Monday, January 17, 2011

Saying goodbye to KW Hospital and hello to Ghana

Hello everybody!  First I'd like to say that I am writing with unlimited electricity from the capital of Ghana where we arrived yesterday~ Since I have lost several blogs and emails half written to on and off electricity which I would load on the slowest speed you can imagine in Kamakwie.  Today is the first time I have been able to see our blog site or read any of the comments .  Its exciting to see the replies thanks for sending them sorry I have not been able to reply.  Its not just electricity that's on in this city, it seems everything is working better than ever and a testament to our trials and tribulations over the past several months in Sierra Leone which were mostly sprinkled {and perhaps sometimes downright soaked} in poverty and desperation and struggle. Not every minute, not every person but certainly remnants from the war and devastation that leaves our family appreciative and stunned to have made friends and lived in such an unbelievable place with such stunningly beautiful people.  Today we are all  in awe at returning into this world here in Accra of order, easy travel, unlimited food and relaxation and warm companionship of Charles' family.  {We are staying with another teammate of Peter's soccer team in Portland, Charles mother and her large extended family!  They are wonderful thank you Charlie!}

Hard to explain and I'm sure now that we've landed in Ghana we feel like we'll be mentally processing the first half of our sabbatical and volunteer work.  No doubt life and spirit changing in a way we didn't expect!  Let me bring you up to speed, as I last left you in mid December.  We were working as doctor volunteers when basically everyone who had come before were missionaries bringing the message of the Wesleyan Church and Christianity to Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital of which the community is 70% Muslim and 30% Christian.  The two doctors we worked with were on year 2 or a 4 year commitment.  Believe me the experience is worth many delightful dinner conversations with all of our friends and family when we return about  a place that could on its own be the overflowing source of masters thesis in Public Health.  It was like peeling the layers of the onion everyday Peter and I discovering some other layer regarding the church, the staff, the patients, the local traditions, the community of Kamakwie.  In the words of one of the nurses "You and Dr. Peter are not  like any of the other missionaries that have come here before and I've worked here a long time."  I thought even though it was said with question and serious tone that it was a bit of a compliment.  And to answer Julie, no neither of us got kicked off the compound but we just did things somewhat differently than expected.   The boys had their own learning going on as they were completely set free with a huge flock of all ages and sizes of kids who are all raising themselves.  In the end we were sad to say goodbye but physically and emotionally pretty exhausted and ready for the next step in our trip.  For Christmas we took our bicycles 18km (all 4 of us! }to a game reserve to camp .  Much to my amazement as I had joked with the boys when looking through our bird book, "If we ever see a Great Blue Turaco I'm done I don't need to see any other birds."  Sure enough Christmas morning while canoeing the river we saw a whole bunch of them fly across and perch before us.  Giant, incredible blue and green that was our Christmas present floating and laughing at our luck to see them.  I covered my eyes and said I was done with birds as I promised and the boys laughed and laughed.   Then I peeked through my hands and spotted something in a tree across the river.....

Anyway since then we finished we spent the next several weeks at the beaches and as predicted sinking our toes in the sand at the Banana Islands, beaches like John Obey and one of our favorites as mentioned before River Number 2.  Meeting many new faces, total characters and such....We decided for this trip in general that for every one to two weeks of unabated discovery and travel and excitement there is a day where nothing can go right.  And given some time later recalling these days of doom really makes the whole family laugh at how crazy and short and unpredictable and uncontrolled life really is!  That was the story for our one night at John Obey beach.  But a story for another time...So overall we are great and very much looking forward to seeing the wildlife and animals of Ghana and my brother who arrives in a few days. We wish you all the best holidays and the happiest times in this amazing new year.