Tuesday, October 30, 2007


October 26

Another 17 hr. night shift at pediatrics with Liz...

We finish giving all the meds by the light of our headlamps, bugs crawling down our shirts. All the kids are doing well, no worries. We each open our dinners provided by our families. Liz has a bowl of pasta with tomato powder seasoning, and I have a bowl of the thick rice drink. Liz takes a bite, hands me the spoon, I take a bite, and hand it back. Back and forth we eat, occasionally stopping to pick out bugs.

Babies are quiet, families are sleeping on mats between the rusty hospital beds. Liz and I prepare our twin-sized bed, tucking the mosquito netting around. Soon we're both laying side by side, sharing a pillow and hoping to get an hours sleep before 12 o'clock meds.

At 11:30, a dad wakes us up. Liz tells me to go back to sleep while she checks on the baby. A few minutes later I hear her calling for me. Stumbling out of bed, I start looking for my headlamp and shoes.

"Esther!" I hear the urgency behind her voice this time, and hurry over to bed 3 where I see her light.

It's a little baby with palu (malaria) that we'd been treating for a few days already. He had been doing well, and we'd started him on pills the day before. Now his eyes were rolled back into his head and Liz was doing chest compressions on his tiny body.

"Go get the bag!" Liz cried.

I ran over the maternity ward and frantically scanned the room for the bag. Not seeing it anywhere, I ran through the wards looking for Simeon, the other nurse on duty. Finally I gave up and ran back, determined to just start mouth-to-mouth on the baby without the bag. When I got there, I saw Liz closing the baby's eyes, and the mom silently crying.

"He's gone," she whispered to me. I stared at the baby, so confused. He had been so alive just an hour ago, yelling loudly at us, when we gave him medicine. There was no warning.

People crowded around the bed and Liz and I stood there not knowing what to do. We couldn't explain what had happened even if there was no language barrier. We didn't know how to comfort the mom - what is acceptable in their culture? What do they do when someone dies? The dad left to find a moto to take them home and Liz & I finally left, feeling helpless.

We walked out away from the buildings and sat under the stars, each silent in our own thought. Eventually we talked, cried, prayed and held each other, and then went back to finish our shift.

That baby's death has bothered me a lot the last couple of days. I wish that I would have checked his pulse and airway myself after Liz told me he was dead, just to give myself some closure. I wonder what else we should have done. I've asked the Drs. for explanations, and even they are perplexed by the suddenness of it.

The only explanation I give is that it's malaria. A vicious disease that comes & goes, tricking people into thinking they're ok, and then striking them down. Everyone gets different symptoms, making it hard to recognize at times, and half the kids in Chad have it at one time. When you ask women here how many children they have, they always answer..."I birthed , and have living."

I ask God how these experiences have anything good come out of them. Well, I have an awareness now, what am I going to do with it? When I go back to the States, will I just remember the sad effects of malaria, a disease so common here, that it is easy to forget the seriousness of it. Or will I get involved and do something to change? I feel driven now to study everything about it.

Another thought, I've just made you aware of it. Will you brush it off as another sad missionary story, pleading for the usual, or will you allow yourself to feel for people you've never seen or met, and do something? It's your choice.


So my French is coming along -- slower than I'd like -- but it's coming. I can understand a lot more than I can speak, and most of my vocabulary is from working at the hospital. I'm sure it sounds awful, but most of the time, patients can still understand me.

Sometimes I can hardly wait to study and learn more so I can communicate. But other times it just seems useless. French is their second language also, so only those who are educated speak it. Most of the women speak just their tribal language. So far I can greet people in Arabic, Nangere, & Gumbi, and ask if their baby has been vomiting :) But there are a multitude of more languages that I can't even recognize when they speak, like Lai Lai, Mafa, and Sara.

Then we get short-term missionaries and people visiting from countries all over the world that add to it all, Danish, Portuguese, Australian English (it's a lang. of its own), and my personal favorite, Spanish. I still find myself answering in Spanish when I mean for French to come out. Sometimes they actually understand, though, because of the similarity. So my motto is --- when in doubt, speak Spanish!

In the end, there's nothing better than just speaking good old English. I've never appreciated my native language more.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Obsession with Guavas

October 21

My toes grip the smooth brown bark as I shrewdly scan each branch of the tree. Eyes widening and mouth watering, I see the first one...a plump, juicy guava! Within moments, I've climbed within arms reach and snatch it. Guava after guava I pick with the delight of finding a treasure behind each leafy branch.

