Thursday, June 26, 2008

Last one from across the pond...

well guys, this is my last post regarding this journey. im typing from a tiny guesthouse room in london. we had a day layover here (oh darn) and im exhausted from walking around all day. today we went on a boat ride down the thames river then toured westminster abbey. the highlight though--karen had this great idea--to stay and attend the daily service in westminster. it was incredible. to sit in westminster abbey...and worship. to hear the choir and know that i am surrounded by all different was moving. im adding that to my bucket list--and crossing it off :) after the service, my sweet friend nicola took us to a nice italian dinner and bought me a new outfit. why did i need a new outfit you might ask? well that is a good question...


oh well, better now than at the beginning of the trip. and to be honest, im too tired to even care right now. im just thankful to be healthy and alive. if a lost bag is the worst thing that happens...oh well. we are hoping it will arrive on tommorows 6 am bangkok flight...but who knows. my fingers are crossed.

i have so much i want to say but so little energy to convey it. i might just have to recap the last few a few days. know that i am doing well...and looking forward to coming home. i can not wait to see my mom tom and then have dinner with natalie in dallas...then to my sweet home. i fully expect to be all sorts of jet-lagged as i was most literally on the other side of the world yesterday. ive been in 3 countries within the last 24 hrs. im tired. i can not keep straight where i am, the date or time. its kinda funny.

all in all, im thankful to be heading home. leaving bangladesh was easy in the sense that i was ready to get out of the traditional clothes YET hard because the people were endearing and wonderful. truly a joy to be around. i was showered with gifts and compliments upon leaving. humbling. i hope to go back...and serve alongside them again. for now, im coming home and going to be 100 % there...appreciating being known by my sweet friends and the genuine fellowship i am blessed to have.

g'night from across the pond,

megs <><

Monday, June 23, 2008

the good stuff...

doesnt always come in a shiny package. thats for sure. for example--the safari park we went to. def not nice. if you drove by it in the would most definitely thought it was closed. you would NEVER think of letting your kids go inside...i even thought twice about entering :) but hey, where else can you ride an elephant for 25 cents. safe-no. fun-heck yes. it was awesome. there were water buffalo and elephants wandering through the park...FREE. i kept looking for fences and restraining devices...none. such a different world. i watched the children who would never know a "zoo" nicer than this one. a man approached us...began to give us "tour" advice around the park then asked for taka (money) later on. you do not need a tour simply follow a path that takes you through and by each run down exhibit. i huffed under my breath knowing it was a scheme to get money from the rich americans. the Lord humbled me. over and over He is so faithful to do this. the man had been in a motorcycle accident and it is rather hard to work here without fingers. think about it: most jobs such as assembly, farming, ect require hand dexterity. the Lord reminded me that I am quick to judge and slow to mercy. He is right. even amongst such poverty...there is some part of me that "adapts or gets used to" seeing it. it doesnt make sense and seems just plain wrong...but i think i do it as a defense mechanism. its hard to see poverty on a daily basis. to know that i am coming home to so much--and this is all they will ever know. again, the Lord is faithful. i do not pretend to understand it...but i stand on that solid ground.

life is wrapping up around here. since the seminar, i have spent more time in the clinic assisting Tuheen, the PT, with patient care. there is so much i wish i could send here--books, supplies, ect. they ask me 10 x day--do you like it here? will you come back? i tell them the same thing--i love the people and if the Lord leads me back--i will gladly come (hopefully, He calls me in the winter). kidding.

tonight we are having a cook-out if you will...of goat....for the rehab and prosthetic workers who have assisted us with all the amputee patients. i can smell the poor goat cooking as i type. i think ill be a vegetarian for tonight :) nah, i have a motto--ill try it once and if i dont get sick--ill try it again :) the Lord has been so faithful to protect my stomach here...and i have really enjoyed the food.

2 night ago we were invited for dinner at Tuheens house--his wife made us feast. the food included: rice (never a meal without it), chicken, shrimp, vegetables with hidden chili peppers, and dal (lentils). if you read my previous will notice a common thread in the foods cooked here. anyways, i wish you could have all seen my face when i mistaken a green chili for a green bean. oh...never again. i turned bright red and water began pouring out of my eyes. people...this was unlike anything i have ever experienced. my ears were burning...and ringing. unreal. they laughed the white girl with a weak tongue. i quickly removed anything green from my plate.

he has 2 little girls--cota--age 7 and lecka--age 2. just wait until you see pics of these beauties. they have stunning brown eyes. its so amazing how a universal language. nathan (a LEGS member) and i played for 2.5 hours with them...and then i realized we barely spoke english. just played. laughed. built lego houses. jumped. did summersaults. and laughed some more. priceless.

