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“The most important foundation of medicine is love.” -Paracelsus (the father of medical science)

I have two people to thank for the amazing healing that is being accomplished at clinic:

1. God

2. Anamed

It is a truly mind-boggling adventure to see the things that bring healing from what God has provided for us through His creation. I see it on a daily basis as certain grains and plants wipe away malnutrition, malaria, cancer and other conditions that result from a lack of certain vitamins and minerals.

I read in Exodus 15:22-27 about how God purified the water for the Israelites to drink by throwing a tree in to the river (Moringa, was that you?), and in Psalm 51:7, which speaks of the cleansing properties of hyssop (beneficial also for lung conditions, throat infections, wound care and to stop infection), John 19:39-40 mentions aloe (for burns, constipation, cancer, skin irritations), Matthew 2:10-11 on frankincense (dysentery, gonorrhea, fever), Numbers 11:5-6 on garlic (angina, cancer, colds, diabetes, hypertension, worms, infection), Esther 2:12, Matt 2:10-11, Gen 43:11, Song of Solomon 1:13, mentioning myrrh (analgesic, astringent, bronchitis, expectorant, high cholesterol), and the list goes on.

I see the things God has blessed us with and I am seeking out opportunities to use them to bring healing to those I am caring for.

In my herbal studies, I have stumbled upon an organization whose sole purpose is the scientifically seek out natural remedies for those with no access to modern medication. Their standards on allowing EVERYONE the benefits of their research are far above reproach and their love for each person is reflected in their desire to bring health and healing to everyone throughout the world.

And I quote, “In Natural Medicine, we believe that scientific knowledge should belong to everyone, and be just as available as love for the sick, and should not be paid for with money. In this age intellectual property rights are a hotly debated issue. The worldwide exchange of information about God’s pharmacy costs nothing, and helps us all, of whatever rank or status, to become more knowledgeable, and therefore more self-reliant and inter-dependent.” –Natural Medicine in the Tropics 1: Foundation Text. Anamed.

Can I get an ‘amen’ please!

I have purchased a number of their books and one of the herbal remedies I have used is a wound paste made out of 20 parts honey, 10 parts quality vegetable oil, and 3 parts beeswax. I cannot tell you how miraculous this poultice truly is. I started my patient on the paste the second time I saw him and his wound has healed at an incredible rate!

The man was in a motorcycle accident about 3 weeks before I saw him and the wound on his ankle had become infected and opened up all the way to the bone. When I saw him, he had cellulitis and the wound was full of slough (yucky tissue) and very little beefy granulation tissue (needed for healing).

Within four days of daily wound cleansing and application of the poultice, the infection was gone and there was about 50% granulation tissue showing. In a matter of 3 weeks, he has more than tripled the amount of good tissue, the bone is almost covered with new tissue and there continues to be no infection!

Although I do not have the amount of language I would need to fully express how amazing this is, I see the joy in his face as I explain that his wound is healing and he is doing a wonderful job taking care of it.

He has so many amazing friends that bring him to clinic every Tuesday and Saturday (he sits on the seat of a bicycle while his friends push him down the road) and help take care of his wound. They may not realize this, but I love the fact that they are also learning how to take care of wounds properly with resources that are readily available to them!

There is also a woman who sits next to him on the mat, possibly his wife, and cries over him as I treat his wound. The minute I have my translator tell them how wonderful it is, she stops crying and a smile emerges! Beautiful! I can only imagine how hard it might be for them right now if he is the sole breadwinner of the family and has been out of work for months.

There is so much love in this culture! So much love! I wonder if Paracelsus wasn’t right in saying love plays one of the largest roles in healing. They care for one another here in a way that brings healing to the body, mind and soul.

What a blessing it is to be here!

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Anamed.

Local beeswax

Filtering the larvae out of the beeswax (I loath worms)

Larvae up close and personal!

