Gardens And Growing

As I sit and write this, the drizzle is still drizzling outside, and I am wearing a sweatshirt to fight off the chill in my bones.  Two reasons for the chill, the air is a bit cooler now with the rainy season upon us and I have been fighting a nasty chest and head cold for a few days now.  I just spent the last two days in bed sleeping.  I don’t know if these things just get more severe with age or if the flu/cold strain here is more violent.  I just know that this has really knocked me for a loop.  Thank God I am on the mend and have plenty of boxed apple juice to drink.  It has been my mainstay.

The rains have become steady and also more abundant this last week.  Every day it is a torrential downpour, bending the maize plants to its will.  I spent so much effort and energy cultivating my garden only to have one torrential downpour cause all of my stalks to bow to the ground.  I felt like my plants had backslid or something!

Before the next torrent could come I was outside building small hills around each and every stalk, packing the dirt firmly around them.  It was no small task I tell you.  Now my plants withstand every storm that comes.  Whilst I was making repairs it caused me to reflect on our walk with the Lord.  There are times where our roots might be a bit shallow and the firm foundation has eroded away a bit.  When the storm comes we might not be able to withstand it and we are brought low for a period.  But, if we and our church family helps to shore up our foundation, making it firm once again, we can withstand any torrent.  That’s a good preach right there.

Earlier this week I made another hospital visit with one of our young boys.  He had, I deduce, a fractured shin bone.  It hurt to the touch and his ankle was swelling.  This happened Saturday afternoon.  Nothing to be done about it till Monday because the xray/cast guys don’t do weekends here.  So Monday morning we sit in this crazy mess of a line for one and a half hours only to be told that the xray guy is out of town and to come back in a few days!  Sorry, no can do.  I went to the cast guy and after looking at it he decided to cast it anyway.   The waiting area where we sat to wait for him is a dark alleyway type place in between the ward and the exit door.  There are a jillion cobwebs on the walls, there was a stray mangy mutt sleeping in the corner under a broken and rusted wheelchair.  There was water on the floor from last nights rain and we were sitting on steps and an old crate as we waited in the dark for our turn.

I really appreciate so much the medical care that we are so blessed with in the “real world” or is that the “other world”?  Can you imagine having to deal with this every day, never knowing if you will get any treatment at all?  I also have to laugh at the ludicrousness of the whole billing thing also.  Here I saw a doctor and received a cast for the boy and it cost me all of 15 SSP (about $3 USD).  Yet I go to the local market and pay 20 SSP for a can of Pringles potato chips (about $4 USD)?  Needless to say that I surely don’t do that very much at all here.  There is no price barometer basically.  No rhyme or reason for pricing, except that the things that westerners like are all marked high because they know we will pay it.

This week has also brought an influx of strange sores on our younger kids limbs.  One mama and a couple of older kids also have these sores.  The closest we can figure is that everyone lacks Vitamin C here because fruit season has almost passed.  So, we are now giving multivitamins to our children each night with dinner for a week and see how it goes.  And I found some oranges in the market and bought 140 of them!  The children were screaming with joy because they love “lemons”!!!  I also have been spending an hour each night after baths putting this foul smelling purple violet medicine on all their sores and bandages.  I have goner through at least 80-100 bandages each night.  I pray this works because these sores are very painful and some are causing swelling with infection.  Needless to say, my fingers are now stained purple in the cuticle beds.  Grace Jesus, grace…

I enjoyed my first ever salad in Sudan!  I picked my beautiful lettuce and bought all the fixins in the local market and made a big salad and shared with a few of my Sudanese family members.  They liked it very much.  I was so happy crunching on my salad.  So, it can be done, lettuce does grow here!

I think that this week has been one of reflection for me because much of what I thought about was the things that we take for granted in the USA.  For breakfast we get a piece of bread roll, nothing fancy, nothing on it, and a cup of tea.  I watch the children eat their bread, their eyes keeping watch for any falling crumbs.  They catch the crumbs and relish them as much as the bread, nothing ever going to waste.  I thought about how we go out to eat in the west and big plates of things are brought before us and have no thought whatsoever how blessed we are to have this abundance.  We can even leave it half finished and not give a second glance.  If I cannot finish my small portion here in Africa, it is common courtesy to offer it to the others and they eat it.  Nothing goes to waste as all are hungry.

The same can be said for the things of God.  I saw a picture, maybe posted on Facebook, I can’t remember, and it was of an extremely fat sheep, so fat it couldn’t stand up, lying on the grass contently.  The caption said something like, “Are you ever going to get out and disciple somebody are you just going to stay here?”  I guess that’s part of the reason I do what I do here.  I don’t want to stuff myself so full that I can’t go when the Shepherd calls.  I want to share my food, even when I am sick.  There is never a time that I get to eat my entire small roll because a baby always toddles up to me with her hand out.  And I give it to her gladly, never thinking about how hungry I am.  The Lord asks us to never worry about these things, what we shall eat or wear or go or do.  He says to follow the Shepherd where He goes and we will always have an abundance of all things we need.  This week, follow the Shepherd and give some stuff away, even the stuff you think you want, and see what He shows you.  It will be amazing, I guarantee it!