Monday, June 30, 2008

Joyous Sorrow

I feel like so much has happened since I last wrote, but no worries, I will try to keep this short.

So, to add to the list of "unlikely friends" we have, which currently include Leaders, talibe boys, and old, prominant muslim men, we have befriended a witch doctor. Her name is Jara, and we met her on the road, as we walked past her house often, and we always greeted her. She was always asking for us to come by for attaya*, and so, this last week, we obliged her. Upon arriving, she did not heasitate to tell us of how she heals people with charms and spells, and proceeded to tell our futures with a specific kind of shells she had. But, in case we still had any doubt in our minds, she clearly stated that, while we were western doctors, she was a "senegalese doctor". And so, we drank attaya, talked, recieved gifts, and even got to speak for her stomach which she is having medical issues with! Please be speaking for her as we continue our relationship with her, as the spiritual realm is very real here, and the term "witch doctor" is not loosely thrown around. Also, be speaking for our friends staying in a nearby village as several of them have experienced spiritual problems with people in their families or households.

We have been getting very close to the mom of our family. The other day, she told us of how dissatisfied she is with her life and how she feels that she has no purpose, no hope in life. Though it was heartbreaking to hear, it was a good sign and open door to the One who can bring hope and purpose to life. She took us, last night, to Colobane, a suburb of Dakar, where she is from to meet her family. It was so much fun to see her huge family and meet so many of her friends. She seemed so happy there and her personality really shone through. The trip was only about 5 short hours, but it was great, even if we did break down on the side of the road on the way home and have to walk the rest of the way. We feel so close to her now, I can tell her anything (granted I know the words in wolof or can sharade them) and we are really speaking for the conversation to open up again to share with her more about the Hope that we have. This is me and her below.

We have been continuing our work with "D" and his arabic school, and have been asked now to go to a friend of his's house to take care of his foot. He has diabetes and has bad ulcers on his feet. Be praying for him. Also, we were stopped on the way home from the arabic school the other day to take care of a little boy who has very bad scabies**. We speak for him in wolof, so be speaking for his healing and that it would be obvious that it comes from Him.

Today, I helped deliver a baby, much to the dismay of my roommates who have been dying to see one. It was a boy, however, it seems apparent that he has a birth defect, so be speaking for his family.

Our relationship with the talibe house that we work with has become strained so be speaking for that relationship as well. Though many of these things have been encouraging, fun, and exciting to share with others, it is also heartbreaking at the same time. The darkness that surrounds the people I love seems to become more and more apparent every day I'm here. As my love for them grows, so does the burden on my heart for these people so lost in hopelessness, fear, and superstition. Please speak for those held captive by the dark culture surrounding them.

Other than that, all is going well, still working at the clinic, playing with the kids, hanging out with our family, and fadjing*** kids all over the place. My roommate, Mariama M is leaving this Saturday night for a school thing, so be speaking for her safe travel. Thank you all for your support and speaking!! I will see you in 3 short weeks!

So, we gave the kids in our house star sunglasses and paddle balls, which soon became weapons, but started out super cute.

Some of the kids in my house.

Me "fadjing" at our house.

*attaya is a friendship tea. It is very hot and served in three rounds in a shot glass. The tea symbolizes friendship as it starts off very bitter and gets super sweet by the end, just as friendship gets sweeter with time. (I am not a huge fan, in case you were wondering)
**scabies is a skin disease caused by small bugs that live under your skin. It comes from sleeping in the dirt and not bathing often. Small kids scratch at them, causing tons of painful sores all over their bodies.
***fadjing- from the wolof word "fadj" which means to heal, we just add the American "ing" onto the end when we talk about it with eachother. Its what people say we do, meaning that we give meds and bandage wounds basically.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Half Way Point

We've reached the half way point of our summer in Senegal. He has been faithful this week in giving us small encouragements and uplifting days amidst a semi-frustrating week. We have been without power or water (for most of the day) for a little over a week now. And, after days of sitting around, having slow days at the clinic, fighting off illnesses, making cultural mistakes with our family, and dealing with other unforseen issues, I had begun to grow weary. However, we were blessed to have a very uplifting conversation with our Imam friend about his dreams and visions, as well as accomplishing a few strides in friendships and trust with friends we had made.