1.5 more days here. so much of me is ready to come home and share what i have seen. other parts of me wonder if i will ever see these sweet people again. i wonder if i have given enough. shared enough. done enough. i pray that i have encouraged them and that they do not remember me...per say....but the man i serve. this trip has been so much more about encouraging and serving fellow believers...than witnessing and sharing the gospel. then again, the gospel is shared with service. so yeah...i have really enjoyed serving alongside the natives as well as missionaries at both locations. the lessons learned will last a lifetime.

im looking forward to bouncing thoughts off each of you--and just sharing life again.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

eating with...

only your right hand. yes, that is how to properly eat in bangladesh. you should avoid handing things to people with your left hand as well. of course, i botch this daily.

last night...i was given quite the peel shrimp with only my right hand. we went to a 4 yr olds birthday party--the son of Prodip, the prosthetist who creates the limbs. the party was classic...small children running around the house with party hats on (which is a treat)...all hyped up on the possibility of eating cake and opening gifts. the kids sat at my feet on a rug...and listened as scripture was read and they were prayed over. they all "shhhhed" each other and attempted to pay attention. then the moment came...when they handed a knife, yes a the 4 yr old. it is tradition that the child cuts his own cake. can you say scary? all i could envision was blood and cut fingers :) it turned out to be fine--he cut a slice from his cake and sweetly fed each child a bite...with his right hand.

we were then fed our 2nd meal that night--we weren't sure if food was in the forecast (and what it would be) so we ate a bit at home. turns out...we were given quite a feast. the table was set...and all 6 white people ate first. i felt bad about this at first...then realized it is because bangladeshi people do not eat until late in the evening. they wait until later in the night to cook as it is scorching outside.

so...we took our places and ate by candle light. the parents of the child as well as close family friends stood near the table wanting to meet our every need. as soon as i finished one thing...or hinted that i like the taste...there was more on my plate. i learned quickly to say no more please. our feast included: rice (which is a staple item here--people eat 2, yes 2 plates of rice at every sitting), cooked pumpkin, shrimp, chicken, daal (lentils with spices) and veggies. the flavors were unreal and eating it all with your hands...rather, hand...was a blast. you could definitely tell that the experienced missionaries were more skilled...than i was. the wife of the home offered me a spoon...which i kindly declined. i may not be skilled...but i was having fun mashing up my food and doing what every kid wants to do--play with your food. i decided...i will cook foods like this when i am a mom...and make my kids only eat with their right hands...just for fun.

today...i have been under the weather. nothing major--coughing, sneezing and a headache. i am taking meds and drinking fluids hoping this will pass. i skipped church this morning (friday is the holy day) and slept in. i am about to go on a scheduled boat ride in the bay of bengal...and i can not wait to see the thatched roof, mud huts from up close. life here is so different.

i am starting to ask myself questions like...if i could eat anything right now what would it be? a filet mignon comes to mind. and jason's deli salad bar. all in good time. as for today, ill pump myself full of drugs and go learn more about this distant land.


megs <><

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


we are answered when we call on Him. i am living in that truth today. i do not typically blog 2 days in a row but i am overwhelmed by Gods goodness. today i finished my final part of the seminar for rehab and gait training. it went well--better than i could have ever planned or prayed for. to see then listen to me, listen to the translator, then light up--is rewarding. they thanked me over and over afterwards. i love feeling used by the Lord.

another answer to prayer: i was able to treat and work with a muslim mullah--i think they are called. the equivalent to our pastor. anywho, i treated his shoulder and low back and was able to work hands on with him. the Lord bridges cultural gaps.

today i also realized the love i have for these people---i adore their willingness to open their homes to me. mud huts with thatch roofs. we sit on their beds as they dont have furniture...and share cha (tea) with snacks such as little bananas or cookies. they love to serve and wait on us. they are gracious and hospitable.

tom is our last day of work as friday is the holy day. this weekend we have planned a boat ride in the bay of bengal, game park--to see some poor, caged up animals, and many tea dates. should be wonderful.

i am also thankful for the rain--it is the beginning of monsoon season here and has been raining all day everyday. the temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees...which makes a HUGE difference.

all in all, God is good.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

a gift....

is such a great thing to receive. i can not get over the fact that i have been given the gift of salvation. i was raised in the truth and my life is a story of how the Lord has redeemed me. this comes to mind about 5 times a day as i hear the call to the mosque in the nearby village. i live on a compound with low fences. i can hear children play in the nearby rice patties...and i often watch them. they watch me very closely in return. the children stop to greet me formally here...and the girls always chuckle after saying nomiskar or hello in bingali. ive never seen such beautiful little kids. ok, i said that in kenya too...children are simply beautiful everywhere.

