Hello everyone! Can you believe it? I’m in Africa, alive, and loving it!
It’s time for an update on my travels and adventures in Africa! It has been adventure after adventure since the time I left Portland, Maine 10 days ago.
I landed in Baltimore from Portland around 8:00 am and I waited for Brendon to pick me up. My first dilemma arrived when I couldn’t carry all my suitcases out to the pick up zone. (I wanted to take as many dolls and stuffed animals as possible so I had 4 of the biggest suitcases we could find and a backpack). After struggling to carry them all, I just opted to make several trips (which I got yelled at from the security guard for leaving my things unattended). But before I knew it, Brendon (my fiancee) was there to pick me up. 🙂 We drove to the Dulles Airport area and grabbed a nice Breakfast and then we had to say our goodbyes. Brendon waited in the cell phone lot as I waited for the KLM desk to open.
I started to get nervous when the desk opened 30 minutes prior to my boarding time. But I was first in line, and ready to go to Africa. I told the lady where I was headed with a big smile on my face. I was so excited and the time had come! My smile quickly faded when she told me she couldn’t find my flight and that I was at the wrong airport (I was supposed to be at the Ronald Reagan airport not Dulles). How could this be? I thought I was so careful! While trying to hold back tears, and praying to God that He would take care of all of this, I gave the lady my information to take to her supervisor. When she returned, she told me that I was the luckiest lady ever. Because of the small snow storm, her supervisor was able to reroute my flight. I would no longer have to fly multiple flights before I got to Amsterdam, now I could fly direct! That was miracle #1. The next problem I faced was my overweight carry-ons. She said I would be fine if securty did not weigh them. I have never prayed so hard in the security line at the airport! I probably looked very suspicious, but I didn’t know what I would do if they weighed it. But, I made it through with no problem! Until… I was sitting in my gate praising God for Miracle #2 (getting through security) when an offical came up to me and asked to weigh my carry-ons. I was told they totaled 30 kg together when I was only allowed 12 kg. At this point, all I could do was pray that the man would have mercy on me. He came back and told me they were going to check the extra carry-on under the plane. Free of charge. That was Miracle #3. I went from going to the wrong airport with luggage I couldn’t even carry to only having to carry my backpack and flying straight to Amsterdam. God is so good! From there on out, my travels went very smoothly!
We arrived in Tanzania late Thursday night and headed up to the mountain of Chome early Friday morning. We drove about 2 hours up this steep and bumpy mountain terrain where there was only inches between the tires and the ledge of the mountain. Once we got there we were greeted with numerous smiling faces! All the students waved tree branches and sang welcome songs to us as we walked the rest of the way. Their joy was contagious, and soon I found myself holding hands with the locals, and trying to sing songs I had never heard before.
They also prepared a presentation where children came up and recited scripture in English and then presented us with many gifts. Sugar cane walking sticks, leis, and a goat. The goat came from the town elders and we were instructed to slit it’s throat and eat it! They were so very proud of their gift to us, so we accepted it with open arms.
We spent Saturday morning in church with them, and then went on a glorious Sabbath afternoon hike into the deep jungles of Africa. It was absolutely gorgeous. The view was stunning and we even found some caves to crawl and explore in! Right in the middle of the hike, the man picked up his walking stick, shaved off the skin, and started handing us all pieces of sugar cane to eat! It was a very delicious and refreshing treat. The hike totaled about 4 hours so we were all quite ready to get back to home base. However, the whole afternoon was a perfect way to spend our first full day in Chome.
We set up all the clinics on Saturday night, and were ready to start treating people early Sunday morning. The rest of the week went by SUPER fast. I worked in the Pharmacy area on Sunday, the surgery area on Monday, and the dental area on Tuesday and Wednesday. I had a great time assisting with the surgeries because the surgeon was so patient and very willing to teach. He allowed me to get in and help as much as possible which was way cool!
When I went to the dental area, I pulled my very first tooth! The girl that the tooth came from seemed very unsure of my dental skills (as was I) but the tooth popped right out and I didn’t even make her cry! What a win!
Over the week (3 1/2 full days) that we worked we were able to serve so many people! The dental clinic saw roughly 350 people. That is more than 100 extractions a day ’cause most of the villagers needed more than one tooth pulled. The medical clinic saw a little over 550 patients which did not include the 30-40 patients that had operations done. The eye clinic takes the cake though. They saw 1,007 patients, and gave reading glasses to all who needed them. One of the translators told me that when they received their glasses, many would tell them that now they could go and read the Bible with ease. How incredible!
We also held small religious meetings in the evening with them. We led out in song service, had a small skit, gave a short talk and allowed them to participate as well. They have such incredible voices. Their singing blew me away every single night! It was very tough to say goodbye on Thursday morning, but their final song to us made it a happy moment rather than a sad one. 🙂
I know that this is basically the longest post ever, but I had to share all of the incredible things that God has done over the last week. Stay posted and I will continue to update you all!