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!


  1. hi Sarah! its pretty cool read about all of this stuff about Africa!

  2. Sarah - Jeremy and I enjoy reading your accounts of life in Africa! What a fantastic experience!! You're in our thoughts and prayers! We'd love to see pictures when you come back.
    Your cousins -
    Jeremy & Amy Sexton

  3. Hi miss sarah!
    I have been very thrilled reading about your adventures. I admire you so much for what you are doing. You are in my prayers!

  4. Hey Sarah,

    What an amazing woman you've turned into. You have such an adventurous way about you. All the experiences you've had in your life most people would never dream of. You are amazing to say the least. Please be safe.

    Love your aunt Teresa

  5. Amy and Ben say "Hi" also.


  6. Sarah, I just can't beleive all the stuff you are doing. What stories you will have to tell your kids!! I can just see you doing all this in my minds eye! You are in our prayers, but I think you are making your guardian angel work overtime!!

  7. John wants to grade your bread that you made!!

  8. You're in Africa. I'm at Milo. But God keeps us close're never forgotten. I'm even sharing your stories with my class! We're praying for you!

  9. Hey Sarah! I heard about how you are doing and I just wanted to you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you recover quickly so you can enjoy the rest of your trip.
    Take Care,