Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Home

We are unpacking the last of our boxes as we move into our permanent housing for the rest of our term, and are very grateful to have had Matthew from our MCC team mobilize a team to help us move.

We spent the last 2 months only a short distance from here on another compound. Our kids had a great time playing with friends through the summer holiday- Tire swing, football (soccer), water fights, cooking lunches together, video games, ultimate Frisbee, another trip to the Yankari game preserve and warm springs, and watching old reruns on DVD in the evening (anyone remember the Flying Nun?). Just the kind of summer I would wish for them right now. The girls came out to the hospital a couple of times to help in the clinics and I hope next summer to involve all of the kids even more- lots to learn and the staff and patients really enjoy seeing them.

The last couple of weeks have once again seen more violence breaking out in northern Nigeria, although fortunately not in Jos. Sadly, there was quite a lot of loss of life. The clashes seem to have been mostly between a very fundamentalist Islamic sect and government forces.

We are still enjoying our work at Vom very much. I have increasingly little to do with the TB Unit as Charlotte and Nurse Vick become more familiar with the TB program. The HIV/AIDS clinic has added another day to see patients and we are hoping to open the expanded clinic space for use by the end of the month. The clinic functioning continues to improve as the staffing has gained more consistency. There are still lots of challenges, but it feels like we are moving forward. (You may recall that the primary physician, Dr. Young, who was instrumental to the clinic’s start and running, needed to move to Australia recently- So we are still very much adjusting to her absence as well.) We enjoy the deepening relationships with work colleagues as well as getting to know some patients, although we have also begun to experience seeing patients that we know dying from their illnesses.

MCC team meetings were held in Miango at a retreat facility at the end of July- It is a very relaxing place with good food and even a good electricity supply there. We had a nice time getting more acquainted with the other team members and their families. Our family had also been out to Miango with some other friends for a couple of days earlier in the month. Things are especially beautiful here during the rainy season. There are few things I enjoy more than to be working in the clinic during a downpour, with a fresh breeze blowing through and the sound of the rain on the zinc roof (OK- perhaps a Sunday afternoon nap, in bed with the cool breeze and the rain pouring down). Harvest is also coming in- lots of potatos and other things- some of which make tasty snacks sold roadside.

Our cat had kittens last month (in spite of our attempts to prevent that). She seemed too small and young but did very well with the 2 kittens she had. It was amazing how this somewhat cantankerous, finicky, “it’s all about me and what I want” cat suddenly knew exactly what to do and had never looked so happy in her life as she luxuriously curled around the kittens, purring away, taking perfect care of them. They’re now just old enough to start jumping around and are exploring the house- a pretty fun time.

Our new home is called “the Blue House”- in reference to its color, not mood. It is the second story flat on a Danish Lutheran compound, located at a very busy intersection called the Secretariat Junction. The flat is high enough that we have an
interesting view out over the hustle and bustle of city life, along with an unimpeded access to the hundreds of horn blarings that go on throughout the day. (Horns are used much more liberally here as they are in many countries. The Lorry drivers in particular like to announce that they are coming through and the horns can be quite piercing.) The view to other side is of the
beautiful compound- Mango, frangipanni and orange trees. We share the compound with a Danish family, the Lauritzens, that we are friends with. The flat below us is used by a couple who come sporadically throughout the year for short stays. We now have a generator and a bigger fridge that MCC has provided for us- We are very grateful. Electricity supply in Jos continues to be sporadic.

School has just started for the children. They were a bit anxious but are enjoying seeing their friends. I attended the chapel service yesterday morning- lots of new kids as well as staff. I guess that is an important part of life in such a mission community- getting used to people coming and going. We continue to be grateful for the opportunity for our kids to school with children from all around the world as well as Nigerians.

Hope you all are doing well where you are. Randy