I finally made it up to the counter & handed the lady my receipt from when the application had been turned in. She needed a reference number to be able to check. Go to Room 16.
• Wait in line…get the reference number…back to Line 9.
• Wait in line… When I made it to the counter again, I opened the folder with all my paperwork in it to hand her the receipt. It was gone! I started frantically looking. The guy behind me said he had seen a paper on the ground, but didn’t know where it went. I couldn’t find it! Back to Room 16.
• Get reference number, again. Back to Line 9. And wait….
• Third time’s a charm….when I finally made it to the counter again & gave her my reference number, she said it had been approved! Woo hoo! That was record time! It has taken months & even up to a year for other teammates to get their permits approved...my application was approved in 1 month!!!
• Back to Room 16…again. The lady there found the official document that said my work permit had been approved.
• Go to the Cashier’s desk. I was informed that I had to get a ‘Security Bond’ from either an insurance company or bank, & bring proof of that to him.
• Day 2…Security Bond. Turns out, I had to have an official AfricaHope stamp for the security bond paperwork. We had to have it sent by matatu (taxi) carrier from Narok to Nairobi first thing that morning. Then, off to the insurance company.
• I was very confused as to what a ‘Security Bond’ was, & no one at the insurance company was explaining it in a way that I understood. I heard the word ‘bond’, so I thought it would function like a bond in the States & I would get that money back after 4 years (paying 20,000 KES [about $250] for a bond valued at 100,000 KES), but I was informed I wouldn’t be getting that money back. I was determined to find out what this ‘Security bond’ was since it was so much money! So...I attempted to read the small print of the contract. It’s basically insurance for the Kenyan government against me! If I do anything while I’m here that costs them money, this ‘Security bond’ will cover it up to 100,000 KES ($1,250)…evacuation, medical, damage, etc. Interesting…
• Back to the Nyayo House. I showed the Cashier my proof of Security Bond. I then owed around 6,000 KES ($75 processing fee). He gave me a receipt & said to come back in 2 weeks & go to Room 16. Why not now?! Why 2 weeks if it’s already been approved & I just paid for everything?!
• I went down to Room 16 to check for myself. “Come back in 2 weeks”… So close yet so far away!
• I’ll be checking on it this Friday. If it’s ready, then I’ll apply for: 1) a re-entry permit (so I don’t have to buy a new visa each time I re-enter Kenya), 2) an alien card (so I can get Kenyan citizen prizes on things, especially the tourist attractions!), & 3) a Kenyan driver’s license. Prayers appreciated:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Motorcycles...


I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of motorcycles. They make me nervous. Having been in the medical profession for the past 7 years, I’ve heard about way to many motorcycle accidents for me to not think twice about getting on one. That being said…I tend to have temporary lapses of judgment when visiting foreign countries:) It first happened 3 years ago in India with my sister & cousin… Our driver decided that we would love to each ride on the hotel motorcycle on the narrow mountain road to go see a cave temple. My sister went first… no problems. My cousin refused…so smart! It was my turn. I got on the back of the motorcycle…& then immediately asked myself, “What in the world are you doing?!” I started to pray. And then the motorcycle died!!!! I couldn’t believe it! They had to tow it back to the hotel with someone holding on to the rope it was tied to sitting in the back of the car! Thank you, God!!!

Then came Ethiopia… motorcycles were one of three transportation options (walking 45+mins & bajaj being the others), but the only safe option at night. So…I hopped on…and started praying. The motorcycle never died…the whole time I was in Ethiopia for that matter. That gave me peace. Guess God thought it was okay this time:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

6-weeks in Ethiopia....

