Saturday, September 21, 2013

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised 
Psalm 113:3

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An update!

We have been settling into Tabuk for the past few weeks. It has proven to be busy, setting up a house! We have slowly been filling our place with necessities (we just got curtains today! I am so thrilled!) and making it more like home. Andrew has been painting (the walls are all a horrible bright green) and fixing this and that. We also have screen on our windows now! I cant even express how amazing that is. We have been fighting the battle of the bugs since we arrived and its not pretty! We are also privileged to have sporadic internet that works for usually 2-3 hours a day! That may sound sarcastic, but trust me, 2-3 hours is luxurious! 
I have been settling into the clinic here, we have been very busy this month, I have assisted 5 birth already! I have been learning so much, but there is much to learn yet! God has been so faithful in calling us here, we are so grateful. The pace of life here is slow, but, with how busy the nature of our ministry is, this is necessary! 
Allow me to share some pictures!

This is our kitchen. It may not be much, but its ours!

Our bedroom. Check out that beautiful green!

Andrew tearing down the wall between our suite and the one next door. We have rented both out, to give us more space.

This is after the wall came down and Andrew painted (5 coats!) of white on the walls! What a difference! 

The view from outside. The door on the left is the suite that we are now renting as well. We use the door on the right as our front door.

The CR (Comfort Room aka toilet) is that door there, with a closet-size room to the right, where we "shower" (aka bucket showers!) 

Andrew, putting his early birthday present to good use. We love our hammock! 

Doing laundry, even with a machine, is a long affair! But we are so grateful for the help of a machine! 

So there you have it, a glimpse into our home! We (and by we, I mean Andrew) are working hard to make it more like home, settling into this place!

So now let me tell you a story, about our adventure this past weekend!

We headed up to Bugnay on saturday morning. Bugnay is only about 70 KMs from Tabuk, but takes about 4.5 hours to get there by bus! I wondered why before hand, but after experiencing the winding roads (sometimes paved, sometimes not!), I understand! We rode top load, meaning we sat on the roof of the bus. 
No, it is not comfortable, you are balanced on the roof rack, which are metal poles, but the view is amazing! You do have to be careful to duck when you pass under power lines, as they are often close enough to take you out! 

Andrew sat at the front of the bus and would yell "DUCK!", which we would immediately obey! It was a bumpy, but thoroughly enjoyable ride. The views from the top of the bus were amazing, so we focused on them, instead of the 200 foot drop right beside us! 

We all were sunburned and exhausted (with sore tailbones!) by the time we arrived at the Clinic, but happy! We hiked across the river to the small village of Bugnay as soon as we could make our legs move! What a beautiful place, truly! 

The hike from the clinic takes about 30 mins to get to Bugnay. We did it, but were sweaty and panting by the time we reached the village. Imagine our chagrin when a 75 year old woman, carrying a 20 kilo bag of rice on her head, did it in half that time, with no sweat and a broad smile across their face. These people are strong and beautiful. Their steps are surefooted, scaling the side of the mountain because, well, this is their mountain. We sat and drank strong sweet coffee with them, asking about their life. The older women have arms covered in dark, wrinkly, tattoos. Some of the older men have large tattoos on their arms as well. We are told this means that they killed someone and got that tattoo to let others know. We learn that this tribe used to be headhunters and the gospel came in the '80's and with it, a complete change of village life. The large tree that once held sacrificed animals and shrunken heads, stands empty, used mostly by the local pigs for shade.  We eagerly go to see it and I am quick to say a prayer, thanking God that His heart is for this people, for this small tribe. I am amazed at their strength and resilience. I watch a young girl, perhaps 12 or 13. She has one baby tied to her back, maybe 8 months old. Another sister, perhaps 2, is holding on around her knees, crying. The sister, tiny for her age, quickly scoops up the 2 year old in her arms, offering comfort. She is taking care of them. I watch as she wipes noses, brings them to the toilet (none of the babies wear diapers, they are all "potty trained" from birth) gives them water to drink or bounces them to help them fall asleep. I watch as she first hauls whole rice, pounds the stalks, sifts them and then washes the rice. This rice will be supper. It has taken her at least 2 hours to prepare the rice, 2 little ones clinging to her. She notices me watching her and sends me quick, shy smiles. 

We laugh with a friends great grandfather. When I ask him how old he is, the wrinkles around his eyes deepen as he concentrates says "Ohh, I don't know. Maybe 92?" He wants to know how old Andrew is and lets out a raspy laugh when he learns that he is 24. "You are still a baby, a little boy!" and is so amused. He loved Andrews beard, saying that it makes him look older. All of the men love Andrews beard. And leg hair. They do not have either and find it fascinating. 
Everywhere we go we are greeted with curious looks and broad smiles. As the sun sets, we make our way back across the river, to the clinic. It seems long, like the steps go on forever. Crystal (the woman who runs the birthing clinic) distracts us with tales of local life. One that stuck out (that she wisely waited to share until we were across the bridge) was how, a couple of months ago, she was crossing the bridge and a part of it broke off, swinging down and almost throwing Crystal into the water. She managed to balance on the middle beam and get back to the side. She went to the village leaders and told them that they need to build a new bridge, to which they agreed. Imagine her surprise when, a month later, upon returning from a quick trip back to the US, the bridge is not new, instead, it has been painted! "We fixed it!" she is told, to which she laughs. We had a good chuckle and made sure, before crossing, to say a prayer and walk quickly! 

The "new" bridge. 

I am truly in awe of this place. It is rugged and rural, you would be hard pressed to find fresh vegetables or fruit, really anything other than rice. There is no internet or cell service, not that anyone misses it. And there is such breathtaking beauty. The people are warm and friendly, quick to invite you in for food or coffee. "Come, lets eat" was the most common thing said to us. Babies were thrust in our arms, chubby, dark-skinned beauties. 
The birth clinic there is run at a slower pace, only a few births a month, and, although the midwife often finds herself suturing machete cuts or giving antibiotics for an infection, she loves it. She is a part of the life there and has been accepted into their tribe. What an honour to work with such a strong people. 
I loved our weekend in Bugnay. I cannot wait to go back!