From the ground I hear Liz call that we have enough, and I yell back, "Just one more"...which turns into 2...and 3...4...5,6,7...

"Esther! We have plenty for a fruit salad. Come down!"

Sighing, I start to reach for the branch below, when I suddenly see it. The most beautiful guava I've seen yet, hanging perfectly in all its glory, sun reflecting off the sheen of its yellowish-green skin. Liz's voice becomes faint as I climb higher and higher, trying to get closer. I pull my skirt up to just below my knees so I can spread my legs apart enough to climb.

It is hanging at the very end of the branch and I try jiggling it off. After practically jumping up and down on the branch, the stubborn guava is still hanging strong. I walk out a few inches and try to reach out, quickly realizing that it is much too far for my arms. Grabbing a stick I try to poke it. Each poke sends it swinging back and forth, but not down.

Ignoring Liz's pleas to leave it, I grab the rake. Nothing is going to stop me from getting that guava. Being hard to get makes me want it all the more. Again and again I reach out with the rake trying to catch it on the stem, until my wrist is swelling from the weight. I sit on the branch for a minute, resting as sweat runs down my face and neck. I'm just not close enough! I study my scratched arms and the small skinny branch...thinking...Physics class. I imagine Mr. Byers standing at the black board drawing an elephant's foot and showing how the heel of a woman's shoe has more pressure than an elephant's foot. So I could be as heavy as an elephant and still stand at the smallest part of the branch as long as my weight is distributed over a large enough area...Never underestimate the importance of school! You never know when you might need it, like when trying to pick a guava.

Gathering my courage, I slowly lay my whole body down flat on the branch and start scooting out farther and farther, inch by inch, my eyes riveted on the guava, imagining the first juicy bite. Every muscle taut, holding my balance, I am close enough to reach out. Carefully, with my legs wound tightly around the bending branch, I let go with one hand and go for it. I feel a rush of exhilaration as my fingers close around the smooth round fruit and yank it off, almost falling from the movement. Looking at the guava, I feel a grin spread across my sweaty face, eyes sparkling with excitement. There's nothing better than a guava....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the OR with Dr. James Bond…

October 19

We had a visiting doctor here for a couple weeks, Dr. Bond. He is from Deer Park, CA, right next to PUC, and has been to Bere a few times before. It amazes me that he is able to survive visiting places like Africa with such an obsessive-compulsive attitude towards germs and parasites…but within a couple days, we were all very used to his demands for cleanliness.

James had a whole line of surgeries for Dr. Bond to do, and within a few days, we all found ourselves in the OR helping. I think he could easily have done surgeries with the usual 2 nurses that helped James, but he made us feel needed. So without having set foot in the OR, I was suddenly in there for hours every day, circulating and watching the surgeries. Even Sonja, a social work major, was pulled into handing out compresses and sutures with the rest of us. Liz & Christina got to try being the anesthesiologist a couple times, but whenever I’d venture their way to listen in and learn the anesthetics, Dr. Bond’s booming voice would exclaim, “No Esther! Leave all that to the nurses; you’re the EMT. Come look at what I’m doing…Closer, closer!”

So I’d watch over his & Abel’s shoulders as they worked miracles, taking out spleens, appendixes, prostates, hysterectomies, and Dr. Bond would gladly explain it all. It made me more tired, working all night sometimes, and then only sleeping an hour before going to the OR all day, but it was worth it.

One day, Dr. Bond strode up to me and proclaimed, “Esther, today you are going to scrub in and assist me.” I looked at him in surprise. “You would like that, wouldn’t you?” he said, watching me in amusement as I quickly nodded my head up and down.

A little bit later, Abel was teaching me the scrub in procedure and before I knew it, I was standing over a patient, across from Dr. Bond, handing him scalpels and clamps for a bilateral hernia. I was so hot, covered in all the scrub clothes, sweat trickling down my neck and back, and I held forceps pulling the skin apart until my arms were shaking from exertion. But whenever he would ask me if I was tired, I’d quickly deny it, wanting so bad to stay there and help him.

He let me help with 2 more hernias the next couple of days, since they were simple operations…but after he left to go back to the States this week, I haven’t been back into the OR. The good news is, though, that he’s coming back for a longer time in February!