so like i was saying...i hear the call to the mosque daily and let me tell stirs my soul. a call or song which is supposedly saying things like "ALAH IS THE ONE TRUE GOD AND MOHAMMAD IS HIS DISCIPLE". there are creepy songs also playing. all i can do is pray d hoping that the TRUTH will be shown to these people. as i walk the halls of the hospital...there are muslim and hindu women. i am learning to tell the difference between them. i was able to work with a hindu couple yesterday--she had knee osteoarthritis and he had neck pain. they both spoke some english so i educated them and shared stories. it was an awesome moment...they took to me quickly and are coming back to see me next week. the Lord has been so faithful to open doors so that i am allowed to work with men. we have male and female PT rooms here...and i am allowed to go in and out of both. this AM...i had 4 male patients. all were wonderful to work with. every time i go takes time to adjust to culture...and every time i leave....i am left with the thought that....there are wonderful people all over the world. they are gracious here and want to be seen by me. a man yesterday asked if he could come back today just to be seen by me. humbling.

i am adjusting well...getting over sweating all day and learning to appreciate even the hot days. today i was able to scrub in and watch a C-section....which is AMAZING!! i took some awesome pics for those who arent queasy at the sight of blood. watching the MD pull out this little bundle of life...made my eyes water. also made me want to go back to school...

8 days until my journey takes me to england for one last stop then dallas, texas. i have to be honest...i am looking forward to seeing my mom at the airport more than anything else. familiarity and comfort are 2 luxuries i havent had in 2 months. the Lord has taught me many things and grown my appreciation for my life. He has also burdened my heart with things i have seen here. we are RICH in america. RICH. we have so much to give and each of us is responsible to ask the Lord HOW WE SHOULD GIVE. He certainly has an answer. i pray that i would never forget the poverty i have seen. i pray that i am stirred to prayer and that my affections for the Lord and His truths are also stirred. i struggle with the fact that He is good...even in bangladesh. that He has provided His children here with all they need. i can not process that...knowing i live in abundance. i have NO idea what to do with what i have seen...and when you ask me how i feel about this trip...ill probably give you a blank stare as so much of my heart is trying to find resolution...which i know can simply NOT be found on this earth.

i do know: i serve a GREAT and MIGHTY God that is calling His children into the ministry. whether you are a PT, a teacher, a nurse, a minister or a basketball player...HE IS CALLING. missions are not overseas...they are in your home and next door. our LOVE alone will set us apart. be encouraged that touching just ONE life is enough.

ok ok...that was a moment of vulnerability. back to life here...i am about to give my rehab and gait training seminar here...with a translator. this should be interesting. the people are hungry for knowledge which again, is humbling. i have a gift in my education...that i am responsible to share. and...i love it.

so friends and family--i am off to seize the day. to share, teach, and love on people. you, too, have a day to make the most of. i love you have no idea how often you come to mind and how BLOWN AWAY i am by GODS GOODNESS.


megs <><

Thursday, June 12, 2008


the only word that comes to mind right now. alright, im being dramatic. thankfulness, mercy, and heat also come to mind :) well guys, last i wrote i was about to fly to london and thailand. those days are gone and were a blast. in london, we went to the natural history museum, victoria and albert, walked in hyde park, layed in kensington park, ate good turkish food, ect. in bangkok--we were complete and utter tourists. it was a blast!! we went to all sorts of temples--wait until you see these pics. we ate thai food--nothing like the states, mind you. but my favorite memory of all--was taking a longtail boat tour through the canals where you could see women washing clothes in the water and kids swimming. afterwards...i drank out of a coconut for the 1st time. my life is so rich.

thailand was busy, crowded and i felt like a giant in the land of petite people. the women were beautiful and dressed to the 9s at all time. i felt sloppy as im in clothes for 3rd world countries. i did get to shop a bit for gifts--and jewelry.

now for bangladesh--you guys...this place gives a new definition for heat. i DO have an AC in my room that i have to pay for at the end of the stay...and let me tell you--> ill sell my leather couches at home to have AC here for 2 weeks :)

i was definitely in culture shock upon arrival. here i am in the bangkok airport wearing a lime green (as in a it looks like a highlighter bled on me) muslim womens outfit. many guys my age--obviously america--as am i--stopped and looked at me quite confused. i felt confused to. there is a fine line with feeling like an impostor and being reverent. this for sacrificing my comfort and identity to serve the Lord. i am learning a lot needless to say. so yeah, there are 2 main outfits women wear here. there are NO jeans and t shirts as that is seen as being in your underwear...literally. women wear what i am sporting which is baggy pants and a shirt/dress that goes down to my calf ALONG with a scarf that drapes across the female parts. can you please fathom pants and a scarf when its 100 degrees?? oh yeah--the other is a sari--6 feet of fabric that is wrapped in all sorts of ways to form a dress. they are beautiful--and TOTALLY out of my league.

i get a room to myself here which is exciting. alone time is a necessity. the missionaries on the station are incredibly friendly--most have been here for 8+ years. i watched a movie at a missionaries house last night---with AC on and popcorn. its amazing how the little things are so great here.

tom we head to Coxs Bizaare...the longest strip of beach and YES, i have to wear my outfit there too. no bathing suits allowed. oh wait...forgot to mention there IS a pool here...with specific hours for girls and boys---and i was able to swim today. best feeling ever after sweating in church then going to a local village for tea--inside---with no AC or fan.

