Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bethany's 1st Scorpion sting!

Today I was washing some clothes by hand and all of a sudden felt like I'd been stung by something -I thought a bee. So when I looked through the article of clothing I was washing I found a scorpion. It took a minute for me to realize that I had just been stung by a scorpion. Let me just say, it was pretty anti-climactic. :)

It was mid-morning so Eli was up in the office. I thought it would be good to let him know I'd been stung because I'd never experienced it before and didn't know how I'd react. He and Claire were working on a project together so of course Nurse Claire wanted to help too. She retrieved her special electric zapper from her house and brought it over.

In the picture above you can see the zapper contraption. Don't ask me how it works except that you use the electricity from 4 D batteries and use the electric shock to neutralize the poison. We've used it on other people for scorpion stings and snake bites and it's been very helpful. Unfortunately the only set of batteries we have on this whole campus were dead so we had to move to Plan B.

Plan B was to go next door to FAR organization and ask them for D batteries. Then we realized they were out on a day trip to a village. Moving on to Plan C. I decided to look up online what to do. Meanwhile I could feel the poison/pain moving up my hand and up my arm all the way to my arm pit. It was the strangest sensation. Suddenly I remembered something the Donker family had left behind in their medical stuff - a little box called Aspivenin. I pulled it out, read the instructions and proceeded to try it.

Here I am hooked up to the aspivenin which works like a strong suction to pull out the poison through the skin. We were skeptical at first but it worked! We did it 3 different times, leaving the suction on for about 2-3 minutes each time and each time we took the suction off, there was moisture in the cup - which we're thinking/hoping was the scorpion's poison. The suction gave me a nice bubble pictured below.

All in all, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd always imagined a scorpion sting would be. I was just so grateful it hadn't been one of the boys who got stung. Only 4 hours later, my finger felt like I'd just burned it, no big deal. Soooo thankful that God was by my side through the whole experience. I think he lessened the pain for me. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ladies Health Class

Every Tuesday afternoon Nurse Claire teaches a health lesson for the ladies on campus. This week's class was on broken bokes and sprains so I went, seeing as I'm a mother of 3 boys.

The women were very attentive and Claire was careful to explain about different types of breaks using twig branches for visual aids - very effective!

Then Claire showed us how to tie slings...

and how to tie bandages and put splints on broken arms or legs.

The ladies all had fun but also learned some very practical things which might come in handy some day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A "taste" of our lives in South Sudan...

This is a typical Sunday afternoon in Melut. In the heat of the day, ladies gather in the shade to visit and drink coffee and tea. The ladies take turns hosting it at their homes. I so enjoy these special women God has brought to GTC.

Miriam roasted the coffee beans

Mary was our host yesterday and she roasted fresh maize from her garden

Viola served the tea

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mud issues

My friend Elizabeth sure was right when she told me that September is the month for thunder rainstorms. We have had some pretty spectacular rains which are incredible to watch, especially at night, with the lightning flashing, one after the other. But the next day, we are saddened when we see the results of the heavy rains.

Here on campus,  many students were out digging trenches in the rain in the night, to keep their homes from flooding. Unfortunately this family wasn't so successful since they seem to have an underground water spring that flooded not only their yard but both of their huts. The next day, all of the women on campus gathered together to help bail buckets of water out of their yard and pull all the mud out of their homes.
    After almost 2 hours of solid work, it was hard to see much of a difference. I felt disheartened, unable to imagine what it would be life if that was MY home. Thankfully we have an extra house on campus that was empty so the student and his family at least have a safe and dry place to live until their wet home dries up.
     I have heard many other stories of flooded homes around Melut area. The day after the rain I went to market and most of the little village center was submersed in water. I had to check my bags of sugar carefully when I bought them because rain had leaked through the shop roof and most of the shopkeeper's goods got wet.
     Thankfully the ground absorbs the water quickly here and things are already drying up but please pray that we won't have any more destructive storms and pray that sickness won't spread during this time (due to more mosquitoes and flooding toilets!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Isaac wasn't hearing well

For the past month we've noticed that Isaac has trouble hearing well. I was starting to feel guity because I had to yell at him in order for him to hear me. Then last week he started complaining that one of his ears hurt. He didn't have any other symptoms of infection like fever so I was flushing his ears out trying to get the extra wax out.
Claire, our team nurse also came over to check on him and after some of the wax came out we realized we could see something black in his ear - a fly? After several prayers and a nice flush of his ear. a large mass came out! See picture below:

We're still not sure what exactly it was but at least he can hear better now and his ear is on the mend. After experiences like this I can only laugh and say: NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN MELUT, SUDAN!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Baby born in a cornfield....for real!!!