Sit back & relax…this is a long one:) Here’s my best attempt at describing my 6 weeks in Ethiopia…

Picture frontier living back in the 1800s…simple, but hard living. Horse-drawn carriages. Farming by hand. Cooking over a fire. Close communities & families working together to survive. Then someone walks by a grass hut, all the while talking on their cell phone. Trucks & mini-buses emit horrendous fumes as they drive by on the roads lined with pedestrians & donkey’s pulling supplies. You see clothes from the US, but they’re well-worn, stained, & torn. Life in Ethiopia…well, most developing countries, is full of these paradoxes that are hard for my brain to mesh together. And then to top it off…you’re a celebrity! Foreigners, especially white people, are still a rarity, so your each & every move is watched. Kids want to test their English on you & try to touch your skin or hair:) Now that you have that visual…

I lived in an area called Otona outside the town of Soddo, which is about a 5-6 hr drive southwest from the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa (the 2nd highest capital in the world!). It was absolutely beautiful & not at all what I expected…it made me think of Hawaii, Colorado, & Vermont:) Soddo is a town of about 50,000 people that sits at an altitude of 6,800 feet. The national language spoken around Soddo was Amheric, along with the local language of Wolaittina. The area is predominately Christian…Orthodox & Protestant. There was also a Muslim. When I arrived, it was the tail end of rainy season, & was beginning to move into dry season. It was generally in the 70s-80sF during the day with nice, refreshing rain showers at least once a week. As the wind storms began, I was told it was a sign of the approaching dry season. The mud dried up, leaving lots of red dust.

I lived in the house of the missionary I filled in for (Sophie) just a couple houses down from Dr. Mary (the missionary doctor I worked with) & her husband, Gary. They live in a compound that was built for SIM missionaries back in the 1950s, but is now owned by a nearby Protestant church & is used as a Bible college. The house looked like it was transported from 1950’s American, but with some African touches:) There was even an American style attic…which was probably one of the last things I expected to see in Africa!
For my first 1.5 weeks, we had no running water because of a busted water pump in town. Donkey’s brought the water from the river/spring about a 5-10 minute walk away, where most people did their laundry & others brought trucks & motorcycles to be cleaned in the river. Water was always filtered & boiled before consumed. When the water came back, I think I was happiest about the flushing toilet:) Oh, & the hot shower…that 1 hot shower…before the water heater broke:( So, then I was back to taking bucket baths with hot water heated by a wonderful electric kettle…cold showers & I don’t mix well. The hot water heater did manage to get fixed before I left, but not before there was a waterfall in the living room & kitchen caused by a leaking pipe valve in the attic. The electricity was pretty sporadic… it went out for at least a couple hours (mostly in the evenings) about 4-5 days/week…more frequent than in Kenya. I ate many a dinner by candle light:) There was one day it was off for over 24-hour, which defrosted the freezer for me…look for the positives! There were also frequent power surges, so most things had to be plugged into a surge protector so they didn’t fry. And then there were the fleas that appeared in the living room…quite the battle! Sophie said she’d never had that many problems with her house before. So…this was just my initiation into African living:) I feel like I lived out a ‘Living in a Developing Country 101’ course:) Gary & Mary were so great about teaching & showing me things…how to flash ‘pasteurize’ local fresh milk, water filters, electrical problems, local meat shopping/cutting/grinding/freezing, passion fruit juicing, good from-scratch recipes,
good plants/herbs to grow in the garden, how to clean vegetables & fruit you’re going to eat raw with bleach, tips for the slow internet, etc. Then there was the adventure in the bathroom after Sophie returned & Angie arrived…declogging the shower drain & caulking! I also learned a lot just by living in Sophie’s house & seeing what she had there after living in Ethiopia for a little over 1 year now. God brought me to Ethiopia to learn a lot more than rural medical clincs:)