so back to the beach--we are going there...BUTTTTTTTTTTTT before that....going to a park where i get to ride an elephant for get ready.......25 cents. yes people, for a quarter a HUGE mammal will bend his/her knee to let me sit on her back!!! im excited. i also forgot to mention i went to a giraffe feeding park my last day in nairobi...and i have the best pic of me putting a small piece of food in my that the giraffe would kiss me to eat it. my eyes are squinting closed so tight....basically, i was being a wimp. you try having a HUGE, BLUE slimy tongue coming at your face. what an adventure.

ok--i know this blog has been random...but im dripping sweat and trying to included everything. i have not been into the actual hospital here but as i understand it--i will be working with women mainly as women can not work with men culturally. i am looking forward to meeting the PT aides here...and learning how they practice. i will be giving a rehab and gait training seminar here as well--next week.

please pray: that i would be culturally sensitive as there are mostly muslims and hindus as patients.

that the climate would not prevent me from enjoying myself and loving on the people

that i would have 1 corinthians 13 type of love for them

that i would NOT get sick

that i will not burn out

thank you for your prayers and support--you truly sustain me as brothers and sisters in Christ.

oh and this post is dedicated to helen clark and ashley johnson who have both so kindly reminded me...that i havent blogged lately :) love to you both.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sky time...

well guys, ill be getting a lot of that in the next week. today--we go to nairobi for our LAST day in kenya. we have a late flight to london which will arrive early tom AM. from there--1.5 days in london which is WELL needed. i am really looking forward to spending some time with my friend nicola (whom i went to see in december)-it will honestly be really nice to be around someone who knows me. so yeah--then we are off to bangkok for 2 days--really looking forward to that--i want some thai food and to walk around and sight see. from there--bangladesh. i think we arrive there sometime at the end of next week---please pray for safe flights, smooth travels, and that we would be energized by the time we get to bangladesh. from what i hear--ill be sweating day and night--a complete change from this wonderful place. its 75 degrees and perfect in kijabe, kenya. im not keen on hot weather--although it will get me ready for what i hope to be--one of my LAST texas summers. we shall see.

alright--i will keep you all posted. cant wait to share stories face to face and hear about your life since ive left.



Monday, June 2, 2008

ants, elephants and madaraka day...

good morning friends and family! today is a glorious day--it is a holiday in kenya and i got to sleep in. so nice. i am now leisurely writing this blog, sorting through the many gifts i bought/got ripped off for at the market yesterday, and im hoping to get a football game together later on today. most people left the mission station this weekend--as it is a 3 day holiday. i am so thankful to just BE HERE.

this weekend was awesome. here is a re-cap.

sat--went on a hike from kijabe (where i live) to hopefully see a waterfall. i mentioned this previously. anywho, it was a pretty large group including my LEGS team, an MD and his wife, 2 college guys staying with them, and 2 armed guides. what was supposed to be a 2 hr hike---took 4.5 hrs b/c the guides misunderstood our desire to the see "the highest/biggest waterfall" to mean...we want to hike to the highest place. well....this led us up a path that was NOT a path...the soil was wet from rain last night....and there were HUGE ants all over the place. all you could hear were people screaming...and slapping their legs. i was slightly annoyed....b/c we finally get to the waterfall...and its small and not impressive. the terrain was impressive but its hard to be impressed...when you have HUGE ants (which i later learned--desire to rip off a piece of flesh) climbing up your pant legs and heading due north. we all hauled tail down the mtn to get to the strip and pick them off one another. a classic trip.

sat night a few of us went into nairobi for dinner with the Gokens (the MDs family) and the 2 college guys. it was an outdoor sitting venue but a food court style arrangement with food from all over the world. i opted for thai...not to be disappointed. for an appetizer--an ostrich sandwich. had to try it while i am here. tastes a bit like beef but more gamey in flavor. interesting none the less. also to be noted--had a MARVELOUS latte.

sunday was a blast--we piled into a van and went to nairobi. first stop, AN ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE!!!!! im telling you...i kindly "guided" people out of my way as i wanted to see the little guys. i ended up getting a great place to stand and for an hour--we watched, touched, and took pics of 7 baby elephants. such a fun experience. only a thigh-level rope divided them from us--plus they all had "handlers"--so at one point, a medium-sized elephant walks towards us and backs into my friend, trevor...and stepped on his foot. the crowd was laughing. so yes, i saw an elephant. im not quite i want to see one in the wild. one day.

from there--we had ethiopian food again. so fun. they bring out 2 HUGE platter of veggies and unidentifiable meat (which i steer clear of)--and you eat with your hands and these rolls of sponge-like bread. it is surprisingly tasty. next--MASAI MARKET--the masia are a tribe known for their warriors, artwork, ect. i picked up some additional gifts and things i dont need :)

regarding last week's seminar--i think it went well. i can not read the crowd--b/c they are so culturally different. typically, in a physical therapy setting--people are asking questions and talking--but here, they sit very still and listen. all in all, i hope the information transferred and if not--i gave them books :)

this is my last week here--which blows my mind. when i think about all the places i have been since arriving and all the people i have met--i am amazed. my life is so rich.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Day by Day...