The doctors from the Koza hospital in Cameroon are here now and James & Sarah flew over to their hospital for a month. There isn’t an airport here in Bere, but there’s an old airstrip in a field that they used. Greg, a pilot associated with Gospel Outreach, flew the drs. here and James & Sarah out in a small 5-person plane. I was taking my bath early in the morning when I heard a big commotion. I realized that it was the plane taking off, the whole village was watching it, as Greg circled a couple times before heading off. I was hoping they couldn’t see me bathing, since it’s entirely open on top. And white skin kind of stands out! It was amazing, though, to think that most of these people never see airplanes. The kids in my family were telling me it was such a big plane, so I was trying to explain that I came in a plane that held a few hundred people! They didn’t believe me…

My Life Has Never Been this Clear

October 7 (here are 2 posts lost in ciberspace & re sent)

Squinting at the patient report in front of me, I try to make out the horrible handwriting as a new entrant walks in. The mother folds back cloths to reveal her baby, and I stare in horror at a child so malnourished that its skin is peeling and falling off all over. Its head is so big compared to its skeleton body that I almost feel like I'm looking at something other than a human...

A little girl is rushed in on a cart after falling in a water hole. I look into her frightened eyes as another nurse checks her over. After consulting a couple others, the nurse turns to me and tells me that the girl appears to be fine, just a little in shock. I'm not convinced, however, and do my own exam. She has a little water in her lungs and a swollen stomach, but that is not unusual since half the kids here have swollen bellies from malnutrition, malaria, TB, etc. Some of my EMT instructor's advice starts ringing in my head, "Trust your instincts. Don't just rely on outward appearance and test results. If the patient doesn't look good, watch him a little longer." As I look at the girl, she doesn't appear to be just under the weather, whimpering in her mother's arms. I can see Avery in my mind again, pounding on the table and saying over and over, "Mechanism of injury plus index of suspicion always equals internal bleeding!" Quickly I ask the parents if they're willing to pay for an ultrasound and 10 min. later, the girl is being prepped for surgery after finding out she has a ruptured spleen...

An 18-yr.-old girl is giving birth to her first baby. No painkiller, and no privacy. Her pelvis is too small. The baby comes out deformed and is put into my arms to resuscitate. Within 10 minutes, the baby is dead. Her 50-yr.-old husband comes in, yelling that she'd better give him children soon or he'll have to marry a 3rd wife...

I peer around the corner of the isolation ward and see little Ramadan asleep on his reed mat. His stomach is swollen huge from TB, and his clothes are like rags on him with his little behind hanging out a big hole. Quietly I creep closer and when I'm right above him, I yell, "Ramadan!" and squirt him with a syringe full of water. In a flash, he is up and chasing me across the hospital compound with his own homemade watergun, chubby cheeks grinning wide...

I go to give medicine to an acute malaria patient, only to find out that she hasn't had it for 2 days because her family says they don't have money to buy it. A few hours later, I see the hospital chaplain, an interesting man who used to be a trained terrorist/killer for Russia, heading over to her bed. She died and he tries to comfort the mother. I go to tell James, only to hear him say, "Why are you telling me? I can't do anything for her once she's dead. Go take care of the people that actually need you!"....

Smiling wide and holding out my hand, I greet one of the HIV patients, a skinny man with no strength left even to walk or sit up on his own. Although we can only say "hello" to each other in Nangere, our eyes and sign language speak a lot more. After holding his hand for a few minutes, I start a new dose of metronadizole into his IV and try to find a way to tie it above him on a tree with a piece of string I picked up off the ground...

Liz, Sonja, and I like to say, we can't help feeling alive in Africa with so much going on around us. It is constant ups and downs, and when I lay on my cot at night, overwhelmed by it all, I have a song I like to listen to. I hadn't heard this song before I came, but it encompasses my feelings and experiences so well. After some of these days, all I do is go to my hut, lay on my cot, and listen to it over and over, until I fall asleep.

"I Would Die for You"
by Mercyme

And I know that I can find you here
'Cause you've promised me you'll always be there.
In times like these, it's so hard to see
but somehow I have a peace you're near.

And I pray that you will use my life
In whatever way your name is glorified.
Even if surrendering means leaving everything behind.

And my life, has never been this clear
Now I know, the reason why I'm here
You never know why you're alive,
until you know what you would die for
and I would die for You

And I know I don't have much to give,
but I promise you I'll give you all there is
I cannot possibly do less,
when through your own death I live

And my life, has never been this clear
Now I know, the reason why I'm here
You never know why you're alive,
until you know what you would die for
and I would die for You

A Day of Nursing

October 5

James has moved me to work in the Adult ward all week so that I will learn more French with the Chadian nurses. I don't know if I actually learned more French yet, but I've moved to doing more and more nursing as I learn from observing. It has probably been the most challenging week so far and today was crazy!