As I walked home from a most incredible birthing experience this afternoon, I felt the same awe and thankfulness I felt exactly four years ago. Four years ago I witnessed my friend Martha giving birth to her 7th child in our village of Yabus. She was silent, strong, and it was the fastest labor I'd ever seen! Today I got to be present for Baby #8! This same beautiful friend from Yabus, Martha, now lives here in Melut since her husband is a student in the Bible College. Let me tell you the whole story...

The "doulas"
Just as we finished our lunch after church today, Martha's son Jeremiah came and knocked on our door saying his Mama wanted to have her baby. I quickly ran over to her house to check on her. Miriam, another Uduk lady and good friend of Martha's pointed out to the garden and told me Martha was out there. "OK", I thought. "This is interesting." There she was squatting in the dirt over a mat, small tarp, and a sheet. I went over to see how she was doing and ask what I could do. She asked me to get Claire, my teammate, who is a nurse. I ran over to Claire's and while gasping for air announced, "A baby is on the the corn fields!!" Claire already had her birthing bag ready to go so we both dashed back over to Martha's garden.
     Today was definitely a hot, humid day and Martha said her four year old daughter had been crying because she was worried about her mama, seeing her in all that pain. So Martha decided to go behind the house in the garden to have her baby. I had to pinch myself that this was really happening. Claire and I squatted down in the dirt next to Martha as she pushed through contractions. Contractions were coming less than a minute apart. Claire started pulling all the instruments out of her bag and getting ready and was warning Martha not to push unless she truly felt the urge. Claire wasn't sure if Martha was very far dilated yet.
       Just as Claire was fumbling to get her gloves on (difficult with the heat and sweat) all of a sudden we looked down and Martha's baby had slid right out!!!! We were in total shock but Claire is amazing and so experienced and knew just what to do, sunctioning out his mouth, wiping off his body, and clamping his umbilical cord. All I could do was squat there in the dirt and cry for joy at this miracle birthed in the corn field!!! Amazing! Once the cord was cut, Martha asked me to wrap the baby and carry him inside. She stayed in the garden for the "rest" of the process.
        I carefully weaved myself through the corn and pumpkin plants and into their house. After gingerly sitting down on the bed, I examined the little guy from head to foot, being very careful to make sure he was still breathing air. I felt so responsible. Suddenly he started opening his eyes and I began talking to him quietly, introducing myself as his auntie and welcoming him to the world. It was such a very precious moment, realizing I was the first to be honored to hold him and the first face he looked at! I called his sisters in who had all been very worried for their mother and introduced them to their new little brother. They were all enamored.
     After finishing the rest of her delivery, Miriam helped bathe Martha and brought her into the house to join her baby. Several neighbor ladies must have heard the news and came to congratulate the mother and make sure she and baby were ok. We all exclaimed how strong and brave Martha was and recounted the story several times. Sweat was dripping down our faces so I rushed home and fixed a big pitcher of juice and we all drank some cold juice to celebrate the smooth, safe delivery of our newest GTC resident. :)
     God is amazing. He was so evidently there with us in the corn field as this very precious life came into the world! In the States we're so worried about the hospital and doctor or midwife we'll have, and here she was content to go squat in her garden!!!! What a miracle!

Monday, September 03, 2012

A Special Sunday

Most Sundays we attend a church in close walking distance from our house. But the first Sunday of every month, the Presbyterian church in town has a Unity Service when all the different tribes come together in one service to worship and fellowship together. Sunday morning we loaded up the quad bike to head to church.

Pastor Gabriel (waving) is a student at Gideon Theological College

This is not even half of how many people were stuffed in the church building.

The final touch to a great morning was eating "out" at a local canteen. This one we affectionately call McD's. Our other favorite we call Wendy's. :)