Yesterday, I drove through the mountains for about an hour and out the other side of the jungle, to a place called Sima Town, it's past Yams Farm, and before Devils Hole! But Sima Town is nice itself. We drive as far up the side of the hill as we can then walk the rest to 2 families at the top. On the way we pass one household who lost a baby a few months ago. Was a bit sad as we had saved her life when she was first born. I;ve never seen a baby so malnourisjed and dehydrated, it was certianly harrowing. Anyway, it was one of Berties (the landrovers) first life savers, as we drove her to a good NGO hospital and got her striaght onto a drip. Anyway dont really know what happened, or why she died nearly a year later. But her family are always happy to see me and we meet and greet on your way up.
Minkalu is waiting for us peering over the wall - a quad (affecting all 4 limbs and body) Cerebral Palsy, except he is 'bluffing' as they say here, shy becasue he didnt have any shorts or pants on!! Soon put that right, a 4 year old has far too much dignity hey?? Minkalu has literally learnt to walk with us over the past year, sometimes using his motor car (frame), and now a few steps on his own. He sits well in a special chair we have made for him which h should hopefully be taking to start school with in Jan. Had a great session with him - playing, obvously all in a therapeuatic way!! Good chat with Mum although, she was a little upset as her 14 yr old died a few weeks ago too. This litle communityhas had 4 child deaths that I know of in the past year. thats a lot and sometimes I wonder 'is this place cursed or what?' questions, rightly or wrongly, but v african in thought - I think we in the west often underspiritualise things, and yes africans can over, but still the devil does have power and strongholds, and is at work whereever we allow. Prayer is key when going into these places hey?
Anyway, this is geting long - I'll cut short.....We saw several other patients, 2 of which were not really doing v well in school so had been pulled out. lets say the education system does not allow for learning difficulties or physical disability - understated. So these 2 young teenagers were not getting past Class 1, (normal age 6-7), so abu (assist) and I were trying to do more practical skills with them at home. Anyway, we found a vocational training center nearish that we visited, and they said that they would be able to go there!!! It was so nice to be welcomed for them, AND it's funded by another NGO so the family only have to fill the application, and spend 10,000Le (£2) for the id card!! Ok, so the place is still being built, but by Jan they should be in there - the girl Mamusu for tailoring and gara tie dying, and the boy Basiru for carpentry. Praise God!!
Very long hot dirty, long driving day - but well worth it.
Then today, saw a new patient, then a few old ones, then went to visit the father of a child of mine who died when I was home just a few weeks ago. I think I told you about him - Alie - cute kid with Downs Syndrome. Anyway Karusu - the father of the family had come from a muslim background, and when they all started to come to church as a family it was great, and it was he who showed most interest. Unfortnately, since Alie died, the sister is now with Grani and the mother Adama has chosen to leave Karusu. BUT Karusu himself has cont to bring himself along to church, and when we visited today we tried to encourage him in the bible. I wasnt sure how much if anything he could read. He does have a bible that we gave him, and in church he sits by me and we look the scriptures up together. But today, we sat and read John 1 together. Found out that he really can;t read much at all, but was a great listener was i translated in my best Crio!! From that we had an in depth discussion about the Word, about the true Light, the One and Only. The differene between Father Son and Holy Spirit. Why Jesus had to rise from the dead. If everyone could get forgivness - even Foday Sankoh - the main rebel leader of the 10 yr civil war here. did Moses sin? Why did he not reach the promised land? if it was ok to drink poio (palm wine). How to forgive someone who has hurt you. do children go to heaven? OT covenant and the new covenant........WOW we talked a lot. Abu was great with him, and he was asking some of the questions too. It was just so encouraging to see this man come from showing some interest, to being angry and broken when he lost his son, to him now being so hungry for more depth, even though he can't read God's word, he wants to hear as much as he can. God is so good to turn this situation into his gain for eternity.
All in a few days work hey!
So life here can be challenging, exhausting, and frustrating but on the whole it's SO much fun and SO rewarding.
For now I can continue.
Pray for our families. Pray for us.