Monday, June 30, 2008

Some New Pictures...

I know this is really why you guys come, to see photos.

It's not to read my complaints, my perspective, my stories or my musings.
I like to pretend to be a famous author.
But I know its just the pictures.

Here you go...

Worth Repeating...

I am feeling so burdened today over some very specific things.

I am on my knees tonight praying for 3 specific families and the heartbreak they are feeling over a single document.

I am thinking of 2 families who are caught in a waiting game.

I prey for a family who recently lost their second referral.

I am covering a friend in prayer as she toils over a difficult decision.

It is my prayer for all of these people that they will be shrouded in patience and lifted from the burden of worry. That they will themselves get on their knees and ask for strength and clarity in the direction of their resolve.

And in the midst of my heartache for these specific people, I ran across this video again. I'm sure you have all seen it, but it brings validity to our common goal and will maybe rally us in again. Maybe it will refocus our thoughts on working together as a team for the greater good. I thought it was worth repeating...


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Red Letters

Red Letters

I found this video on Tom Davis' Blog. I wanted to share it here. I have this same conviction for Africa and have been trying to sort out my own specific direction. Of course I feel like we all feel "how can I make a difference?" If the conviction was laid on my heart, surely the solution will follow. So I wait anxiously...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mother's Day

This year I spent Mother's Day in Ghana.  I was honored to have Philip be the first to wish me a Happy Mother's Day!  

Because I was gone, my gift waited until I came home.  Actually it waited until last week.  I have been wanting this ring since the first time I went to Ghana (damn you sky mall!).  I was waiting to finalize the adoption before we ordered it.

My girlfriend actually suggested the "family ring" idea.  Originally we ordered it with the boys names and of course I wanted my hubby too.   It was a ring for me to wear with all the men in my life listed with their birthstones.  But I totally love the "family ring" idea,  thanks Lor!

Anyway, here are a few pictures.

I absolutely loove this ring.  It is both white and yellow gold with small birthstones after each name.  It is my favorite thing right now.  Check out John Christian Jewelers!  See for yourself!

Happy Momma!

I'm Back...

I'm back in the blogging world.  Something came over me last night and I decided to try to get caught up.  I was hoping it wasn't a dream, and sure enough, the posts were there this am!  Yeah!  Even a comment! 

      "I'd like to thank all my fans who stood by and waited for dress?"
  "It's Vera Wang, thanks for asking. "  

I see it's not really going in any chronological manner, but it's getting done so I'm just gonna go with it.

I have been looking at some of your blogs this morning and they are so neat and tidy.  Your words are directly under your photos and all of your links, blogs, etc are labeled and organized.

   I aspire to be each of you.  Any suggestions or tips thrown my way would be appreciated.

I leave you with a recent picture of my boy child C.  The night before he was to have a haircut he let me blow dry his hair straight and flat iron it.  What a good sport.  His hair is sooo thick and curly just like his dad.  Funny, eh?

You're a ROCK STAR C!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Thursday...

So much to be thankful for in my life right now.  I really don't know where to start.  

Philip being home and happy.
My husband and son loving on Philip.
Our growing church and my role in the ministry.
My job and co-workers.
My friends and family who support me.


Ambassador Bridgewater

One Saturday in May there was a big party at the American Ambassador's House in Accra. Beacon House kids were on the guest list! What an honor to be there and get to attend such the event. There was a cow slaughtered in honor of the day and an awesome meal served. There were games and jumping houses for the kids. There was face painting and treats. A big time was had by all. To top it off, the Beacon House kiddos sang and danced three songs for the guests.

                                                                         P-man after face painting                               

Click here for more information on Ambassador Bridgewater.

Got Death?

Last year in Ghana I drank water from pouches. I bought pineapple from street vendors. I ate in local restaurants. I even picked something off a tree and stuck it right in my mouth! Never got so much as a tummy ache. I took my anti-malarial pills, but all the while was thinking how silly it was cause I never saw any mosquitoes. I thought I was so tough. Too cool for school!

I even remember sharing with Romana about what wimps some of the other bloggers were being. Constant complaining about the heat or their bad stomachs or the bugs or whatever. Man people, it's Africa! Suck it up already.

Well don't you know that those people were having a good laugh at my expense this year. I got sooo sick on this trip, I literally thought I was gonna die. I may have actually been praying for death, I can't remember. The lucidity was coming and going. I'm sure I ate something bad, but I just knew it was ghiardia or schistosomiasis or something even longer and deadlier. The restroom facilities where I was staying has a tiled room with a shower head and toilet kind of all in close proximity. Good thing because while I sat on the toilet losing my guts, I was puking up my brain and other less vital organs. All with cold water running over my body. I think the cold water is what kept me alive. At one point I remember thinking "has Ghana ever Med-Evac'd anyone out?" "Like do they even have a helicopter for such emergencies?" "Would they take me to South Africa or somewhere in Europe?" "I sure hope they know how important I am to me and that my health should really be of national concern.  I am an American,  people!"  I think it was the fever talking cause not one official government personnel ever so much as called to check on me. :)

Funny, I have a whole other post on how arrogant we are as Americans. It must be bred into us. We really should work on that.

Korlebu Teaching Hospital

While in Ghana this time around I was able to visit several hospitals and clinics. I got such a feel for the medical services, how people are treated for various illnesses and how much they can do with so little. They actually do treat, serve and care for the community of ill and needy people in Accra. It may be to different standards than we are used to, but it is kind and humane treatment of the sick. People die. In fact, nearly every time I visited a hospital I witnessed a person die while awaiting treatment.

