Monday, November 24, 2014


Young girls carrying heavy loads

Stephen and Dr. Green returning after a day of surgery

Making a fence out of dried grasses
We see many donkeys around town

A busy intersection in Soddo

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the farm....

Some of you may be wondering what is going on in Impfondo during our absence...

We have some good news: DR Congo is declared Ebola free

From Lauren Lunsford via Facebook:

One of my favorite parts about being a nurse is watching the formerly critically ill go home.
This is Mondesi. The doctors told his family repeatedly that they should prepare for his death, that he wasn't going to make the week. He had sickle cell, severe malnutrition, multiple abdominal surgeries, and needed abscesses cut open every week. BUT he had a mother and an aunt who prayed for him without ceasing. When one woman wanted to sleep the other would get on her hands and knees and pray so that someone was always praying. This boy could not even sit by himself without excruciating pain and weeping. And yesterday I watched him literally pick up his mat and walk home. God is a God of miracles even for today.

{Read more about Mondesi's story: Despite Our Presence or Absence}

This is Esther. She came in a few months ago very malnourished after drinking lye. She had a G-tube placed and is looking significantly better. It's so nice to see success stories every once in a while. 

 On Reigning in Life, Sarah Tenpenny shares about HIV Counseling
Often patients are diagnosed with HIV for the first time at the hospital. Our lab workers do their best to tell them about their diagnosis but sometimes it takes time to truly sink in. Often after they hear the words, “you have HIV” nothing else is heard after that. For so many years in Africa the disease was a death sentence. Over the last few years, especially due to PEPFAR that President Bush put into place a few years back to fund AIDS medication, this in no longer the case. The problem is, each patient must come back in regularly for medications and testing.

It takes significant time and kind, loving words to share this diagnosis. One such patient recently came into clinic with a new diagnosis, but understanding little. Her first questions was “How long do I have to take these medications?”. She was totally shocked and started crying when we told her “for the rest of your life”. She refused and got up to leave. Through kind words of encouragement and prayer the young woman began to accept this. We prayed with her and she committed herself to the treatment for her disease and better understood that she had not really been given a death sentence.

From New Sight Congo
Happy Patients, Happy Staff, Happy us.
Have a happy day!
With love and thanks from the Congo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Out and about in Soddo

A few pictures from the town of Soddo...

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 things you might experience as a TCK

Stephen teaching
the nurses to use the PPE
Growing up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK) brings some interesting opportunities your way.  Here are some things you might experience.

1. Your cat wakes you up at 4:30AM to admire the bat he killed.  "Good kitty!  Now can I go back to sleep?"  The same cat may have been known to bring a "not dead yet" rat to play with under your bed.  But all is forgiven when you remember that one time that he cornered the potentially poisonous snake that had entered your bedroom.

2. Not only do you know more about Ebola than the average person in the US; you know more about Ebola than the average medical professional in the US.

3. When people come to the door looking for your father, you can tell them, "He is not here; go to the hospital"  in three languages.... even if you prefer to say, "Mommy, somebody's at the door looking for Daddy!"

Baby Honey Badger
4. School is often interrupted by interesting animals.  Who else gets a honey badger offered at their front door?  Unfortunately, your mom turns them away every time.

5. You don't get school delays due to bad weather or power outages.  But you do get delays for things like your mother biking to the ATM to get cash to buy diesel fuel so that your father can do surgery.  (What would we call that type of delay?)

Along the same lines as delays- you don't get snow days.  But you do get surprise days off for things like "We almost evacuated, but then we didn't and we really need a day off."  Since that's too long, we'll just call them "mental health appreciation days!"

6. Your playground equipment is trees, and you have have more fun on that than any playground because you use your imagination.

Another plane ride
7. You have been flying since before you can remember, and you never worry about crashing.  Your biggest concern is who gets the window seat.  You may have been known to think it was funny to yell "We're going to crash!!" as loud as you can while the plane lands.  Good thing it was on a flight with few English speakers!

8. You've heard "Don't you know there's starving kids in Africa?" when you don't want to eat your vegetables.  You know that eating those green beans or not eating them isn't going to help the kids one way or another.  While you are willing to help with the preparation and delivery of malnutrition supplements, those green beans are staying on your plate!  After all, whatever you don't eat won't go to waste.  It will be eaten by an employee or patient in the hospital.  You're off the hook.  ;)

Caleb in Thailand
9. While most kids are discouraged from playing with matches, your parents are just glad that you can light the candles when the power goes out- again.

10. You have a desire to visit all the continents of the world, and you have a good start by the time you are seven years old - four checked off- North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  Caleb really wants to go to Australia next, and I told him I would love to go with him.  For Antarctica, he's going to be on his own!

* Bonus: You have a "swat to kill" order on all cockroaches in the house.  You can earn 30 minutes of game time on the computer or other devices.  The opportunities abound!

We spend lots of time
looking at this map!
More reading:
Twenty Four Reasons I Love the Fact that My Kids are TCK's
Funny Things Third Culture Kids Say
Raising Resilient MKs
Living Between Worlds- A Post on TCKs

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Soddo Christian Hospital

Front Gate
Guard station

Emergency Room entrance


Random sheep- I'm not sure if he's there as an all natural lawn mower or a food supply

Eye clinic seen from the main street

Our guest house
You can read the history behind the hospital:
History of the Mission to Soddo, Pt 1
History of the Mission to Soddo, Pt 2
A Church Born in War- History, Pt 3
Medicine + the Gospel- History, Pt 4

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


We arrived in Soddo Friday evening, and jumped right into life here.
Stephen spent Saturday morning rounding with the ortho doctors- a change of pace for him.
Since the pediatrician is currently traveling, they also had him check on one of their pediatric patients.
I spent the morning visiting some of the shops.
I was most impressed with the beef- inexpensive and great quality!
The kids spent the morning on the playground, trampoline, and in the trees.

See more pictures of our first morning on Facebook.


Nov 2- Lunch with friends on Stephen's birthday

Nov 3- Waiting at the Brazzaville airport

Nov 4- The streets of Addis Ababa

Nov 5- This picture shows the juxtaposition between poverty and wealth in Addis Ababa
Nov 6- The kids are enjoying some food & drinks in one of the small cafes