Sunday, August 9, 2015

Quick Recap of First 6 months of 2015

So we are having to apologize again for not posting on our blog for awhile. It has been very busy and we often don't have good enough internet to post anything. We have written a couple posts over the past few months but have been unable to post them, so this post will include a couple of them plus additional items and updates. Unfortunately, due to internet issues, we are going to have to post just words without pictures at this time.

January Birthdays

Happy birthday Rebekah and Lori (well, a little bit late--actually, really late now)! We remember celebrating Lori's birthday when she was pregnant with Rebekah. The next night we went to the hospital with Lori in labor. On the morning of January 10th, we were holding our new baby girl. That was almost 3.5 years ago now! Time sure does go by quickly!

For Rebekah's birthday, Lori planned a fun day of games with the missionary families at BMC and one from Kumasi, as well as a few other people from Nalerigu. The theme for the day was apples. The games included bobbing for apple slices in a bowl of chocolate pudding and balancing apples on the head while walking, among other things. Lori also prepared a delicious cake for the celebration.

Every time that Lori has a birthday, Rebekah's comes so quickly after. It is hard to celebrate two separate ones so close together, so we settle on either doing it together or at least only one cake being made. Lori has traditionally had a strawberry cake for her birthday, but strawberries are a little difficult to find in Ghana. However, she was able to get a hold of some, so we made her a cake and celebrated her birthday a little while after her actual birthday.

Our First Nalerigu Wedding

   On Saturday February 7th, we attended our first Nalerigu wedding. There was a nurse at the hospital who was getting married and asked Tim to come. We tried to prepare ahead of time, not knowing what to expect. We had wanted to have some Ghanaian outfits made, and this was our perfect opportunity to wear some. We all picked out some fabric and a design to have made.  Unfortunately, the girls dresses were not completed until after the wedding, but Tim and I were able to try our new outfits. We also began asking about what would be happening at the wedding and what Mampruli phrases we should try to say.
   Although Tim was on call for the hospital, Dr. Coppola graciously covered for the couple of hours that we were gone. We chose to walk to the wedding, which took more time than we anticipated. It was fun as we saw people's reactions to us wearing native clothing. Several people also were stopping us along the way in order to speak to us and to try to teach us more Mampruli. As we were nearing the area where the groom's house was, we saw a group of mostly young men proceeding away from the groom's house. We found out they were part of the wedding, and they had us follow them to the bride's house.
     When we approached the bride's house, most of the group stayed outside the compound, but a few went in to let the bride's family know that they had come for the bride. After standing outside the house for a little while, we were then escorted to the groom's house. There we were ushered into the house where the groom was sitting surrounded by some of his friends. He quickly came to greet us and found a place for us to sit. He then gave us bags with take away lunches. Various friends and relatives of the groom came and went while we were there. It was interesting to meet and speak with so many new people. The most interesting was a group of sisters. Rebekah enjoyed playing with one of the ladies' 3 month old daughters, while we were able to focus on conversations. Tim and I both laughed at their expressions as Tim explained to them that he will only marry one woman with whom he will not abuse or cheat (to which I am very thankful). They proceeded to ask about if Tim would find another wife if I were sick or if I died. They went on to explain their family situation, same father with different mothers. Their father had 5 wives, but has divorced 2 of them. They spoke of how there was always fighting amongst the wives. We were not able to share the gospel with them in words, but they seemed open to conversations in the future.
   After sitting for about an hour, we had to begin our return trip home. We gave the groom our wedding gift and thanked him for the invitation. As we began our walk back, we came across the group of young men that we had met at the beginning. They announced to us that the bride would be coming soon. I wanted to see the bride, so we waited for a few minutes near her house. When she did not come quickly, we had to return to the hospital. Tim had to return to work. We were sad that we could not be more of a part of the experience of a northern Ghanaian Muslim wedding, but we were glad to better understand the culture here. We were told that the bride would eventually come and there would be celebration and dancing until daybreak the next morning.