Most mornings, I was up by 8am to welcome the house help. I was so thankful for them…Amarech, Zenabu, & Tsaganesh. It takes about 10 times as long to get normal, everyday things done (laundry by hand, dishes by hand, cooking from scratch, gardening/mowing with no machines), that I would have had trouble having time to do anything but live without their help. Plus, these jobs are a normal part of their culture. There was a gas & electric stove & electric oven in the kitchen, which I became very well acquainted with. One of the quickest meals was pasta. There was tons of pasta & tomato paste around town thanks to the presence of Italians pre-WWII.
Zenabu helped with the garden out back, growing lettuce, spinach, onions, turnips, strawberries, passion fruit, & rhubarb growing along with some avocado, custard fruit (or bread fruit), papaya, & guava trees. Zenabu & Tsaganesh were both also in school when they weren’t working. Tsaganesh was the only one of the three that spoke much English, so all of my communication was through her. She enjoyed listening to Ethiopian music (what sounded like a mix of Middle Eastern & Indian music) on her cell phone while she worked:) (Random note: I heard quite a bit of American music in restaurants that was a blast from the past…Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Warren G…random tunes that would catch me off guard & made me smile:)) One other friend that helped out a lot was Kebede…he just finished his first year of nursing school & works at the Christian hospital in Soddo when he’s not helping translate for short-term teams. He would help me find what I needed around town, & then would take me back home on a motorcycle he rented…basically the only safe transportation option after dark unless you have a car.
Soddo was 45 min+ walk into town. I could also walked 15 min down the frequently muddy road to get a bajaj (mini-taxi vehicle thing), which took me into Soddo. Along the side of the main roads, there were outside market stands selling fruit, 2nd hand clothes, cheap watches, etc. There were also the popular ping-pong & foosball tables throughout town that frequently had competitions in play...another surprise:) There were a few restaurants around town that we ate at. I enjoyed trying the Ethiopian dishes. Almost all of them were served with injera, a sourdough-like flat bread. The most common dishes were vegetable, potato, &/or chickpea ‘wat’ (stew)
& ‘tibs’ (cut up pieces of seasoned meat). The most common drinks were Ethiopian coffee (basically espresso served with salt), macchiato (coffee with spices & chocolate flakes:)), sprice (half tea/half coffee),
water, Ambo (sparkling mineral water), Coke/Fanta/Sprite, & fresh juices. As for shopping for necessities & food…there was the market for fresh produce, grains, beans, & clever things people made from recycled materials
; road side stands; & then the 3 ‘foringe’ stores around town with very basic ‘American’ things…some canned vegetables, cereal, cookies, candy, Raman noodles, basic cooking supplies, Red Bull, etc. More things were available in Addis. Prices in the market were wonderful…rolls $0.50, 1 dozen eggs $1, pineapple $0.38, papaya less than $1, 1 lb of red beans $0.25...I loved it:) There were other missionaries (from the States, Netherlands, & Norway) in Soddo working at the two orphanages & the Christian hospital. I really enjoyed getting to know all of them & hang out. I spent some time at one of the orphanages…the kids of course stole my heart pretty quickly. They loved to play & pose for the camera:)

On clinic mornings (Tuesday’s & Saturday’s), Mary picked me up in her ancient-but-still-running-great Land Cruiser at 6:30am…those were rough, early mornings:) Clinic was a 1.5 hour drive away (back northeast towards Addis). Part of the drive was on a main paved road, but then the last bit was on a rough dirt road out to the rural area. We passed traditional mud huts along the way mixed in with newer style rectangular mud houses. I was in a couple of these houses, & they were quite impressive! I never knew mud walls could be so sturdy! If they could afford paint for the walls, then you couldn’t really even tell they were mud. A number of these houses closer to town (= wealthier people) had electricity & nice wood furniture, & I even saw one with a TV. It’s just hard to put all those things together in my head. All along the drive to clinic (and even through town & just walking places), we would hear “foringe” yelled (aka foreigner!). Clinic was located in the small village of Godala (aka Ajora…named for “famous” twin waterfalls that were nearby). A line of people sitting on the ground were always waiting for us as we pulled up to the village’s community building.
The really sick people laid on mattresses or “stretchers” (made of wood & palm leaves) that were brought in by rural “ambulance” (aka donkey cart). A local pastor always prayed before we began our work. Dr. Mary then handed out little pieces of paper to determine who could buy medications from our pharmacy vs the more expensive pharmacies nearby…large-sized cards for those with a larger arm circumference (meaning they were better fed, hence healthier & wealthier & could afford the other pharmacies), small-sized cards for small arm circumferences. To give you an idea of a small arm circumference….most of the men were hard working farmers, & Dr. Mary could put her hand around their upper arm & her finger tips touched.
I thought it would be hard to see her distinguish between people like that, but truthfully, it’s pretty easy to see the difference. They’re all poor…no question about that…but some are so emaciated & are the poorest of the poor. I guess that helped me start to process the question of ‘How do you know who to help? Everyone’s poor.’ There are people that have all of their basic needs met, have clothes other than the one’s they’re wearing, have extras in their house like I talked about, but they’re still poor by our standards. Then there are those that don’t know where their next meal is coming from, are withering away & have no reserve for when they get sick, & really have no money or possessions. Then there’s the orphans, widows, & disabled…the people that really are helpless. Seeing all of this helped me begin to better understand scripture about taking care of the poor, orphans, & widows.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure & faultless is this: to look after orphans & widows in their distress…” ~James 1:27
But, then where do I fit into all of this? I think this experience helped me to know better where to focus my ministry efforts in Kenya & who to help when surrounded by poverty. But…what about all the extra I have despite being on a ‘poor missionary salary’? I still have more than the ‘well off’ poor in many places. God has blessed me, & I pray that He will show me how to steward those blessings well. I don’t know that there’s an answer to those questions…

