Friday, 21 December 2007

So it's Christmas!!

News from December 07
Vez’s Adventures in Sierra Leone

So it's Christmas!

We've had some fun over here singing carols in SL even though it totally doesn't feel like Christmas. It's still very hot, sunny, and sitting on the beach enjoying a dip in the warm sea isn't what I normally do the week before 25th December!
But the celebration of our Saviour's birth is still an important event for Christians all around the world.

I've managed to see all my patients one last time in the 3 weeks leading up to when I leave for UK for a holiday. It has been very busy, but also a joy to see so many of them doing so well.
Mohammed is starting to sit by himself. Baby Hawanatu has had further surgery on her club foot. Emmanuel is now walking alone. Minkalu can walk holding on. Ali is enjoying playing in his corner seat. Ola still smiles being around other people who love him. Amara is learning to move around by himself in his wheelchair on the ramps and bridges we made outside his house. Jeneba got new crutches. Santigie learnt how to do his own stretches on his hemiplegic arm.

All my little treasures are doing so well. Isn't God good?!

And still more new patients are being referred. I met a 3 year old girl Zainab who has Diplegic Cerebral Palsy. I look forward to working more with her next year, she looks like a beautiful sparkle waiting to get out. And baby Amos who was born with a foot deformity. Hawanatu who had TB of the Spine and is now partly paralysed in the legs. I have fun with them all!

At the beginning of this month I also helped out with a team that came from CMS (Church Mission Society) and the Big Intent Theatre Company. They came to do a schools programme that has travelled throughout the UK, on the slave trade abolition. Sierra Leone played a big part in the Slave trade, and it was a joy and a privilege to be involved in helping kids in schools here understand their history and their freedom now. The team was lovely and it was refreshing to spend time with so many English people! However my Crio speaking was really put to the test standing in front of a few 100 children and staff in the town of Bo, telling them the reasons behind the programme, how the day was going to work and helping to organise the children who were going to have speaking parts in the performance at the end of the day. Chaos always leads to smiles!

So since it is Christmas, I decided I wanted to do a bit of a party for one of the Orphanages I work in, Micheal's home actually. So I managed to rope in some friends from Mercy Ships, Sandra and Luzanne and with the help of many donated items we had a great time. Thank you all donors to MercyShips and my own work, your gifts are being well used!

After church we headed through the mountains to reach the orphanage and although a little early were warmly welcomed. WARM being the word – it was boiling! We started with a bit of colouring then decided we wanted to get even more sweaty so outside for games. Luzanne re-lived her childhood and we played egg and spoon and sack races, as well as balloons between the elbows and balls over the head and under the legs. The Greens won, but we all had lots of fun!!

After recovering we spent some time talking about why we celebrate Christmas and why birth of Jesus was a gift from God to us. Then the moment came when the kids shone like stars. One by one we called them up to receive their present. Off came the bows as they delved into the bags to see what they had got. It made me smile to see them carefully unfold the shirts, dresses and tops they each got, then counting all their sweets, trying to work out how the pencil sharpener worked, and frantically trying to draw on their sweaty hands with the big new pens to make sure they worked.

Huge bowls of food were gulped down by all, with the smallest of children eating a pile of rice and cassava sauce bigger than their own belly – I really don't know where they put it – incredible!! Then the soft drinks were handed round while we settled down to watch the film IceAge on my laptop. Some loved the film, though maybe puzzled by all the ice, while others unpacked thier gifts to have another look, repacked then, then unpacked them again, treasuring each moment as if opening it again for the first time!!

I really enjoyed the time we spent there that afternoon, and would swap all the superficial glitz and glamour of the Christmas season back in UK any day, to be sharing with those that really appreciate being given a gift – whatever it is.

Jesus truly is a gift to us. He brings life, light and hope to any situation, whether in need or in plenty. I am humbled by Jesus' life, and long to be more like Him.

“conformed to the likeness of his Son” Romans 8: 29

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinth 4 : 18

Have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family. Enjoy, share, love and laugh together as we celebrate the gift of Jesus to this world.

Hope to see some of you over the time I'm home in the UK, but I know 2 and ½ weeks will just fly by so if I don't get to you please don't be offended......

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaa, la la la la!

Lots of love and hugs

x x x

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