I hear the familiar splashing sound of someone drawing water from the well. In a matter of minutes I hear my family begin to chatter. Sunrise must be soon. I don't want to get up yet. It is finally cool and comfortable for sleeping. My body is still fatigued from a night shift I'd done the night before. Reluctantly I prop myself up with my elbow in my mosquito tent and feel around for my Bible. I ask for God to use me today.
It is not long before a clap at my door signals the beginning of breakfast. Directly after breakfast Pierre, my African father, starts up the motorcycle and we are off. The wind still has a morning coolness to it as we whiz past children running to get to school on time. We almost hit a pig. I duck down a little and close my eyes briefly just like every time I think we're going to hit something.
We are first to arrive for hospital morning worship. I sit down on one of the concrete benches and look up into the green expanse of mango branches. Large bats are flying back and forth. I squint my eyes trying to get a good look at their strange wolf-like faces. Degaulle, the landscaper has sat down and is peering through his trifocals at a Nangere Hymnal. Soon others join us as we sing a song or two. Then comes a worship thought and prayer requests.
After worship I head to the Surgical Department. On my way I stop to see Honorie, a maternity patient I had taken care of on night shift. She was already here when I came to Bere and I've watched her waste away. She had a ruptured uterus, had a wound infection after surgery and now is just failing to thrive. Last night I had to hold her head up so she could drink water dribbled into her mouth. This morning she looks like living death. I squat by her bed and call her name. She isn't with it at all. I bow my head and pray for God to either heal her or give her rest. Unable to help any more I move on to my department.
Nothing much is happening. Salomon and I fold dressings and sit on the desk swinging our legs. We talk and I attempt more French. Finally its time for dressing changes. Today I'll be doing them. We start on the hardest one. It is a man with a gaping wound in his upper thigh. I unwrap the bandage and pull out the packing. After pushing on it to get all the puss out I begin the painful process of cleaning the wound. I pack a bleach solution soaked compress down in the wound and it seem like I'll never get to the bottom. The man is in extreme pain but only whimpers softly. I breath a big sigh of relief and satisfaction when I'm done. I think he does too.
I walk down to hall to Maternity and find Honorie's bed empty. I glance up at Danae with a questioning look. Danae tells me she died 5 minutes ago. God answered by giving her rest. Danae had given her every antibiotic in the book plus nutrition shakes, and worked to strengthen her muscles. We all felt disappointed and sad.
After work I go over to missionary compound and spend some time with my friends. The kids are hanging out under the mango trees like they often do. We chat and laugh for awhile. Around sundown I figure it’s time to head for home. The full moon is up and beautiful in the faintly pinkish sky. At the split in the road I see some kids throwing a bucket lid like a frisbee. One of them overshoots and it lands close to my feet. I smile as I pick it up and throw it back. They giggle excitedly and throw it to me again. I move off the path a bit and now we have a triangle. We throw the bucket-lid frisbee back and forth. Soon more kids join and there is a lot of laughter. Kids take turns giving me high-fives and retrieving the lid the times I miss it. We hoot and exclaim over every good catch or botched throw. In the coolness of the dusk and under the beauty of the full moon I feel the sadness of the day melt away. I live moment by moment here, and this moment of playing with children is happy. We're carefree and having a big time. It gets too dark to see. After telling the kids we should play again sometime, I head home.
At home I settle on a mat with my family. The kids gather around. We start acting silly and singing the nursery song "Frere Jacques" with our noses pinched. I don't think the kids have every tried this trick. We all have some good belly laughs. After a while the kids all curl up and fall asleep. I'm right in the middle of them all thinking how blessed I am. This has been a typical day in Bere. It has had both hard things and fun things - sad times and happy times. I look at the moon until my eyes refuse to stay open. I drift off for few minutes before heading to my hut. My head lamp shines on my hut wall and reveals two things I wrote with chalk.
Kuma Kura and Dieu est amour.
God is good. God is Love.