There were 5-6 Ethiopians that worked with us on clinic days depending on the day of the week…translators, guard, & help with odds & ends stuff. There were 2 buckets that held lab supplies (urinalysis sticks, hemoglobin paper, etc) & equipment (otoscope, thermometer, etc). Dr. Mary started with the donkey cart patients, I started with the pregnant ladies & twins:)
Pregnant ladies started coming around 6-7 months (earlier if we were lucky) to get basic checks, an egg (for nutrition), & MinMeds (= multivitamin, iron & folic acid, & malaria preventatives…the latter because if they have malaria when they are delivering or up to 3 months after, they have an almost 100% chance of death!). The twin feeding program originated because mother’s generally don’t have enough food for themselves to be able to breastfeed 2 babies at the same time, so they would only feed the largest of the two:(
So…we gave the twin mom’s a large can of granola (which we made every couple weeks with oats, honey, peanut butter, protein powder, & oil + milk powder) every 2 weeks provided that both babies were gaining weight. They were pretty cute:) Once I was done with the pregnant ladies & twins, I started on the opposite end of the line that Dr. Mary was working on & we saw patients until we met in the middle.
I also did all the injections & helped with procedures (IVs, suture removal, dressing wounds, etc). Dr. Mary had me try to help with a tooth extraction on one of my first clinic days, but I was doing good to not throw up just watching!

Things I saw at clinic: post-partum sepsis, pregnancy-induced hypertension, leprosy, tuberculosis (lots of this, sadly)…abdominal, lung, arthritic, malaria (lots & lots of this), pneumonia, whooping cough, chicken pox, rheumatic fever, mumps, STDs, broken arm, worms (lots of this), ear infections, cataracts, eye infections, skin infections, amoebic dysentery, visceral leishmaniasis (this makes your spleen huge & is passed an insect bite), night blindness from Vitamin A deficiency, a platelet count of 2,000 in a lady pregnant with twins, goiter (lots due to diet deficiencies), Hodgkin’s lymphoma, probable miscarriages,…& the list goes on. Many of these we don’t see in the States because they’ve been eradicated, we have vaccines for things, & our nutrition is much better.

What else did I do on non-clinic days? I spent time helping Dr. Mary with the medical missions course she’s written (the one Angie, Elizabeth, & I took in North Carolina in April), as well as organizing medicines & packaging meds for pharmacy. Occassionally, Sophie will take over the care of a baby from the village whose mother died in childbirth & the father couldn’t take care of he/she in the early infant stage when they still need milk. When I arrived, 9-week old Asamino was living with Heather (the other nurse helping fill in for Sophie) & I. Another cute little guy:)
And right before I headed back to Kenya, we got a precious 5-week old girl whose mother had died from malaria 2 weeks earlier. Slowly, these baby’s are transitioned over to staying with an Ethiopian nanny before they return to the village around 6-months of age, when they are also eating all solid foods (since expensive formula isn’t an option in the village). I’m glad both Sophie & Angie had arrived at that point because we had our hands full!

