Day 29 - Maasai
Isn’t it funny how we don't think were cool in America unless we have a big house, nice cars and all the latest name brands of fashion. Well here you’re cool... if you have the least amount of stuff! Yes most people here still try to gather all kinds of things to look cool and rich. None the less in the midst of all this commotion, every now and again you would see something different amongst the crowd of people, someone who was wearing just a red kanga wrapped around them with some simple sandals and carrying a stick or knife.... a Maasai! They are known for living among the lions, way out in the bush. They don't work or wear normal clothes, they just live life. They raise their own livestock and build mud huts in the middle of nowhere. They enjoy not doing much of anything at all other than growing old, yet they seem to be the "coolest" people ever. You can tell just by the way they hold themselves high when they walk that they are comfortable in their own skin.
We don't often see them in the city, so we left the city and went into the bush guided by one of the base staff. A small group had already been to visit them and they were excited to know that a larger group of us were coming back. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed in. I don't really know how to sum up our experience there other to say it was amazing. We sat around on mats under the trees and talked through a translator while drinking chi. We talked to the midwives of the village and listened in awe of how they bring babies out of the womb with no "technology". We had many questions for them as they had for us and we exchanged knowledge and laughs.
In the misted of talking a little girl’s hand bumped my head as I was sitting down and suddenly she just stared in shock, she tried to be inconspicuous in touching it again but she couldn't help but whisper to the girls around her about my hair... in a matter of minuets I was unable to count the number of little hands on my head. It was then that I realized, being the fact that they all had shaved heads and rough hair, we brought something new! When I turned around to look they all pulled their hands away quite quickly wondering what my reaction would be, so I reached back and pulled my pony tail out, then I put it back in so they could see how I did it, then I took my pony tail out again, and handed it to one of the girls and motioned to her that she could try. I soon had a line of little girls ready to try their hand at putting my hair up. Sometimes it felt good, other times not so much, but we all had fun.
Day 30 - Teaching... well at least we thought we were.
Our team has found a way to connect with a school nearby and they welcomed us to teach there... so we did. I went with a group to teach about malaria to a class of 12-14 year olds. We weren't sure how much they would know about it so we decided to be very basic. Upon arriving we found there to be 130+ students all sitting under a tree waiting for us to begin. We got all of our things ready, introduced ourselves, played a game and then asked "Do any of you know what malaria is?" Many students raised their hands and once one was pointed out she stood up and said "Malaria is a sickness caused by the female anopheles." Even though their knowledge on it was beyond what we thought it would be we went along with our teaching, drama and song ending it with a powerful testimony and praying for all of them. And they loved every bit of it!
Day 31 & 32 - first one, but not for me.
It wasn't my turn at the clinic either day so I wasn't there, but some of my teammates got to witness their very first births. There were three births over a 24 hour period that some students were able to take part in and it has been very exciting. I was even able to go to the clinic one evening and hold the little boy, Joshua, who was the first baby of the school year. The mom was only 15 years old. I'm not sure of the details of the other deliveries but I know it won't be long before I'm writing about being part of my own.
Day 33 - same but different
Baking cakes back home is a bit of a hobby for me so when the chance came to make a birthday cake of some of the team members I jumped on it! I must say it would have made me feel a bit more at home, but with no recipes, very few basic ingredients and a fire for an oven... it was quite different. None the less I was determined. It took a lot of adding, mixing, licking and even burning this and that, but in the end we found a way! We may have had to cut off the burnt bottom and cover it in flowers to try to hide our mistakes... but like I said, we found a way!
Day 18 - a life full of color
Evangelism: How do you do that when you can't speak the same language? I mean there are the times when we are giving small health care teachings in the clinic where we also share testimonies and pray over the women... but what about the women who are not at the clinic? How can we share the gospel when we are outside of the clinic and without a translator? Well you do the only thing you can do... you ask God for some crazy idea and you go for it!
While praying for the children during intercession nearly a week ago God gave me the idea to go back into the village I had already visited a few times, but instead of going with nothing, going with paper and crayons. What a grand idea God! There are many kids in the village. We had been told by Martha (a teacher that is also my roommate) that the children do not often have the chance to be very creative, even in school they learn only to copy what the teacher is doing. So the next day I teamed up with a few other girls and we set out for the village again. The village is just across the street, but it is rather large so I tend to go to a small area that has pretty much become my favorite stop since I have been able to build a relationship with a few of them. So this area is where we went, I also took a little translator book with us.