The Escarpment

   In Northern Ghana, about an hour drive away from the hospital is a beautiful lookout towards the north, called the escarpment. We had been to visit this place once before when Lori and I were here in 2010. At that time, it was the rainy season, and all of the grass on the path from the car up to the top of the hill was about shoulder level or higher. This time, in February, it was the middle of dry season, so all of the grass had either died or was burned, so it was much easier to see where we were going. We went with the Hauns, the long-term IMB missionaries at BMC right now, as well as several of the volunteers that were here that month. Rebekah enjoyed running around and laying on the rocks that were at the top of the lookout. Abigail had actually taken her first steps the day before we went to the escarpment (and two days before her 15 month birthday), but she stayed mostly in the carrying pack since the terrain was a bit rough. Since February, we have been to the escarpment another two times with different volunteers, and Abigail has enjoyed getting to climb around some more.

Mole Park and goodbye to the Coppolas

   There is a game park in the Northern Region of Ghana, about a 6 hour drive away from the hospital, called Mole Park, and it is well known for watching elephants, especially in the dry season. There were some extra volunteers at the hospital in March, so we took a week's vacation and visited the park. We stopped in Tamale, about a 3 hour drive away, on the way to and from the park, and this allowed us to get some car problems fixed (new battery and two new tires), do our bulk grocery shopping, as well as visit some of the places that we never get a chance to on our usual whirlwind one-day grocery shopping Tamale trips. It was a much more relaxing time doing it this way.
   At Mole Park, we were able to finally eat many of the Ghanaian dishes that we had heard about but not had a chance to try yet, including TZ (tuo zaafi), rice balls, and okra stew. They were all very delicious. We ate at the park's restaurant, and we had visitors (monkeys, baboons, and warthogs) for breakfast and lunch. One of the monkeys even jumped onto our table and took our bowl of jelly one morning, and then he proceeded to sit next to the pool and lick the bowl clean. One morning, we took a walking tour down to the watering hole to see some elephants. It was fun to watch them interact and play with each other, and we were able to get some good, relatively close up (~50 yards away) pictures of them.
   We arrived back at the hospital the day before the Coppolas left, so we were able to say goodbye to them. Thank you Mark and Lynn for your service here in Nalerigu! Rebekah still sometimes refers to their house as the Coppola's house, even though it has now been a few months since their departure.

April, May, and June

   We had our first resident from JPS, Mariah, come and do a rotation at BMC in April. It was nice to have a familiar face from back home for a little while. She was a big help at the hospital, and we hope that she learned a lot while she was here. The hospital also hired a new Ghanaian doctor, Dr. Emmanuel, during April, and it looks like he will likely be staying here for long-term.
   In May, we had two other JPS residents come for a rotation, Chris and Allison. Chris came with his wife and two kids who were close to the same ages as Rebekah and Abigail, and our girls enjoyed their visit a lot. 
   Both April and May were very busy at the hospital. I tried my best to pass on to the residents what I had learned over the past year working at a mission hospital. I did a handful of surgeries for ectopic pregnancies, several C-sections (for placenta previa, uterine rupture, twins, and others), and Mariah and I tried out a make-shift bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure- used to help keep the airway open on babies with certain lung problems). Unfortunately, the bubble CPAP did not work very well for the first baby, but I have used it a few other times since then with success.
   In June, there were some veteran volunteers that came, Dr. Faile and Dr. Shumpert, so we took a vacation and got to see our parents for a little while (and more importantly, they got to see their grandchildren). 
   The day after we got back from our vacation, the Hauns had their baby-naming ceremony (a common tradition in the region) at their house on the compound. Heidi had delivered a beautiful baby girl at the hospital a week or two previously. There were lots of people from town and the hospital that came to support them and pray for the new baby.

So that is the quick recap of January to June 2015. We hope to post future blogs a little more regularly, as well as some pictures, if our internet allows :) 


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