This week has been off to a slow start yet will end with a bang. I am giving my 2 day seminar—yes, they requested it be split into 2 days as people are traveling from around Kenya to attend. I will be teaching on rehabilitation and gait training to a crowd of professionals with variable degrees of experience. It always makes me a tad nervous to act like an expert on something—but here goes nothing :) if you are up at 6 am texas time—please pray that I am accurately conveying my points across cultural barriers. Thank you.

Life has been interesting here within the team. We are struggling to get the workers at Kijabe to work efficiently in order to create the prosthetic legs so that I can gait train then so that the other students can perform outcome measures on their walking. Obviously, I am unable to work with and teach someone to walk until the leg has been created….which means, I am basically in a holding pattern until thur/fri every week. I get frustrated knowing a patient needs more rehab than I will be able to give. It simply takes time and repetition. Life here is so different—as you can imagine. We take (they do—I am lactose intolerant)—chai tea breaks 2 x day—at 10 and 4 pm. These breaks can last anywhere from 15 to 45 mins. As you imagine, this is a good chunk of the day spent playing checkers and drinking chai. While it is fun, you should see the line of patients waiting on prosthetics/ orthotics. Do not misunderstand me—chai is served to everyone in the hospital. It is a custom. While I do enjoy the fellowship—I want more than anything to give quality rehab to people—and time is the limiting factor. Im sure you see where I am coming from—I will not beat a dead horse. Please pray that our team as well as the men working in the brace shop are as efficient as possible in order to give our patients the best products possible in a timely manner.

As I mentioned before—this is my LAST weekend in Kenya. Blows my mind ive been here nearly 3 weeks. I am just now finding my niche here in the hospital. Yesterday was pretty awesome—myself along with Ricc (the prosthetists that came with us from the US)—found a neuroma at the end of a 15 y/o patient’s residual limb. A neuroma is a collection of nerve endings or a knot that forms on the end of a nerve that is very painful and can not be put into a prosthesis until it has been removed. We were not sure who to refer the child to—so I walked to the hospital—spoke to the head surgeon—he was admitted on the spot—and will have it removed tom afternoon. SO DIFFERENT THAN THE US. I loved seeing the boy get taken care of. I wish you guys could see what I am looking at right now—our house is on the ledge of a hill—overlooking the rift valley. I can see 2 volcanoes and mountains in the distance. It is green with trees down below. So beautiful. Also, I can see mtns in Tanzania from here. UNREAL. Worship songs come alive to me from this view.

Weekend plans: Saturday—hike 2 hrs to a nearby waterfall and play with a group of people. Should be a blast. We have to hire an armed guide. Crazy! Sunday—going to Nairobi with a group of people to hit the Masai ( a tribe here) market, eat Ethiopian food again, and go feed baby orphaned elephants. I am so excited about the elephants…and im sure you all want me to feed them so ill shut up about it J Monday ) a holiday here---I might climb Longanot—a volcano—in hopes of seeing giraffe. Yes, the giraffe are my motivation b/c lets be honest—ive hiked enough to last a few years with Mt Kenya. I still can not believe I did that.

Alright-im off to get ready for the day as you guys are falling asleep. So weird to be so far from what is familiar. More to come—


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lions, rhinos and sunsets....

hello faithful readers :) this weekend was a time to relax and unwind after a pretty intense week. on sat AM we packed up a van with a private driver and headed to Nakuru Natl Park. as we approached the gate, we were greeted by monkeys galore. they are pretty much like pigeons in the states....just waiting for a dropped cracker. i could have sworn they staged the next scene: baboons playing on a branch, zebras grazing 20 ft from the car, wart hogs snorting, and a ton of deer-like things. there must have been 10 different deer-resembling animals there--but who can remember them when there were RHINOS and LIONS. oh man, i was going to save that until later :)

so as we continued on to our destination to check in--we had no idea what the accomodations would be like...i was pleasantly suprised. we were greeted with a warm towel infused with menthol to wash our faces/ hands. next came fresh juice...this is all on breezeway entering the hotel people. so awesome. as you can imagine...after hiking a mtn last weekend...i was wanting some r & r. the rooms were just as you would picture for a safari--equiped with a mosquito net around the bed, a quaint bathroom with wood trimmings, and a sweet front porch with a view of the lake. oh yeah, i failed to mention the national park has a lake--where all the animals seem to gather. the resort is on a hill facing the lake. i had to pinch myself multiple times.