As I arrived at work this morning, I spent forever organizing all the paperwork that is always a complete mess. They don't see the value in writing things down, but anybody who knows me, knows that I have to have everything just right and organized. So after entering in all the new patients and getting the #s to add up right in all the wards, I headed off to take vitals on all the patients.

My coworker for the day was David, a nurse that I'd never worked with before. He grabbed all the patients' papers from me and started walking around randomly, snapping his fingers at me to take blood pressures of certain patients. By the time James arrived to do rounds, we hadn't even done half of the vitals and all the papers were in a jumbled mess again in David's hands. I used the distraction of James yelling at a patient who didn't buy meds. to take the papers and put them in order again. As we went around, I tried to work on my humbleness as David kept grabbing my pen, stethoscope, clipboard... snapping his fingers in my face and yelling, "Come!" "This patient needs this...!" I already wanted to say that I already knew since I'd been taking care of these patients for 5 days now and probably knew more than he did about them! But thankfully, sometimes the language barrier is a blessing so my anger doesn't pour out. It is teaching me to bite my tongue and calm down before speaking since it'll take me 10 min. to figure out a sentence to say.

After I finished with all the discharges and set out all the papers for 12:00 meds, I went over to the American house to try & send/receive my email. It hadn't been working for a week, so when it actually went through, I decided to wait for it to finish even though it was 12. I'm still just, supposedly in training, helping wherever James puts me. So I figured it wouldn't be a problem to let David do the meds by himself, which he would be doing anyway if I wasn't there.

I went back over to the hospital a little after 12. David was nowhere to by found with nothing done. I ran around crazily trying to find patients to give them their meds. Many of them go outside to lay around with their family. I tried to do everything like I'd watched others do it.
The last med. I went to give was for a TB patient in the isolation ward. Just as I walked up, I heard the wailing start. She had just died a minute ago.

Four new surgery patients poured in one after another. I finally found each of them an empty bed and started their paperwork. Lab reports came in for many patients, diagnosing them with malaria so I was prescribing Quinine and Doxy, left and right, trying to explain the importance of buying meds, otherwise they won't buy it. I just tell them they'll die without treatment and it usually works with adult patients. With pediatrics, it's harder because the parents have to decide if their kid's life is worth more than the meds cost, which half the time it isn't, according to them. We don't treat or give anything until they pay, which may seem harsh, but it is really possible for most anybody to pay. The hospital allows donations so they just have to give a bike or even just a cooking pot to be put in the garage until they pay their debt.

Anyways, I finally started 1:00 meds a little late, but Dr. Bond came in interrupting me. Dr. James Bond is a volunteer surgeon here for a while...a very interesting, eccentric man. I don't know how anyone so obsessive-compulsive could end up in Africa! :) He checked on all his surgery patients and barked out orders for me, handing me meds to give them and special instructions. I was so overwhelmed and nervous giving meds I'd never heard of before. Somehow I finished everything by the time work ended at 3. David came around ever once in a while. He'd see me giving an injection and run over to grab it from me, yelling "What are you doing?" I'd explain and show him what was supposed to be given. He'd grudgingly say ok and then leave again.

At least, after today, I have much more confidence in being able to take over and do things instead of just sitting back and watching. And patience is a virtue...to keep working on...
I can't help still wondering about the woman that died. If I had been there to give her meds an hour earlier when it was supposed to be given, would it had made a difference? Or if I had been around to attempt resuscitation?...She probably still would have died, but I can't help wondering...

Friday, October 19, 2007

What you all have been waiting to hear...

October 17

Sonja, Liz, and Christina walked into the American house today and started singing to me, "Happy malaria to you..." Yes, I have the dreaded disease, although I am quite perplexed by the fact that I haven't been sick. I've been really tired, but that could easily be explained by all the work and stress at the hospital. Anyways, I decided to just get tested and found out that I have 0.10%! Liz, Sonja, and Hans have all had half that, .05%, and were throwing up, having fevers, headaches...And all I've had is a little fatigue. I'm not complaining, but I'm a little worried that it is suddenly going to hit me hard; I'm just holding my breath and waiting. When I go to work this evening, I'll prescribe myself some medicine. Until then, I've been reading the wonderful National Geographic "Malaria" article that Sonja brought. I don't think it does much more than scare us. :) Now I'm worried that I have the strain that suddenly hits, goes cerebral, and can kill you in a day...but hopefully I can just treat it and get rid of it before I ever get even a headache. Blessings to you all and don't worry...everyone shudders at the word malaria in the States, but here it's as common as rice.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm in Africa

October 13

The excuse for everything around here is just, "I'm in Africa." So whenever bizarre things happen and I look at myself in disbelief, I just repeat it over and over.

