Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Our Dear Kadiatu

Sadly, one of our dear friends from Mercy Ships was buried today.

Kadiatu was a lovely lady and will be sorely missed.
She diligently sewed all the african outfits for our fistula ladies to go home in once their surgery was successful.
But her little sewing room also was a favorite meeting room of both national and international staff to pause for a quick chat, laugh, pray or catch up.

Her funeral was very long and very African, and I actually found myself very sad, for a few reasons.

Remebering all Kadi's favorite songs when she led devotions (she had a great voice), like 'I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart' and 'Because He lives, I can face tomorrow..... Becasue He lives all fear is gone.'

Listening and watching Kadi's husband Felix manage himself in this difficult time. He not only lost Kadi, but also their first baby. Still he is able to put all his hope in Jesus and still praising God for Kadi's life.

But also found myself pondering on the shocking state of the health care in this country. It really hits home when it's a friend who has suffered this injustice. Kadi and her baby would probably not have died had she been in the UK. Despite being in the goverenment hospital here - was everything done? Could better pregnancy care have prevented the problem? Better surgical facilities? Better trained Doctors? Better equipment?

Why? We can ask again, and again, but as Felix reminded us only God knows.
But we do know that Kadi is now in heaven with our Loving Father. So we look back with saddness and joy at her life.

It was said at the funeral, that Kadi was a lady of Christ. Throughout her life she showed ALL the fruits of the Spirit - Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, gentleness and self control. This was certainly true.
Life is so fragile and so precious.
We need to make sure we are living daily in the best way we can -following Jesus.

Please pray with me for those left grieving for her, particually Felix and Kadi's one remaining sister.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


See I can bake bread!!
I've just about had as many good ones as disasters now!!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Day on the road....

We had a great session with Junior Minkilu today.
He's lovely to work with, very clever and determined with it.
Using the shade of a mango tree we try to get out of the sun a bit, although did managed to redden my shoulders today.
We've been having fun with some new equipment that has recently arrived in a container (thanks Gill)

Amoungst many other kids (Osman, Mamasu, Marion, John, Amos) we also found out that Umaru, the boy with 'elephantitus' in his feet (I've written about him before), has moved to Mali! Was a bit sad that he's gone, but pray that he will be better looked after, cared for and loved there with his father and brothers and sister.

Then Praise the Lord, Baby John, who had a nasty septic arthritus of his shoulder when I first bumped into him as we went through the community, who then had surgery, then ongoing treatment with Abu and I, is now well and moving his shoulder freely with full strength back. And his mum who had had an eye infection for 2 months, after using a saline solution to bathe it 2 x daily as I sugggested, has also had a full recovery. No more oozing and ithching. The simple answers hey!

Later on in the day, I had one of those funny 'only in africa' moments, having a conversation (a serious one at that) with a man under a washing line full of white Y fronts. They were full grown mens ones, but as they flapped in the wind, sparkling clean and white, it took all i had to keep the giggles in and hold a straight face!! was hilarious!!

The brakes failing 3 times (but not always) on my car on the way home through the mountains was not so hilarious. Certainly kept the adrenaline pumping. Back to the mechanic tomorrow then - really, just another major thing not at all linked to the other recent probs. Why it's all going wrong at once I dont know!!

Hope your days are full of adventure and fun too?

Sunday, 6 April 2008


I've been having a great time making bread.

Very good friends Dr Elmer (who took my appendix out here in SL back in 04) and Angelica his wife, left to work in Solomon Islands (what a reward after 7 years in SL!). As a parting gift they left me their breadmaker.

Obviously you have to have a constant supply of power for while it cooks. No problem from the likes of UK or USA where they are used a lot.

However....after 2 very successful attempts of solid tasty fresh bread.....
came a bit of a disaster!

the power went off just as it started. Yeast already in there was nothing I could do to save it!! When the power returned it continued, but despite looking at it hafl way through thinking, uummm thats looking a bit big, I closed the lid saying to my housemate - oh well, i'm just going to pretend I never saw it and see what happens.....

well this is what happens!! Rasin bread perfectos!

Still we enjoyed eating all the scrappy bits - they were delicious with a hot chocolate, and the solid bit toasts well (again only if we have power) for breakfast.
I'll try again when I judge and take a wild guess at whether the power will stay on for a full 2 1/2 hours needed to complete and have it steady and not too low in output. Not much to ask hey??
Oh and I have a friend with a picture of one of the good loaves - when I get it from her I WILL post it here so you can see my sucess as well as my disasters.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Ginger lives on!