the food was delicious--and it was all inclusive. so yes, i tried anything and everything. i loved the indian dishes--as they prepared foods for people from all over who were staying there. we thought everything was included ONLY to realize our fruit punch (FRESH pineapple, passion fruit, and mango--with fruit at the bottom--aka--nectar of the gods) was nearly 4 USD. oh well--guess its like starbucks...but WAY better. back to the food--every meal was an event--with soup, a main course, cheese, and dessert. all buffet style...but still classy. so unexpected.

here is how a safari resort works--wake up early to be in the car by 6:30 AM to see animals at their peek times (morning and dusk), return for breakfast, hang out until lunch (dont you love days based around food and fun?), gear up and go out at 4:30 pm to see more animals, tribal dancers at 7, dinner at 8, and hanging out by the fire until whenever. almost a perfect day.

ok ok--so you are wondering what animals i saw....or you should be :) well guys--God was good and i prayed very specifically--and He showed off His creation. we were able to see-- a black rhino (who came incredibly close to our car), 6 white rhino, baboons and monkeys galore, cape buffalo, zebras, deer-like things, hippos--even a mom and a baby, flamingos, pelicans, hyenas, jackals and last BUT certainly NOT least...a male LION resting on a small cliff. i jumped up and down in the safari van :)

to paint the picture---we had one of those vans you see on the discovery channel--where the roof pops up so you can stand and look out. very fun! you are NOT allowed out of your car--and why would you get out?? BIG animals everywhere. in the AM and at dusk---people are driving around--not traffic filled--but dispersed throughout the park. if you see a car stopped with people hanging out---you stop and look--for what they are seeing. such a rush!!

the lake was placid and beautiful. in the background--mountains and endless blue skies. the Lord blessed us with perfect weather. i was struck with the Biblical truth that God created ALL of these creatures...and put US over them. i felt prized.

after an unforgetable weekend--we drove to a nearby lake--rented a local guide and boat--and set out to see hippos--> we clearly had "animal fever". i was quite reluctant to get into a boat knowingly headed into crock/hippo infested water. im afraid of crocs and....deep water. what a great combination, eh? turned out to be really neat--we did NOT see crocs but we saw a family of hippos--as in around 20 of them. they were HUGE and definitely worthy of respect. the guide knew better than to get too close--for fear of the hippos flipping the boat. i was quite alright with distance. that is what zoom lenses are for :) i also saw a few giraffes and wildabeasts in the horizon by the lake.

so yeah, i have one more weekend in kenya and it is...MISSION ELEPHANT. it may not happen...but im going to try :)

the week ahead has 2-3 new amputees with 2 that stayed over this weekend due to slow production of sockets--in order to create the prosthetic limb. please pray that i would have more time to do gait training and rehab than i did with the last 3 men. their new legs were not made in time--thus--i didn't get to do my part. i have been doing exs and activities with them throughout the day--and working with kids in between--but i would like more time walking with them.

also, please pray for our leader, karen, as she is making big decisions and dealing with unexpected complications. as she said at dinner--pray for a wise head and a calm heart.

thank you all for reading and sharing in this adventure with me. the Lord is teaching me so much--and i think when i get home will be digestion time as now is survival. i love each and every one of you.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mountain top experience....

yes, friends and family...i reached the summit of mt. kenya's lenana peak--16,355 ft-- by GOD'S GRACE...sunday morning at 7:05 am. see this link for a pic as i am having difficulty loading pics from here:

we (myself, karen--on LEGS team, and 4 locals to carry bags, guide and cook) set out friday-- 9.94 miles through thick forest-- i saw zebras upon entering the park. yes folks, real zebras. so cool. after getting a late start, we ended up hiking a bit in the dark. not exactly a city girl's comfort zone knowing that rather large animals are nearby. many prayers were sent up and sounded a bit like this: dear Lord, i really want to see an elephant...but not at night and NOT NOW. protect me as my only weapon of defense is a water bottle.

all that being said, we safely arrived at base camp standing tall at 10,826 feet. by this time, i was struggling with altitude sickness (lets remember i am from sea level). not what you want to have on day 1 of a 4 day hike. so yeah, i was up all night sick and praying that the Lord would heal me. He was indeed faithful and i was able to continue.

saturday held a 9.94 mile hike to a 13,779 ft camp. the terrain was incredible and the hiking was challenging ( little did i know). we stopped frequently to look at wildlife and take in many different views of the valley and 3 peaks. it was incredible to see how the plant and animal life began to dissipate as we climbed higher and higher. sat night was rather rough as i was unable to breathe. not fun. it is a funny thing when you have to remind yourself how to breathe--in with your nose, out with your mouth, megan. not my idea of fun--but an experience nonetheless. it is increasingly more frustrating when you know that you have the hardest aspect of the hike-the summit--awaiting you at 2:30 am. yes, we began the ascent in the early AM so that we could reach the top before the clouds roll in. it is unreal how quickly they cover the mountains.