I'm on a walk and find that I need a bathroom. No worries, I'm in Africa, and just go squat in the middle of a field.

I see 2 goats, 5 chickens, and 3 people on a moto going by, and I just shrug my shoulders and say, "I'm in Africa."

The nurse I'm working with takes the syringe he just used to give a medication and uses it to put a Foley in a different patient...I'm in Africa.

While getting a blood transfusion started, I get blood all over my bare hands. I go to wash at a dirty sink with brown homemade soap that has grits of dirt cooked into it...I'm in Africa.

I'm sitting outside at morning worship under a tree and feel cool droplets rain down on my head and shoulders. Regretfully I know that it's not rain, but pee from a lizard...I'm in Africa.

Liz receives some packages from the States and we all scream as if we've won a million dollars, as we eat cherished Wheat thins and a piece of gum...I'm in Africa.

I walk home at night in a thunderstorm and feel my sandaled feet splash in puddles that I know are filled with human & animal waste and trash from the streets. Oh well...I'm in Africa.

I share my shower with a little brown goat on the mud wall, the neighbors big black pig, and a hen with 5 chicks...I'm in Africa.

In surgery, the doctor and his assistant have boots on. Everyone else is barefoot to be the most sanitary...I'm in Africa.

Christina and I go to the market, and by the end, we have a crowd of 50 people following us and laughing at everything we do & say. I feel like a movie star...I'm in Africa.

The kids in my family bring me a guava that they all have taken a bite off of with their teeth that have never seen a toothbrush. I smile and eat it...I'm in Africa.

Just from one bad tooth, a woman's entire face is swollen from infection. I try to just breathe through my mouth as I give my opinion on how to do some dentist work on her, since none of us are dentists. Smelly pus is pouring out her ear all over my hands as I hold her airway open...I'm in Africa.

I figure out how to make a loaf of bread over open coals and feel like I've just conquered the world as I delightfully eat a slice...I'm in Africa.

Hans, another SM, moves in with a new Chadian family. He has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and does the classic squat on a mound out by the edge of the courtyard away from everything. The next morning, his new host approaches him to inform him, "You defecated on my mother's grave." Who would guess...I'm in Africa

No one can get an IV into a 4-day-old baby, so I watch, perplexed, as Liz follows James instructions and sticks the needle under the skin on the back of the baby. A few minutes later, the fluid dripping in, is a big bubble on the baby's back that will supposedly soak in...I'm in Africa.

Working at the hospital in the early morning hours, there is a woman in a diabetic coma. All I can do is instruct the family to keep putting cubes of sugar in her mouth to dissolve, until someone with a key comes later to get some dextrose soln. for her. And it works...I'm in Africa.

At the hottest time of day, everyone sits around and drinks steaming hot tea as sweat drips down our faces...I'm in Africa.

Coming back from a walk in the fields, I come across a couple young boys herding a few cows home. I ask for a ride and soon I'm perched on the back of one of the lumbering beasts, grinning at the boys and wearing a skirt...I'm in Africa.

It is so hot, I long to wear a pair of shorts, but that would be completely scandalous, letting people see my knees. So then I'm almost tempted to go topless like the local women...I'm in Africa.

Walking back from the market, I pass a group of boys playing soccer. They ask me my name and then excitedly try to pull me in to play with them. Apparently this whole side of the village knows that a white girl named Esther likes to play soccer...I'm in Africa. (By the way, Esther is my new name given by my African father so that there isn't so much confusion with 2 Sarahs)

As I write this, I'm perched in a tree out in a field. Before climbing, I carefully checked for snakes and the huge tree spiders I despise. I can tell it's time for church to start, not because of church bells ringing or an organ playing, but from the drumming starting, because of course, I'm in Africa!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