I wrote about our 3 beautiful kittens not long ago

unfortunately 2 have decided to take a jump off the balcony :o(

we keep them up there as the guard dog Frodo (although more of a crazy dog, but people stay away either way!) has been know to enjoy a tasty kitty dinner before now, not sure the nationals are any better - they also like to eat cat so I hear (although not kitten and it's not a favorite therefore not common either)

HOWEVER... good old GINGER kit lives on and has even learnt to use the ladder. Did I not always say gingers as the BEST!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

March's Newsletter

Dear friends,
I'm sorry this is a little late to get out to you, so much is going on here and despite it being cold in most places that you, my supporters, are reading this, here I'm finding the heat exhausting!!
This month Easter has been and gone. But my thoughts continue on about what an inspiring, sad and hope-giving event Easter really is. Again and again I hear stories of how awful and cruel one human-being can be to another. Hurting, punishing, cheating, betraying, killing even. Just this morning I heard of a 9 year old girl that was killed by an adult in one of the communities I work in called Dworsak. The child had apparently been repeatedly naughty and the man (who people say is a witch) killed her in a way too disgusting for me to repeat here. Evidence of more tragedy that continues here even after the sufferings of a brutal war. I still find it hard to imagine anyone beating and torturing another human being as the people around Jesus did to Him. Then mercilessly crucified on a cross. How does one human being do such wrong to another. We did it to Him, to Jesus, but He did it for me – and for you, to give us freedom from our sins. But why do human beings continue to hurt each other so much?
The families I'm working with continue to be a frustration and a joy. The kids smile on and these treasured lives are seeing a glimmer of the hope – the love of Christ. It is encouraging to see and hear the families surprised that we have continued to visit after nearly a year for some. The practical demonstration of our commitment and patience with their children, gives them a living example that Jesus never tires with us, never leaves us or forgets about us.
Abu and Mina are both progressing well. I'm trying to get them to be more independent with their treatment sessions. I think they were a little shocked when with certain patients I suggested that they would be leading the whole treatment session. Supervising from the sidelines I try to only add in when really necessary – a hard task for me who likes to be in control and find it hard to keep my mouth shut!! However I'm hoping that when I go on leave in the summer that they will continue to visit the families on their own, to treat, to review equipment and to encourage and support the families. In order to do this I need to be happy that they are practising safely and do not let standards drop. SO, we have started more formal training days. We've certainly had fun, but their understanding of body parts started at 'hand' describing the whole arm, and 'foot' describing the whole leg, as this is how it is in the Crio language. Ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow and shoulder have become 'new' words to their vocabulary!! But we continue to learn about positioning, stretches to prevent contractures, high and low muscle tone and what to do about it, and of course how to facilitate FUN in PLAY – concepts that are somewhat alien in both their own upbringings and in general childhood in Sierra Leone. I heard of this old African Proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” It perfectly describes my working with Abu and Mina; I could work much quicker and professionally alone, but with them the kids will get better care for longer, I have help in understanding cultural situations, Abu and Mina are learning skills that will help them and others for the rest of their lives and I'm much safer wandering these communities with them. It is also giving me a real opportunity to minister in their lives too. Life is not easy for anyone here. They have both had major difficulties even in the last month and being able to listen, talk and pray with them is also a joy. I thank the Lord for their faithfulness to me, these kids and to our Lord.
I've been trying to get a more regular working plan, visiting certain communities once a month to get everyone in. However the continued increase in numbers, the acuteness of some patients needing to be seen more often and the 'you never know what is going to happen today' fact of living and working in Africa, makes it hard to stick to the plan sometimes.
These kids are in a beautiful place called Lakka, out from the west side of Freetown, which is right on the sea front, if you can see the white wall in the beach photo, thats right where i work! And Goderich where there is an orphanage I visit as well as a home visit to Amidu pictured above with Abu. But other communities are on the east side (and are generally much poorer). Rokel-Sima Town, Mabureh Junction, Wellington, Calaba Town. Unfortunately the 'best' or should I say most traffic-free route to that side is through the jungle and mountains. It's a beautiful road, but the road is very bad and taking it's toll on my car. Poor Bertie keeps having to spend the weekend with Abu (my good friend from long ago who many of you have met, (who is NOT the same person as Abu my assistant!) who is a wonderful mechanic). Bertie has recently had a new wheel plate connecting to axle, clutch, oil change, battery, starter motor, and no surprise new shock absorbers!! Not to mention the flat tyre too!!! I'm miserable about what keeps going wrong and how much it is costing, but I thank God for Abu who does all the work in his free time and does not charge me any labour. Without him, another mechanic is sure to rip off an innocent white girl who knows very little about cars. Abu is such a support to me here in so many ways, pray for his blessing in return.
Success continues with Allusan the carpenter. This is Momoh, who although appears to be very disgruntled when we were trying to fit and adjust his new chair......when we finally finished he was chuffed as!!
For those of you who pray, please join me in these areas:
- Thank God for the on-going support of Abu (my good friend+mechanic)
- Thank God for provision of finances before the time of really needing it
- Abu and Mina, for ongoing learning and commitment
- All our treasured children and families to experience the love and blessing of God.
- This month I need to sort out my WORK / LIVING PERMITS for the next year
- Future direction - someone to share work with, local support, linking organisations
- Continued safety and protection and good
“Those who sow in tears
shall reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6


With Love Vez