sunday morning we set out with the moon as our flashlight and headed 3.10 miles uphill for summit. i specifically remember thinking--this is CRAZY and if my mom knew i was doing this--she would die. i also knew--there was no other option but getting to the top. so picture this: its 2:30 am, pitch black, and we are hiking at somewhere around a 45 degree angle on gravel-like rock for nearly 5 hrs. yes, 5 hours uphill. this was the part of the trip i somehow overlooked in the description---or else i would not have signed up :) oh and you must know it was somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees and im wearing EVERY layer of clothing i brought--and i look like the kid in The Christmas Story :) altitude sickness was the theme of the day (again)--and i literally dry heaved up the mountain and puked the way down. good times. there was a point that i prayed that someone in the states was praying for me--so that i could get through. that was the 1st time ive ever cried out for someone else to pray for me--due to exhaustion. so--if from around 7 to midnight on sat night--you thought of me and prayed--thank you. it was heard :)

the summit was unreal--cold and full of God's splendor. when i think about the Lord--i think of His beauty and then...the ALL-powerful aspect that is somewhat unsafe. that is what the mountain embodied. majesty, splendor, glory, creation YET dangerous. i felt ALIVE.

a valuable lesson was learned: you CAN, in fact, push through sickness and accomplish a task. im so accustomed to home: you feel sick, you lay down. that was not an option. it was awesome to see that the body can keep going as long as the mind is on board. im pretty proud of myself :)

the hike down took 1.5 days and my favorite part was through a bamboo forest where i hoped to see---but didn't--elephants. i saw fresh tracks, HUGE piles of poop, but no elephant. maybe it was the Lord protection. all in all...HE is good, faithful, and the keeper of my steps.

that brings me to today--my 1st day with amputees. we had 3 guys come in from all around kenya. they have been walking on the LEGS knee for 1+ years but all need new sockets--the aspect that holds the residual limb--due to weight gain. as i met with peter, kenneth ,and joseph today, i heard how they lost their legs and each one shared how the Lord has used this to reveal Himself. i am humbled to serve these faithful men.

i am currently teaching a therapist, michael, to evaluate and gait train amputees. he is eager to learn and we get along well. your prayers are being by day. i feel them...and for that, i am overwhelmed with gratitude.

please continue to pray for the amputees to arrive safely, for God honoring relationships between us and the AIC CURE workers, and most importantly--that the Lord's work would take place.

you are loved,


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The task ahead....

is a BIG one :) today is the day to begin my hike to mt. kenya. im both nervous and excited...seeing as i live at sea level. i am going to put in this entry, then pack, then leave at 9 am (noon texas time). oh but wait...i failed to mention....i have porters (carry bags) and people to cook for me. i have NO idea how this works--just that it will be me, karen, and a team of men to help with everything. how fun?! please pray that i can hike with altitude being the limiting factor, that we are safe, that we have fun, and MOST OF ALL...that i see an elephant!!! :)

the last few days have been pretty unreal working in the hospital. im telling you--these kids are light years tougher than americans--and they are disciplined. they sit when told to...and dont move. they do everything i ask...which as you can rare when working with prediatrics. so much of my day is spent showing the therapists how to use the tools they already have. its pretty amazing to see all the equipment donated...but they have NO idea what to do with it. im having a blast putting braces on kiddos and showing them how to walk with them!!

This week we had our 1st amputee--a 15 y/o boy who lost his leg 7 years ago and has never been fit for a prosthetic limb. He was extremely shy but seemed excited when I explained that if he does his exercises and wraps his leg every day--he will be able to have a new leg in 2 weeks when he returns. He smiled. He was not a patient we were expecting...but I am so glad he came. I am looking forward to showing him the initial phases of gait training. These kids are stoic---beyond measure. We asked him his address---and he doesnt have one. He is an IDP (internally displaced person) within Kenya due to the recent "crisis". Basically, he was driven off his families land (shamba) during the tribal wars. Im telling you---those stories change COMPLETELY when you have a face to go with them.

Yesterday was tough--as my day ended with shadowing an OT in the hydrocephalus/ burn ward. As we were walking into the room, a german PT named Marinka mentioned to me that these children are from the church burning. The church burning took place when some Kikuyu people (a tribe) were being burned off their land by the Luo (an opposing tribe)--so the parents and their children took refuge in a church thinking NO ONE would burn down a church. WRONG. 50 people perished and these 4 children in the burn ward---survived. I could barely stand there as i was fighting back tears. Innocent children--burned from head to toe--yet smiling and looking forward to PT. unreal.

Next week--up to 6 amputees are coming from all around Kenya. Please pray for their safe arrival as roads are not the safest here. I am really looking forward to putting all my preparation to use.

Oh and in other news--i am learning phrases and words in swahili and LOVING IT!! it is a really neat language with an accent similar to spanish.

Oh and one last story--I was walking home on Wed after a long day of work and in my own world. and sometimes, i forget where i am when im tired. anyways, i hear this strange sound--then look up in the trees--and there is a monkey. yes friends, a REAL, LIVE MONKEY. then i remembered....I AM INDEED IN AFRICA!!!