   
  

Melting down the wax in my 'beaker'

Final Product! Honey Poultice!

1st time seeing the wound.

                  

Status Post 2 1/2wks of honey poultice...AMAZING!

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Shaaqanchcha

There are so many things to love about Ethiopia. Would you like to hear about something that I hate?

Let me tell you a little story about Ethiopian flies (also known as uduntia [you-doon-tia]) and why they create raging fires of wrath within my bones.

I’ll begin with American flies: kind of gross things that fly around, land on things, vomit, eat their vomit, make an annoying noise, occasionally land on your pants, all in all not such a big deal flies. They are easily killed with a swatter or sticky paper.

Ethiopian flies: filthy creatures that suck on the snotty-nosed children’s eye boogers, land on the festering wounds I’m cleaning, land on pools of who knows what kind of infected blood, and then LAND ON MY LIP.

I cannot fully explain the depth of anger/disgust that flows within the pits of my soul as fly after fly takes a repulsing route from one filthy thing to the next. The only thoughts in my mind naturally lean toward the millions of diseases that are being passed from one innocent person to the next and all I can do is flail my arms and rear my head like a crazy forenge (white foreigner) each time one lands on my face.

This pretty much paints a beautiful picture of what each day of clinic looks like for me. By the grace of God we do not have any flies in our home, so I have a refuge from this filthy plague (I don’t understand how the plague of flies wasn’t the last straw for the Egyptians…it would have ended the problem for me…Israelites gone).

Should we happen to start having flies in our humble abode, I will be purchasing a large number of shaaqanchchas (chameleons) that live in your house plants and eat your flies all day long. I think God created shaaqanchchas for people like me.

I just had an image of a shaaqanchcha on my shoulder during clinic days. I think it was a revelation.

Praise the Lord for shaaqanchchas!

My best friend.

I Have Arrived!



Ethiopia is absolutely beautiful! This is truly a fantastic place to spend the next year of my life.

In only one week I have seen and learned so much and I cannot wait for what is to come. My first few days in Addis Ababa were spent running errands and breathing in the fog that fills every crevice of your alveoli and turns your boogers a fantastic black. Emission regulation is an unknown phenomenon although there are apparently few problems with asthma and lung troubles. Fascinating.

Sophie and I arrived safely in Soddo to a house full of fleas and lacking both water and electricity. Welcome to Ethiopia! It truly isn’t as bad as it sounds and I find it to be quite a pleasing adventure. Two o’clock in the morning came quite quickly after catching up with Katie, unloading the truck, playing games and eating supper.

Around 1:30am or so, we decided to work on the clogged drain in the shower. Drain-o wasn’t quite cutting whatever was backing up the system so I decided to search out a better solution. I found a silver cap on the floor that looked promising, so I pulled out the broken, rusty screw, lifted up the cap, jumped on the toilet and gagged as stinky brown water came spewing toward me. Ha

So, long story short, I found the clog, removed it with rubber gloves, a wire hanger and pliers, all the while trying not to breath. We felt very accomplished and proud that we had fixed the problem that had been plaguing the house for some time now.

I caulked the cap to the floor (due to the rusty screw not coming out all the way and my lack of desire to break it by trying to get it out) so, with all hopes, we will not need to unclog it again!

I have spent the last few days unpacking, de-fleeing the house, cleaning and learning my way around town. The inconsistent power and water, the purchasing of a generator, and all the other ‘down home farm living’ type things from the 1950’s have brought a smile to my face and made me think, ‘wow, my mom would be real proud!”

We have decided to add chickens to our homestead in the near future. We will benefit from them as well as the prenatal clinic which offers the eggs to mamas so they have more protein in their diets.  We are super pumped for our pets and reading a book entitled Chickens in Your Backyard! (Thank you Micah and Mary for introducing me to raising chickens! Love Love!)