And, though these things have been encouraging, I think that the most came from this past getaway weekend, from which I am just returning now. We had lots of fun, as always, hanging out at the pool, going to the beack, speaking english, going on safari, but there was so much more. We found ourselves encouraged to go on. I for one, heard a call to be so much more than I had thought I could ever be. And, I feel that all three of us will walk back into our house today with a renewed sense of meaning in the everyday things that we do. Meaning in every smile we share, in every hour we spend cooking with African Momma, in every blood pressure we take, every malaria test we run, every cut we bandage, and every child we hold, knowing that, though we love to use our words when we can, the realities of the world we're living in require the wordless testimony first and foremost, and that light shines through us that way.

And so, we may be half way done for this summer, but every minute we spend, may last a lifetime, even eternally, for those we spend it with. Please continue to speak with us:

  1. For our spirits to remain uplifted, taking joy in our struggles and hardships, and rejoicing in the comfort we receive from them.
  2. For our health, and our team's, as several of us have battled or are battling intestinal bugs.
  3. For our family as we focus our time and love towards them.
  4. For friends at the clinic; words to say when we have hours to sit and talk and patience when we must do things that go against our instincts.
  5. "D", our Leader friend who is truely seeking.
  6. For the F4Fers of my village's feelings of safety and security.
  7. The talibe house we work with, that they would see His love though it is illegal for us to proclaim it with words.

The girls from my and nearby villages in our African outfits at meeting on sunday
(don't get too excited, it's an international meeting and there are no senegalese people there, mostly people from other parts of Africa.)

Me and Billie, one of the little boys in our house, who loves to spend time with us.
(and he talks about you too, momma!)

Me, African Momma, and little sister, the last to finish dinner... I think I'm confused as to why my roommate popped up out of nowhere with a camera...

There's no real maternity leave in Senegal, so this is me and Mariama M with one of the nurse's new baby, Naffi.

Our safari car, and me preoccupied with my camera...

Me and Khady with 2 giraffs in the background!!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


For those of you who are checking the newest post, just to add, please speak for "D". He is the Leader who has had dreams of Him. We had a great conversation about the dream with him and are speaking for the draw on his heart as well as continued open doors for us and our other brothers and sisters in our village. Thank you!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mae Muma

There's a little girl who lives on our street. She is 6 years old and is the friend of one of our brothers and sisters here. She has already been sick for most of her life, no one can figure out what is wrong with her. I met her last summer, and she was tiny. She now looks worse than the pictures you see of concentration camp victims. I can see every bone in her body.
Her family had just about given up hope and was going to take her to a witch doctor as a last resort before she died. So our sister decided to ask if she could take her to her doctor the day before and see what could be done. We spoke for her, spoke over her. She has now been admited to a children's hospital here, and is being re hydrated, fed, and they are trying to figure out what is wrong. We are so thankful that the witch doctor has been avoided for now, and are thankful that our sister is getting to spend time with her family and her in the hospital.
please speak for this situation, as it is very taxing on her and her family, as well as our sister here who loves this little girl so much. pray that He would be glorified through this all, and that any improvement is attributed to Him and Him alone.

Since this has been going on, myself and a few other F4Fers have been helping out a lot with a volunteer team that has been here, and they had been such a blessing to us. So, we have been quite busy with them this week, but are now getting back to our normal routine.

We had our first getaway weekend last weekend, which was also my birthday. We went to a ropes course in the baobob trees, swam, went to the beach, ate american food, spoke english, sang together, and celebrated my birthday with cake and ice cream that my roomates made for me (so good!!) It was a great weekend, we all had a really good time.

Other than that, we have been doing our normal things; hanging out with our family, working in the clinic, and working with the talibe and arabic school. Though I dont have any big news in any of these areas, I can say that our relationships with all are growing and going well. We just continue to try an be faithful and obedient in our words and actions that we may show light.

Thank you for speaking! Please, this week include Mae Muma and her family as well as some other F4Fers out in a smaller village who lost one of their friends this week who had been sick for a long time. Speak for them as they visit Fatou's family and pray that He would be glorified. Thank you agian, and Blessings!!

Me and some of the kids that are always all over us.

Me and my roomates in our new afriacan outfits!!!

Our getaway weekend, as I slide to the end of the last zip-line in the ropes course.

Me and Mariama M on the beach at our getaway, wearing... you guessed it...shorts!!!

and finally, some of the girls with our game faces for the ropes course


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some Pix

Just a few pictures for those of you who've been waiting. (sorry, I haven't figured out how to turn them yet...

me and Khady on the flight from JFK to Dakar. They gave us a whole set of fun goodies for the ride :-)

These are my two roommates coloring with a few of the kids in our compound. They LOVE to color!!!

