Monday, October 7, 2013

A Year in the Tribe

So today marks one year since we moved into the tribe. Weird.

I think it was the fastest, hardest, most intense year of our lives. I can' t even wrap my mind around everything that has happened this past year.

I have to admit that even though we have gone through some really difficult times in here, we have grown to love this place and these people more and more each day. It most certainly feels like home.

This last week has been pretty crazy, as always. Our coworkers went out to town on a break and to prepare to finish their house, so we are in here by ourselves with another friend/missionary who is helping JM build a tractor shed and office. (Remember the guy who spent the night in the ocean? Yeah, that guy).

The night my coworkers left, our neighbors came over to tell us that a five month old baby was really sick and close to death. After I visited and watched him struggle for every breath and cried with a terrified mom, I figured that he probably had pneumonia.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" was my first response. We had three flights in here today! I am sure we could have gotten this baby to a hospital somewhere- why didn't you tell us then? But they said that the baby just got really bad and stopped eating a few hours before, so I cut them a little slack and tried to figure out what to do next. My second response was to think that this may not have been the best week to stop taking the Valium that the doctor prescribed to me for symptoms of PTSD.

I am sure if you have read this blog for any length of time then you know that I am a complete spaz and have a tendency to overreact. I am NOT the person you want involved in any sort of medical situation. My coworker, Susan, is a trained nurse and is exceptional at treating tropical diseases and helping our villagers survive in very precarious situations. My other coworker, Abby, is not professionally trained, but just has that natural knack for medical care and helping people. I am the LAST person on the team that should be helping in any sort of emergency situation. The more critical a situation, the more paralyzed my thought process becomes.

But here I am. I got on the radio and talked to some more experienced missionary ladies and sent a letter to our mission doctor to try to get the best advice I could, and then relayed that to our village medical workers.

The biggest challenge I have had to face with this, though, is that the mother and baby sleep very close to a hot smokey fire in the house. It is not culturally appropriate for the woman to be in the middle of the house- the furthest away from the fire- so there is really no where she can go to get this baby with a 104 degree fever away from the heat. And no way to prevent him from breathing in smoke in his already compromised lungs. I just tried to convince her to keep him outside of the house as much as possible during the day.

At this point, he is still strong and very alert. He has started eating again, but still really struggles to breath. I am not sure at what point we need to consider flying him out of here, but I think I am at my limit for medical care, and definitely do not want to have another death in the village right now- especially this precious baby boy. I think if he is not better by tomorrow I will try to figure out what we need to do to get him flown out for some help- if his parents are even willing to do that. If that happens, it will be our first medevac out of our village, just six weeks after the airstrip opening. I am so thankful that it is at least an option for us. I feel so helpless and inadequate in this situation, and the ability to get this baby some real medical professional help is such a blessing.

And I never would have guessed at this time last year we would already have this strip open. But…there are a lot of things that have happened over the last year that I never would have guessed. I am thankful that I serve a God who knows. Who doesn't have to guess. Who is the anchor in the storm that rages all around me. I am thankful that even though I don't know, He does. He knows and He cares. And He will sustain us for what I hope is many more years to come.


  1. Precious little boy! You may not feel like you are qualified to handle this emergency, but God will give you wisdom, whatever happens. Prayers for you and the baby both!

  2. You are doing great and learning so much in the process:) praying for healing for this little one!
    LOVE your honesty as always:)