Asamino in a Hug-a-Bub

We also got Asamino back today (he is the precious little baby Sophie has been caring for these past 3 months). We will be working to wean him from formula to solid foods the next months in order to send him back to his father and grandmother in a small village where he will continue to grow and thrive. His mother died during childbirth and Sophie offers this program to allow the child to live and to return to their fathers.

These past few days have brought me so much joy and excitement! I am slowly picking up a little of the language (the basics) and will begin classes in the near future. I cannot wait until I have even a little bit of an idea of what they are saying to me…besides ‘white foreigner’.

One last fun fact is that it is only 2003 here in Ethiopia. I’m not sure the details, but if you want to be 7 years younger, come on over. I’m not super thrilled to be 21 again, but I guess I’ll take it. Cheers!



Clog Removal Caulked Cap

There is nothing so stable as change. -Bob Dylan

Long story…super short…I’m going to Ethiopia for a year!

This Change brings so much joy, excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. I’m pretty giddy at the thought of what this next year has in store for me and I want to give you a few details about what my life will look like.

I am going to work alongside a doctor and nurse (dr. mary and sophie) in a rural clinic delivering medical care to those that cannot afford/are unable to get to the hospital.

I will be focusing on a couple of things:

1. wound care (tropical ulcers, mossy foot, etc.). Google images at your own risk.

2. Herbal medicine for cancer patients, malnutrition, malaria, etc.

I will also be teaching art classes at an orphanage on my time off! I’m not so much a fan of teaching (not because it isn’t important, but because its SO important) but I think I can handle a little artistic education for such beautiful little minds.

Outside of that I will be learning a new language, studying a beautiful, new culture and sucking every ounce of goodness out of each day.

From what I understand, soddo is situated right next to a mountain, with lush foliage and gorgeous landscapes. I’m excited to access some fantastic hiking trails and see a bigger picture of the world God created and has blessed us with.

My excitement seems to collide in a beautiful explosion with my fear and anxiety from time to time and I am reminded of the many tragedies I will experience in my time amongst poverty and injustice. For this I can only glean my strength from god, who promises justice for the oppressed, freedom for the prisoners, care for the orphans, food for the hungry and clothes for the naked.

I am going to work my hardest to join in this fight here and now. Through joy, laughter, tears and pain I will fight alongside them and in the end, with all hopes, come out a person filled with more love, compassion and strength.

So, as so beautifully stated by Bob Dylan, ‘there is nothing so stable as change’, and I’m grateful for the opportunity that this beautiful change will bring.

Sophie and I's House

Dr. Mary and Sophie

‘Terrible is hatred when it starts touching human beings.’

Tonight I am wired like a halogen bulb and can’t bring myself to sleep or even attempt to play its games of taking me away from the moments of this day.

So….lucky you….I am letting my brain run free and empty out beauty that was given me through a soul so unrelentingly focused on Christ that she changed the world through love.

I slowly worked my way through the book, Mother Teresa: Come be my Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta and can honestly say I am better for it. Not by any doing of my own, but simply by a woman so passionate about her love of Christ that she gave everything, even her intimacy and joy of Christ, over in a trust that justice will come.

There were so many things she said and did that flooded my heart with passion and pain, laughter and love, hardship and darkness, all to make it anew in the hope of Christ and His love for each one of us.

I think the purpose statement of The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Charity is an outline of a book full of beautiful sketches that tell a story of love, sacrifice and passion for EVERY person in this world. It is as follows:

To quench the thirst of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls by the observance of the three Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and of an additional fourth Vow to devote themselves with abnegation to the care of the poor and needy who, crushed by want and destitution, live in conditions unworthy of the human dignity. Those who join this Institute, therefore, are resolved to spend themselves unremittingly in seeking out, in towns and villages, even amid squalid surroundings, the poorer, the abandoned, the sick, the infirm, the dying; in taking care of them, rendering help to them, visiting them assiduously and instructing them in the Christian Doctrine, in endeavoring to the utmost to bring about their conversion and sanctification…AND in performing any other similar apostolic works and services, however lowly and mean they may appear.