On one particular night, we were in the pediatric ward. One of the kiddos in my care had been feeling bad through out the day and eventually required a trip to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 10pm. We were the only people checking in at that time. Once they got my kiddo weighed and triaged, a man came in carrying a bundle. The nurse instructed him to unwrap the baby so it could be weighed and seen. As the dad unwrapped her, the nurse that was with me (K) tapped me on the shoulder and said "look at that baby, she doesn't look well."

The rest is in slow motion in my brain, but burned there all the same. I remember grabbing the tiny baby and putting her on the baby scale. She was naked except for the red string of beads around her waist and wrist. I pinched her and thumped her feet as I was leaning over her listening for breathing. This baby was not breathing and not responding to any of my stimulation. Without even thinking I tilted her head back and began to give her mouth to mouth. I began chest compressions and kept it going for what seemed like 10 minutes. The Ghanaian nurse stood and watched. I'm sure she knows the outcome all too well. I had the nurse that was with me (K) feel for pulses while I continued CPR. I remember her telling me to stop, it was no use. My brain kept telling me that the baby was warm, keep going. The dad was standing immediately to my right. I could see him, staring, in a trance as this horrible scene unfolded.

When I finally stopped, I looked at him. He said to me "It is no?" "I'm sorry" was all I could come up with. He walked away, his face expressionless. No sign of sadness, anger or confusion. He was blank. I picked up the tiny baby girl and wrapped her back in the blanked she had come in. The nurse instructed me to "put it down over there" and pointed to a stretcher behind a folding screen. In retrospect, I wonder if that was the sole purpose of that particular stretcher. I laid her down on that stretcher and prayed over her lifeless body. I still see her little body and her little face.

I ducked behind another screen and had a little crying spell. I don't know who I was crying for. It just seemed so sad and unnecessary for that 5 day old infant to die. A man saw me and explained to me that I shouldn't cry. This is natures way. I suppose it's the coping mechanism of choice to keep you from going insane in a country where lots of people die. I can't blame him for that. I felt guilty about my sadness. It made me feel pompous. Like where I come from babies don't die, and that we are able to save everyone. I don't is still very surreal and my feelings about it are still fresh.

Then I had a moment of clarity about the very real possibility of contracting some disease thanks to my CPR. I cleaned out my mouth with my antibacterial wipes. I wiped my teeth, lips and gums. I cleaned my hands, face, neck and arms. Finally a doctor came and I explained to him what had happened with the baby. He checked her pupils, removed his gloves, washed his hands and went on with his evening seeing the child I had brought.

30 minutes in time that will stay with me forever.

Man, I may never get caught up.

I just went back to see where I left off. Holy smokes, I last blogged on day 2 in Ghana! I was there for 28 days people! I will hit the high lights and spare you the details. I can assure you, there will be a little bit of whining. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

So I told you guys about the Embassy and how they wouldn't let me in...these guards and I became quite the friends. When I say friends, I mean I went and was super nice to them and they were moderately nice to me and they STILL wouldn't let me in. I went to the American Embassy no fewer than ten times. They knew me, they knew why I was there. They even knew the expiration date in my passport. I must say, they did their job (security) and they did it very well. Bless you my Ghanaian Security Friends at the Embassy. You guys deserve an award for following all of the rules without fail!

All in all, my American Embassy experiences were pretty good. It was a great place to people watch. One day we waited for about 4 hours. It was the day we were to submit our Visa application. The room is long and skinny and will hold probably 200 people sitting in chairs. This particular day there were likely 280 to 300 people in there. SRO if you know what I mean. P and I finally got chairs as people left. Once we sat, Ghanaian women would come and pick him up and put him on their lap. It didn't seem to bother him. I suppose the chair shouldn't be wasted with only a little boy butt, so they made the best use of it. It's the African way, make the most of what you have!

That same day, I saw a middle aged man waiting. I assumed that we were all there waiting to submit Visa applications, so I tried to imagine each of their stories. Maybe a young business person or a student. Perhaps a wife joining her husband but all on their way to the US. This particular man had obviously never cut his hair. He had it all piled up on top of his head under a knitted cap. The cap was in Ghanaian green, yellow and red and it must have been the size of a basketball. Maybe bigger, honestly. I was afraid that if his head got too far ahead of or behind him, his neck would snap right there. We would all just witness that red green and yellow basketball rolling around on the floor. Scary. I guess after 4 hours I might have been hallucinating a little bit. I wonder if he has made it to the states yet. I hope so....

P was such a trooper. He sat still and never complained through any and all of our endless appointments. We had plenty of them. If it wasn't the Embassy, it was the Medical Lab or the clinic. What good kids they all are.

Where do I start?

I've been gone from blogging so long, I don't know where to start. My trip was so physically and emotionally draining that I opted to take a little break. Now I feel so far behind, I may never catch up. I'm sure gonna give it a try....

Funny that my blog is so neglected. I read several blogs and I am almost offended if the author goes more than a few days without a post. Like how dare you just omit me from your life! I am waiting.....ah thank you. I'm complete now that I have read about your latest encounter with your mini van or the video store clerk. :) How sad!

Anyway, I have alot of writing to do. And you, my one fan, have plenty of reading to do..... so get busy!