I can’t help but think about Jeremiah 29:11 when I think about my experiences in Ethiopia…
“’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you & not to harm you, plans to give you hope & a future.’”
As I said before, God set aside this time to teach me about a lot more than rural medical clinics, which is what I thought I was going for He knew I needed this time to prepare to be in Kenya…& now I’m so excited to be back! I have 2 albums of photos up on Facebook…enjoy! A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? :)

Ethiopia...you are beautiful... - Part 1
Ethiopia...you are beautiful... - Part 2

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Praise...Maasai style...

Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be gland in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing & make music to him with tambourine & harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.
~~ Psalms 149: 1-4

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp & lyre,
Praise him with tambourine & dancing, praise him with the strings & flute,
Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
~~ Psalms 150: 1-6


I read these scriptures the night before my 1st church service in Kenya (this time around) at the university near our apartments. It made me smile as I was seeing it lived out in front of me:) I think I have some things to learn from them! I wish I had taken a video of it, but I didn't. So...here's a video from the village church I visited 5 years ago...I hope it makes you smile, too:)
video

My Cup Runneth Over...

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
~Psalms 23:5


A friend of my used these words to describe her feeling as she was preparing to head to the mission field. These are the words that come to my mind, too. The weeks before I left for Kenya, I was completely surrounded by love & prayer in such greater ways than I ever expected. I’ve never felt so filled by love, support, encouragement, & prayer. It’s hard to even find the words to describe it. Overwhelmed comes to mind...in a good way:) I am blessed that these things have been present throughout my life already, and are magnified even more right now. All of this love & support made it that much harder to leave, though. Like water pouring from an overflowing cup, the tears have been abundant. At the same time, I feel so strengthened by that love to do this task God has sat in front of me…well, all of us. This calling extends to those closest to me, and even out to some I hardly know that are a part of my support team. I have been incredibly blessed by the people in my life, so I know God has some big things planned to have pulled me away from them for this time. If those plans are at all close to the dreams He’s placed in my heart over the past couple years, I’m excited:)





Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Medical Missions Training


Two-weeks in the beautiful rolling hills of North Carolina + medical missions/tropical diseases training = Missionary Medical Intensive (MMI) class at Equip, Intl. I had the opportunity to take this class last month, and it was amazing! Definitely intense...which is probably why 'intensive' is in the name of the class:) My future AfricaHope medical teammates (Angie & Elizabeth) came as well, so we had those 2 weeks (plus a 12-hour road trip each way!) to get to know each other better & discuss our upcoming ministry. I can gladly say we're now even more excited than we were before! And definitely feel more prepared for the adventures that are about to ensue!

The cabin Tillie & I shared


We only had electricity 1-hour each night! Otherwise it was gas lamps & heaters


Tillie & Sheila practicing with the otoscope

Open wide Samantha! :)

Blood pressure time...


Dr. Mary (the author of the book MMI is taught from, Village Medical Manual, flew in from Ethiopia with Nurse Sophie to teach our class with the newly released 6th edition!





We all had 40-50 case studies to complete by the end of the class


What a great visual...Dr. Mary drew on Shola to outline his organs!





Math/dosage calculations...can't avoid them








Dr. Mary's prize possessions...glass syringes!






John & I working on NG tubes (aka feeding tubes)


And that's how it's done...





We learned to make feeding tubes out of IV tubing








Delivery teaching kits

Dr. Mary teaching us finger blocks...












Mmmm...cow tongue...Shelly & Cameron looks thrilled


Suture time...


Kimby & I suturing




Shoulder dislocation? We'll pop you back into place!


AfricaHope medical team!!! - Angie, me, & Elizabeth (plus John, who's going to AfricaHope for a month this summer & Crystal, a friend from ECHO)









Dr. Mary demonstrating teeth blocks













There were 18 of us...half medical, half non-medical


Afternoon in Black Mountain (Angie, me, Elizabeth, & John)

Dinner in Asheville (me, Angie, Elizabeth, & Amy)