“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my stomachache he’ll keep,
If I should be bitten before I wake,
Make the doxy attack, so the bug can’t replicate“.
Our prayers are different these days;)
Okay, I CONFESS, I totally just made that up. My pre-bedtime dosage is just an inexpensive way to relearn dietary habits. My penchant for evening snacking is easier to handle–because there’s NO FOOD in this house (meals are served to us in another building) and this doxy puts a nauseated tone in my head and stomach so I don’t actually feel like snacking. For a few weeks more, no bedtime snacking for me.
The above is not my real prayer, but I might teach it to the kids just for fun.
My prayer would be that the kids can see that we are trying to share.
Despite the pleasant distractions of hiking to the river with new friends, dipping our feet in the warm rusty pools of cattle pee and river water (which I learned later might end up experiencing schistosomiasis, yuck), or walking to the market with new friends learning the price of flour (6 cedi) or toilet paper (10 cedi), or having next to no studies and instead, reading four books in a week, my kiddos find this place hard to be.
There are bugs in their bed…and ants crawling the laundry line of freshly washed clothing, and after a day of drying, Zach’s shirts were missing. There are fried eggplants (which I thought were great!), and no desserts, and requirements to UV light clean every cup of water. Someone has to watch over their every move when brushing their teeth, in case they put that toothbrush under the tap water (a VERY difficult habit to break…try it for fun!!) There is that malarone nausea/malaise in the morning. Garbage scattered everywhere and sewage running down the street. Not surprising, the kids don’t care for it all.
I pray that they will understand more fully the bounty that is their North American lives.
I pray that they will see how they contribute in their world, whether third world or their backyards.
I pray that their compassion will continue to blossom toward others.
Another doctor warned me today that I might face culture shock. Ha ha ha. It already did two years ago. Now, I won’t be surprised if I have yet another example these next few weeks to round out the reasons I am shocked by this new culture, but new-to-culture shock I will not be. I got it. This place is very, very different. And to be frank, some of it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I would love to teach sanitation, organization and cleanliness. And I would love it if they cared to listen. But they’ve made it clear to many before me, that they don’t do things the way we do things.
I pray that we can overlook the unpleasantries and be fully present, allowing our willingness to show kindness, compassion and a listening heart dominate our day.
This hospital sees 500-800 patients a day on clinic days. 800 patients!!! And often there are only three docs. On a busy clinic day at home, my husband has seen 50. And if he’s seen 50, that means you’ve seen him an abbreviated, annoyingly inadequate amount of time to get what you came for. There are death certificates signed every day. Babies dying of cerebral malaria in the rainy season and kids dying of meningitis in the dry season.
Can I put that into perspective? The size of a small town near you, a thousand people say, 800 of them lined up at the local clinic. That is a lot of people.
I pray that we’ll be able to take the load off the incredibly busy doctors here, be the kind of hands and feet of helpfulness that we came here to be.
I pray that we’ll be able to find ways of encouraging the long-term families here, and know how to bless the Ghanians without them thinking we’re better than them.
Fourteen year old Thomas came by to meet the kids. He’d come with his friend, Elizabeth, who was selling her basket of cabbages balanced on her head. They’re regulars of the neighbourhood, I’m told. He asked for the kids names, so that he’d return with a gift. He brought them each welcome signs with their names in an artistic block print. They took the soccer ball outside and played basketball at the old hoop next to our home. I’ve been told by others that they don’t trust this kid. I can’t know that for sure.
But, I pray that he’ll bring back Zach’s shirts from the laundry line.
Being Canadian Thanksgiving today, we celebrated with two boxes of stove top stuffing, Knorr’s gravy mix, market tomatoes and a chicken pot pie, and chocolate pudding for dessert (much of that brought from home). As we went around the table, we were thankful for the little things, like daily food, which we can see more clearly is a privilege of the wealthy, safety and health, our old house in Canada (which now seems luxury), and Lipton’s Pasta Noodles–something I ate so often as a kid and no longer have an appreciation for, except in Africa.
Ultimately, I am most thankful for the stretching experiences that we’re given to help round out who we were always meant to become…more compassionate, communal, and kind creatures.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!