Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Down to Business..

I tried to post as many pictures as I can, but there are so many more...
Ted and I had an amazing trip to Africa. We went with an Indy-based organization called FAME (Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism). There were 27 in our group, from all over the country. Almost everyone was in the medical field, and our purpose was to travel from village to village, setting up temporary medical clinics to see and treat as many people as we could in the limited time we were there.
We flew into Accra, the capital of Ghana, and then traveled northwest, near the Togo border. It's amazing how primitively people live, just a few hundred miles outside the city. Homes were essentially mud huts built between the trees, and their way of life was not so different than it was hundreds of years ago, I'm guessing. Travel was challenging...we had a great Ghanaian driver that kept us safe, but rainy season on a dirt road gets pretty rough. Ted and I helped with crowd control during the clinics, as there were hundreds waiting in each village who all desperately wanted to be treated. Ted had a pretty hard job keeping everyone in line sometimes, and we have a few scary videos of rioting in our first village. For the most part, the people of Ghana are friendly and welcoming, but I think desperation brings out human nature in a raw and selfish way...some of them had some really devastating illnesses and diseases...makes me thankful for the healthcare in America, that we complain so much about..
We also had the opportunity to play with the kids, HUNDREDS of kids at a time! It's funny to think about the childcare regulations at home, and then play soccer barefoot with kids that have no idea where their parents are, aren't wearing clothes, and hanging out in the mud with a bunch of goats and chickens...and using the bathroom wherever they see fit at the moment, normally right next to another kid's feet. But they are the happiest, most exhilirating little people in the world to play with :) They have nothing, but at the same time, they have everything. Jesus tells us to look to children as our examples, because they're humble and trusting, and it was so neat to see that on a large scale.
We were able to treat around 850 people by the end of the trip. The last two days we got to relax, and we hiked up a mountain to this huge, beautiful waterfall...then we went to the coast. The last night was the only clear night on our trip, and I almost tipped out of my chair when I saw the sky that night...the stars there are like nothing I've ever seen...I used to think the stars were beautiful out in the country, but this was insane...there are more than I ever imagined, and Ted and I both saw a shooting star...I hope to see another sky like that someday, but in case I don't, I'll never forget that one. The last day we went shopping at the market in Accra and then had an emotional "goodbye" with the Ghanaians who worked with us, cooking, driving, translating, and taking care of us. We (of course) took a lot more away from Ghana than we could ever bring to it. It's hard to feel satisfied with only two weeks to make a difference, and the volume of need we saw each day. We are in a society that values glitter and glamour and reputations and power...for what? The only that matters is relationships, with God and with each other. It took going halfway around the world to remember that, or at least to believe it again. Ted and I were extremely fortunate to be able to have this experience together...and to all of you that helped facilitate this trip, or who prayed for us while we were away, THANK YOU! We are forever caught off guard by how beautiful our lives are becoming, and what a very small role we play in that.


SLO said...

You have a wonderful way with words...thank you for sharing your experience with us:) I know it will have a lasting impression on both of your lives. Thank you for reminding me that there is more to life than what we think, and it is usually found in the simplicity of just living and being, that relationships are what matter most, and that reaching out and helping others is so healing and refreshing to your own soul. I love you and can't wait to see more of your pictures!!