October 11
I just wanted to thank all of you who have been commenting on my blogs. I've just received them all, and it means more than I can say to hear from you all. Even the smallest note makes my day! It is nice also, to know that my blogs are being read. Sometimes it seems like I'm just blindly writing...If any of you want me to write directly back to you, you can send me your email address.
Thank you again. I love and miss you all!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mischievous Girls

September 28

After having a vespers this evening with the other Americans, I headed to my hut, hoping the gate to the courtyard was open. As I approached, I realized there was no reason to worry, as it sounded like my family was having a party. The huge crowd of people, however, was standing around my hut. I slowly walked closer and noticed a girl stuck trying to crawl out of my window. Everybody was yelling and it just got worse as I arrived. I got the picture of what was happening as Anatorle told me to go inseide and check all of my things. My bags were in a mess, but I wasn't too concerned because I knew what the kids had been looking for. When I first arrived I gave a piece of candy to the kids in my family as a gift. I've been saving the rest for kids at the hospital as we give shots and such, but Kristel, Anatole's oldest daughter constantly asks me for more even though I tell her I have no more. Tonight, Kristel and 2 of her friends tried to crawl in and find some candy while I was gone, after her parents went to bed.

Poor Anatole was scandalized by what his daughter had done even though I tried to tell him it wasn't that important. The perpetrators were just three 10-yr.-old girls and as I looked at the 3 of them kneeling on the ground, tears streaming down their faces and a crowd of adults surrounding them, it immediately made me think of me and my 2 friends in academy, Lisa and Steph. These girls had to have been pretty daring to try and get into the "white girl's" hut, through the window bars about 8 in. wide and a foot tall, standing on each others shoulders. It gave me flashbacks of trying to sneak out of the dorm at night with Steph & Lisa. Getting stuck in a window sounds just like something that would have happened to us.

We got off a little easier on the punishment, though. These poor girls got quite the thrashing in front of everyone and Kristel is still being lectured by Anatole almost an hour later. The whole neighborhood is still in an uproar, and by morning, I wouldn't be surprised if the whold village knew.

I've finished cleaning up the mess and I think I'll just stay up now until I need to go to the hospital to help give meds at midnight. In just a day, the hospital is overflowing and we've started putting 2 kids to a bed for more room and patients in with the TB isolation patients. I'm so happy it's Sabbath, though, even if it's not always much of a rest. Maybe we'll ride the horses to the river tomorrow...

My God is More Powerful than Your God

September 27

Most nights here are hot & clear. I usualy try to fall asleep listening to music, but when my ipod needs charging, I end up awake a lot laer because of all the noise outside. There are always a lot of drums being played loudly along with singing and kids running around wildly until late. I never minded the drums too much until james told us that most of the time, they are worshipping spirits & such at that time. The people here still hold on to their traditional beliefs and periodically I come across special ground roots and cuts on patients at the hospital to purge them of their sickness. James even had a demon-possessed woman come in one night last week.
So now when I hear the drums and singing, it gives me kind of an ominous feeling, especially since some people say they can actually see demons walking around.

Tonight as I was finishing up emailing at the American house, and dreading going to bed and listening to the drumming, it started to rain lightly. It got windier and windier, and I began to wonder if I should wait it out before going home. Usually the rain only lasts a few minutes. I decided to just run through it and soon realized that this wasn't just a regular rainstorm.
It was pure black outside as I dodged puddles, winding around the path to my hut. Usually i don't need light because the moon is so bright. The only way I could see tonight was from the lightning flashing, making it seem like daytime for a few moments. I cringed every time the thunder came...it was so deafening i thought my eardrums might pop and I could feel the power of it coursing through my whole body. In between the thundering, it was quiet enough to whisper and I thought the wind was going to knock me into a guava tree.

I made it to my hut right before the drenching rain hit. I kept trying to lock my window, but the wind was so strong, it was like watching an invisible hand that kept pulling the lock up out of the hole. I finally found a way to wedge it shut. Sitting on my cot listening,, I am just in total awe. I have never seen or heard such a storm before. (I hope Liz and Sonja are doing ok with their thatch roofs!) i could yell at the top of my lungs and never be heard over this roar. I was a little nervous at first as cockroaches and bugs seeked refuge with me, water seeped under my door, and my hut groaned so much i was sure it would collapse, but then I thought of who's in control of this storm.

God is powerful and I think every once in a while, he enjoys unleashing it in wondrous acts like this that just make me gasp in amazement.

There will be no drums tonight...and I can't help feeling like God is saying, "Do you really want to see some power? Just watch this!"