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Traveling Mercies

Greetings from Kijabe, Kenya!! I am battling a stomach flu-like thing right now but other than that-- I am great! Please pray that this sickness will pass soon. It hit me around 11:15 am this AM thus I am home blogging right now in between trying to sleep it off. This morning I went to the children's hospital and worked with a few kids and assisted with a seriel casting for a child with club foot. Some people speak English but most of the children and families from rural areas speak primarilty Swahili. I am learning a few words a day which is pretty funny.

I want to recap my days thus far. Lets take it back to the 9th—where we boarded a flight at 17:30 headed for London Heathrow. A cramped flight to say the least—but I sat next to a nice Italian man that was fun to coversate with. We must have stood in the back of the plane for a good 1.5 hours just talking about life, comparing/contrasting Italian and Spanish, and stretching our cramped legs. 10 hrs is a LONG time in the sky. Anywho, that flight landed in London at 8:30 in order to catch our 10:30 to Nairobi. All would have been well EXCEPT we made it all the way to customs/security…and I could NOT find my passport anywhere. WORST CASE SCENARIO. I had what was as close to a panic attack as I have ever felt. I tore my bag apart, which was filled to the brim, all the while the line is steadily moving. I could barely hear and I could feel my body temp rising steadily. Then it hit me…the last time I remember seeing it was on the plane. I prayed and I ran. The BA people were less than helpful…and I was in no state for conversation. I knew that I wanted back on that plane before they moved it. I finally found a woman who let me on…and I sprinted to my seat, tore through the seat pocket, and there it was. THANK YOU LORD. You are indeed faithful to the faithless. We quickly made it through security as I white-knuckled my passport. I still can not believe that happened.

Anyways, the flight to Nairobi was 8 hrs and I slept the entire way with 4 seats to my lonesome. Thank you again Jesus. After my adrenaline had kicked it with the incident…I was whipped. I slept the majority of the way, woke up to eat, and watch Juno. The airport in Nairobi was a culture shock. A tad scary if Im honest. The whole place is scary, to be honest. If I had never seen movies such as Hotel Ruwanda or Blood Diamond…I would be ok. Its hard to get those images out at this point. Silly, I know as none of those took place in Kenya. Anyways, our luggage all arrived-> thank you Lord. We were picked up by a driver and taken to the Smiths apartment. They have been missionaries in Kenya somewhere around 25 years. Pretty awesome people who have done amazing things. We all crashed there for 2 nights and got acclimated. The first night we arrived around 9:30 and just crashed. Then woke up and went to church. It was a 15 min walk to the African Inland Mission (AIM) where we walked into a church unlike anything I have seen. It was so neat to sit in the presence of other believers speaking in other languages yet we sang in English as well. The message was in English which was great. He taught about resisting temptation—using the strength of Christ. He said that faith is believing in the dark what the Lord had promised in the light. That is what I took away. My favorite part was listening to people sing in Swahili. So neat. Their voices carried unlike any other. After church, we were invited for chai and cookies seeing as we were new…and stook out a bit. After tea, we walked to an Ethiopian restaurant which was awesome. Very different from anything I have ever experienced. We ate outdoors and the place was beautiful. I actually liked a few of the dishes…problem is i will never remember the name of the food I liked. I guess ill just ask for the orange stuff. It rocked. I tried the meats but find that I am not much on foreign meats…at all.

Then we headed to the house for rest. We quickly decided to go to the Masai market to shop for a bit. I walked with mrs smith and she showed me where the recent “crisis” took place. It was rather earie…walking on the exact street where war took place 2 months ago. Something interesting about Kenyans is they all welcome you to Kenya then tell you how safe it is now. Its like they know they survive on tourism. Crazy. I bought a few things at the market. Had a blast overall. Kenyans are just as bad as Mexicans in nagging you to buy anything and everything. I found them to be easier to haggle with…maybe because they speak English and are a tad desperate due to the crisis. It was fun, all in all.

That brings me to 5/12/2008—we woke up this AM, had breakfast and headed out to every hardware store in Nairobi. It took all morning and we did not find what we needed…but I had fun just running around and looking. This place is pretty amazing. As we headed out of Nairobi to Kijabe—we passed what I thought to be quintessential Africa. Shanties and dukas…or stores. Seeing those babies running around everywhere barefoot…stirs my heart. The drive was beautiful although I left the window open the entire time in order to escape sickness. We stopped at the Great Rift Valley ledge so we could take pics…of course, we were swarmed with people selling nothing I wanted. They would NOT understand why we would not want to buy something. You have to be firm and direct with them…but can you really blame a man for trying to sell an elephant…to feed his family. Arriving at Kijabe was a bit tiring…so I napped for 2 solid hours with the windows open. Katie and I are sharing a room with bunk beds. Its nice. Felt good to unpack all my stuff and put the suitcase away. This afternoon we walked up to AIC CURE and met the staff. I love the fact that I will be able to work with peds.