Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Togo! I wear scrubs now... ;-)

We are here! We are now docked in Lome, Togo. We've been here for about two weeks now. I already love it. The feel here is lighter than in Benin. I don't know that I noticed it as much when we were there, but now being here, It seems like there was just a more oppressive feel there. Anyway things are going great, and the hospital is about to start their first day of surgery on Thursday. Because of elections here about to happen here on the 28th, we've had to do our screening differently than normal. They have set up various locations where people come to be screened as potential patients.
I have officially started in my position as dental sterilizer! The first few days here we couldn't do anything because of procedures and all. Then the first monday we went out to the clinic for the first time, to start setting up. It was SOO exciting. Yesterday was our first day of screening for patients. It went really well. And now today was our first day of actually seeing patients, and my first official day of sterilizing. :) It went well. Gado, my assistant, a day volunteer from Togo, is great and we have a lot of fun together. She is a fast learner and we're learning together. ;-D
Here are some pictures. I'll tell about other stories in the picture descriptions...
So the first day Gini, our Dental coordinator went out to see the clinic with Dag, our Team leader and head dentist, They just got done talking about how they would need benches for the patients to sit on while they wait to be seen; a minute later they saw a man walking by carrying two benches! They stopped him and asked if he could make 15 benches for us just like the ones he had. He took the order right then, and here is a picture of our lovely benches now! Isn't it amazing how God provides!
Bugs...there are quite a few of them running around our clinic, especially in the bathrooms. Yuck!
So I am now a ship driver. Type of vehicle: Land Rover, Manual. My first time driving in Africa (and for about 8 months period!) This is pretty much what I drove... except mine was not a truck bed. The back was filled to the roof, and I had about 15 chairs strapped to the rack up top, and 4 passangers. It went surprisingly well! Haha :-D
What? I was just focused....And just SLightly nervous. But I used it constructively! ;-p Nobody died. It's actually kinda fun dodging potholes and motorcycles and squeezing past big trucks. No way to fall asleep! That's for sure. And every trip to work is like an obstacle course! It's great!
I think I'll be bored when I go back to driving in the states. ;-p lol
So we had to get the generators and compressors up to the 3rd floor...generator number 1...of 4!
compressor number 1 of 2. Man those things are heavy!!!
Team on the second floor where the pully was rigged. We got them up that far and then the guys carried them up the stairs inside to the 3rd floor. Don't know how they did it. (there was nowhere to rig the pully on the 3rd floor.)
Lunch time! yay!
I was so thankful to have Rosean the previous Sterilizer come one day to help me set up my room!
That's where we eat lunch...and leave our stuff.
Excitement! Everything is ready!
This is my sterilization room! Isn't it beautiful!

Screening on Monday. The security guard told us people started coming at 2:00 in the morning! We ended up screening about 300 people. We screen every Monday and Thursday. We check to see who is the worst and give them an appointment card for a certain day. When we run out of appointment slots, they can come back for the next screening day. We try to see about 50 people per day.

It's been good so far, I'm excited for the rest of the time. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Catching Up

Hi everyone! I'm sorry it's been quite a while since I've blogged. Now I'm gonna try to catch you up on the highlights. As of right now, I am rocking back and forth in my stationary chair. We are sailing! And we've hit the rough water right off the bat this time. Thankfully I've been able to keep all my cookies inside me. :) There have been quite a few people who haven't dealt with the movement so well. As we are just beginning the sail, there hasn't been to many eventful happenings yet to speak of. I'll try to keep you updated if there are later on.
So the past six weeks, we have been docked in Santa Cruz, Tenerife in the Canary Islands. In this time the crew has enjoyed some rest and recuperation. Also the ship has undergone some repairs, refitting, cleaning, and inspection. During this time I had the opportunity to volunteer in the engine room cleaning oil tanks! It's a dirty job, but our team had a blast! We broke out with dance party's and singing worship songs randomly throughout the days and pretended our huge ear muffs were head phones, rockin out to the music in our heads. :-p So all the tanks were cleaned and we hoped they were ready for inspection. Everyone was so excited when we passed! The inspector told some of the engineers, "That is the first time I've ever had to chase women out of the tanks to inspect them." Everyone was surprised when a good number, if not the majority of the volunteers for this long dirty job, turned out to be women. :) This experience was one of my highlights.

Also in Tenerife I had the opportunity to do some hiking. Me and a group of friends were able to summit mount Teide, apparently the 3rd highest volcano in the world. We hiked 37,000 meters. It took us a total of 7 hours to hike up and down. We could smell and see the sulfer, as well as feel the heat of the volcano at the top. Also me and my friend Becca went out on our own little adventure one day and made our own way up a very small mountain, (Coloradans would call it a big hill ;-p) but that was fun as it was more climbing than hiking. I much prefer that to walking a pre-made path with few obstacles. :) We also got to enjoy a couple days at a beach, which gave me a little taste of home, making me realize how much I miss my Florida beaches and just chillin, taking in the peaceful beauty of God's creation. It just makes me happy :-D

Lastly, God has really been drawing me closer to himself throughout our time in Tenerife. I had begun to pray that he would help me to know him more and in turn love him more. I'm not satisfied to know about Him, I really want to know who my God is, his heart, his character, how he feels about me; I want to know his voice and enjoy spending time with him as I do with a close friend or family member, to the point that I miss Him if I'm away from Him. So God began to feed that hunger in me and my times with him became more enjoyable, and I felt his little nudges, telling me he loved me, missed me and wanted to spend time with me. I started doing things with him that I simply enjoyed, playing music, singing, reading books I enjoyed, and He spoke to me through those things. It's all still a work in progress, but I feel I've experienced an extra sweetness in our relationship lately which drives me to a strong desire to seek him more. I've just realized a little more how deeply he loves me and how desperately He desires me to love him back and try to match him in it (though he knows I never can). He wants us to enjoy spending time together, and He Absolutely Loves revealing more of himself to me. He just has to wait until I will notice him, give him my open heart and the time to Woo me. God is so much more personal than I will ever be able to grasp; its an endless depth of meaning and perfect relationship, that he is constantly inviting me to dive into as deeply, and with as much vulnerability, abandon and desire as I will through my life. And he is hoping against hope that I will dive with everything in me because he knows the wonder of all he has to reveal.

Tank Cleaning!!
They say Oil is good for the skin ;-p (that outfit used to be white by the way)

So this what the entrances to the tanks look like. Lot's of fun to climb through. :) this is my Dutch friend Johan. If you need some laughs just hang around with him :-p
starting from top left: Dag(Norwegian), Laura, Becca (Both USA), Johan (Dutch), Me(USA).
We are completely normal, this was just an off day... ok so maybe thats not 100% true... lol ;-p
I can't tell if this is me or not
Inside the largest tank
Dumping the sludge
Waiting for more sludge to dump
Team Photo! Eunike (German), Siah (Liberian), Abraham (Ghanain), Me (US), Dag (Norwegian), Laura (US), Johan(Dutch).
Tired, Dirty, and Happy!Mountain climbing adventure with Becca! :) view from the top.
It was so much fun climbin over these big rocks. We found a bunch of little caves too! I think this was another opening out of one i'd found below me. :-p
Mount Teide
At the check point 500 meters from the top.
I've conquered!
The last stretch to the top

Bike trip to the beach! So fun! I love these girls :) (From left: Haley, Kelly-my new roomy, I did my gateway training with her though, so she's not a new friend. then me :)