So, if you know me at all, you know i'm not a huge fan of fish, and I can ususally be sneeky here and avoid eating it, but the other day, I was handed this fish after it had been prepared very little beyond killing it and sticking it whole into boiling grease, and i'm proud to say I got it all down with a smile on my face!

and this is me and my roomates in our scrubs and skirts that we wear to the clinic.
(L to R): Khadija, Mariama Mbang, and me (also Mariama, but Mariama Ba)
And thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes, I had a great day will all the americans here and even had some ice cream!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


So, we are all sitting in a circle in our house. My two roommates, a young Senegalese college student who lives in our house, and myself. We are playing Uno. Its night time, we have all had a long day and are pretty tiered, but instead of being kinda quiet and lethargic, we are laughing hysterically about almost anything, calling each other chickens, piling up draw twos on each other, you know, the other extreme of tiredness. We are doing this, being ridiculous girls across language barriers, when the village Leader walks in. (note for those not familiar; when I say "Leader", I mean the like the head of their meetings here, the man in charge, you know, everyone knows him, big deal)
He has come to talk to us about the time we are coming to his school the next day to provide basic medical care for his students. No big deal, no one is in trouble, no anger in his eyes or voice, just a friendly visit. However, we are all immediately silent. The laughter stops. The polite curtsies begin. We all begin to subconsciously make sure our skirts are covering as much of our legs as possible. We wonder, yet again how to address him, should we linger and talk, answer his questions so he can go as he is surely a busy man, invite him to play Leaders play cards?

We are walking down the street and kids run up to greet us. They know us, and we know them. We see them every day, sometimes more, we know some names, and they know all of ours. Every day, the conversation begins the same way, blurred together as if one word; "Bonjour-commo-tu-t'appele?" (French for, "hello, what is your name?") And every day, we respond, in their language, "I dont speak french", and proceed to speak to them in wolof. However, every single day, the same greeting. The same routine... Even some adults, after we greet them in wolof, and we explain that we are from America and don't speak french (okay, a bit of a lie on my part, but we have a purpose in setting ourselves apart from the french people who don't have the best reputation in Senegal) they persist, sometimes almost unconsciously, in this foreign language that none of us can respond in or can understand.

This has made me think of the way we come to our Father sometimes. At the sound of His name we begin immediately to check ourselves, as if a leader has walked in. We respond to Him with formalities and lofty language that we don't mean, don't understand, but feel expected to use.
This has lead me to what people here expect of a higher being. What they are told, what they grow up seeing and hearing. And, the fact that, for so many, this person is not a father, who is comfortable and loving. Someone who will sit and laugh with you. Who will cry with you, hold you. This is someone who needs to be feared when they "walk into a room" when they are encountered 5 times a day...

And, as I ponder all off this, I think of who He really is. I think of who He will be to us if we let Him. I also think of who these people see in me. Will they meet me and continue to assume I'm just any other french person long after Ive walked by? Or will they see something more? Will they see love for those swarms of kids who follow me and sometimes even wait outside my bedroom door for me for hours? Will they see acceptance of the people I live and work with, acceptance and love for them right where they're at? Will they see a servant heart even when no one asks for it, no one appreciates it, no on notices it? Will they be able to forget their french and speak Wolof?

We work in the clinic and are building friendships. We laugh, we sing, we dance, we draw blood, give shots, and run tests in their new "lab". We have talked a little about what we believe, though most already know. Khadija has started and IV on a pregnant woman found passed out in her home.
We work with one talibe house and one Arabic school. Giving band aids, treating fungal infections, cleaning wounds and burns.
We hang out with our family. We cook lunch, we play cards, we give out stickers, we color, we clean.

Most everywhere we go, they know who we are, what we believe. We speak. We speak for them; for visions, for dreams, for hearts to be touched, for our lives to speak for Him, knowing there is no way we can say anything on our own. Though part of me expected everyone to have new questions, be watching soo close, to want more of The Living Word, He is showing me that I am here only to be faithful. To speak, to listen, to wait, to show. And that, is what we are doing. Please speak with us!! Thank you all.

* For those wondering, pictures are coming, we cannot do it at the cybercafe close to us, so we will be going, hopefully soon, to one that has the capabilities, we know where it is now, so keep checking!!!