This book reveals secrets of darkness and abandonment that Mother Teresa pleaded to be kept quiet but, alas, have been published for the world to see. I suppose I could get on a soapbox about how regrettable this is, but then again I am guilty of taking pleasure in its availability.

Through her ministry, Christ’s love was revealed to ‘the least of these’ and she gave such beautiful wisdom as to how this is fulfilled. She stated that, ‘the light you give must be pure, the love you love with must be so burning– the faith you believe with must be so convincing– that in seeing you they really see only Him.

Are we living this way?

She hated injustice and fought to lighten its grip on the world. “Terrible is hatred when it starts touching human beings.” She saw the sanctity of human life and prayed fervently for the love of Christ to reach those disregarded by society.

Her letter to President George Bush and Saddam Hussein pleading against a war that would create the most destruction for the poor who have no means of escape is as equally moving and breathtaking as Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

I could go on for hours about her profound heart but that, in and of itself, would be a disgrace because her entire life on earth was devoted to the veneration of Christ and rejection of herself.

I will end with a challenge to you and me. One that reflects the work of Mother Teresa and so many other beautiful, compassion-filled individuals around the world.

‘And today God keeps on loving the world. He keeps on sending you and me to prove that He loves the world, that He still has compassion for the world. It is we who have to be His love, His compassion in the world of today. But to be able to love we must have faith, for faith in action is love, and love in action is service.’

Amen and Amen.

Current Percentages

I know the area to the right of the screen says I’m still at 25%, but I cannot figure out how to change it.

So, I will just let you know that I am now at

47% of my monthly support

and

100% of my one-time donations!

Hooray!

A Confident Hope

I woke up before the rest of the world that was contained within the walls of the house on the first day of the New Year. My mind was racing and my body freezing, so I made a cup of hot tea and sat gazing out the window with my eyes fixed on the snow-coated creation.

It quickly became a beautiful spiritual experience and I began praying about this next year. I felt a new urge and passion for Kenya and what I will be doing there. I had a desire to really push hard through these next few months and get the support I need to do what my heart has been called to do.

I know Kenya has been a long time coming and continues to be, but I also trust that I am needed there, I have an opportunity to do some good for others and I will be living out the dream that God embedded in my heart.

So, I began writing a list of how my days would be spent, where I would invest my time, and how I could really give of myself as I’m here in the states. (Not a resolution, of course…those are destine for failure…but more of a plan)

Well, as a ‘glass half empty’ type of person would expect, my first day at this newfound agenda left my fingers without nails and my stomach in my toes.

Side Note: I think if there were prizes for nail biting I would win 5 gold stars. If only.

Throughout the morning I came across some things that smashed my sprit to the ground and left my body overflowing with anxiety and fear, which, come to find out, is not at all conducive to productivity.

There seems to be so much to do, so little time and even smaller amounts of hope.

Faith in one’s self and faith in God are two interesting things to nail down and this day was not strengthening either.

I sat myself down and tried to breath, pray, find solace in friends and attempt to convince myself that it’s not that bad. I was reminded of a scripture that I love while reading an email. I love this passage because it speaks of things I long for and delivers a comfort like the touch of an embrace.

I know I want to be in Kenya, I know I want this support raising to move quick and smooth, and I know good things are to come, but I more than that, I know I want to embrace each day, live now and trust that each second is shaping me into a better person. I long to be full of love, compassion, joy and a heart that gives of itself for others without hesitation.

I am blessed beyond measure in my life and would not trade this past year or the year to come. I hope we can all see an overwhelming beauty in the day-to-day experiences of life.

I am anxious to see how these next few months play out and how God is going to work in my life. I love the reality of the hard times and the joy of the good. I love the beauty that comes from the demise and the hope we can have in the goodness of a loving God.

‘I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.’

Romans 15:13