-I'm sorry there are not many pictures of everything going on here. Many people here believe that when we take a picture of them that we are also taking their spirits to unknown places. Even if they don't believe that, it temps some to steal and others to look at us only for money.-
It was great! We went over the hill and into the village and were welcomed right away! They brought out their sitting mats and we all sat down with them. Often time the kids are shy but they didn't hid behind their mothers too long once they saw all the colors we had, and we were holding out the colors for them. Their faces lite up and they all came and sat down and started coloring right alongside us. In the meantime I pulled out our translation book to see if I could get a bit of a conversation going, I showed them how the book took English words and told us the meaning in Swahili, and vise-versa. They thought it was amazing! I ended up with a crowd around me looking at the book. They would point at a word and tell me how to pronounce it in Swahili and then I would teach them how to say it in English. We didn't always pronounce things right, but we had fun. When it came time for us to go back to base we were able to tell them that we were going home but we would one day return... in Swahili!
Day 19 - Back with more than a book
We have been working on what we call "community profiling". We talk to as many women who are pregnant or have children as we can in order to find out what the needs of the community are and how we can better meet them. The only challenge we have is the language. We have a few friends from base that help us when they are free. So the very next day I went with another little group back to the village... but this time with someone who could translate more than the book could. We got to sit back down with the women and kids, but this time the focus was on the moms. We got to talk and laugh with them about all kinds of things! It was a true blessing and I can't wait to go back again.
Day 20 - Church without the building.
What are some of the first things that come to your mind when you think of church? Big building? Dressing up? Sitting in pews? Listening to the same man every week? But when God says he loves the church... does he mean a building? Clothes? Pews? One man? No! He thinks of all of his people... together! As one body. Everyone who knows God has a part of God to share. So rather than going to a church, we learned how to "make" a church right where we were. We got into small groups of five and we all offered to bring things like, Praise, prayer, word of God, communion, and "one another’s" (a way to encourage or listen to each other) and we were to simply let the Holy spirit lead it. We Praised God by coloring pictures of things we were thankful for, we prayed out simple prayers of thanks, we took turns reading a small passage out of Matthew and sharing what we learned from it, we ate almost a full meal for communion and wrote out things we liked about each other. It was more than likely one of the best services I had ever been to. We all took part in it and it was so simple that anyone could do it... even the people in the village!
Day 23 - Seeing for myself
Answer to my prayers! I had been falling behind on getting the required amount of community profiles done due to not being able to speak the language. But on this day I was given a translator all to my own as well as two others who could help me write out the answers (as we ask a list of questions). In one morning I was able to completely catch up by interviewing five women. One just next door, two on the other side of the market and two who ran a soda and chips (French-fries) shop. It's so nice to just sit and talk with the locals here. None the less it's hard to listen to the injustice their sometimes given and the hardships they have no way out of. The first lady I talked with had had four children... but only two living. Her 10 year old daughter had passed away just five months before due to a hole in her heart. She had been sick since the age of 2 and was in a long line to receive surgery, just as she was coming close to a date of operation, she passed away. The mom had a video of her on her phone, she was one of the most beautiful little girls I had ever seen, and in the video all she did was smile. It was impossible not to think of my own nieces and what I would have done had that been them. The other child she lost was due simply to a stressful labor. In the womb the child became distressed and ingested its own meconium and passed away just before being delivered. We could see the tears in her eyes as she told us about them, but not a tear fell. The women here have to be strong and accept that it is just life.
I realized that many of us can know the problems in the world; the difference in doing something is knowing the people.
Day 25 - A hard dream
Ah the clinic again! The clinic we are working in -until we get our working visa and go into the hospital- is rather small and there is rarely a woman in labor when we go there. Sometimes there is very little we can do. But we do small teachings when we can get a translator and take turns working in the different rooms. Back when I was only thinking about doing this school I knew would have hard days, but none the less I told myself I would be thankful because I was living my dream!
This day put that thinking to a little test. I was fumbling all over feeling like I was getting everything wrong, not by much, but none the less I was wrong. I know I'm just a student with a small bit of training trying to do what these women have been doing for years, as they watch me. The day was hot and I was sweating far more then I cared to. Information was slipping from my mind and I felt a bit lost wherever I was. I finally went into the injection room where I could simply watch and learn as needles were slipped into veins and muscles. I enjoy watching them do their job as watching one patient after another come in for something. After a half an hour I felt ringing in my ears and a heaviness come over me as the room started to spin. I knew I should not stay in there as I remembered one of the students describing this feeling just before fainting... the day before. So I left and sat in the empty labor room and drank a good amount of water. It was only a minuet before I was back on my feet watching injections. It wasn't much longer before we had to leave. Walking away from the clinic after a hard day... I was still thankful. I know I'm still learning and there will be many mistakes I'm sure, but in the midst I get to be guided by those with much more knowledge, and hopefully a good amount of patience.
It is now coming to the end of week four for the team here in Tanzania. The days are starting to go by faster as more and more things are being added to our "to do" list. We are often busy working on the base, preparing teachings, building relationships, interviewing women of the community, taking shifts at the clinic, learning the language and spending time with God daily as well as pressing through spiritual battles with worship and intercession.
Since being here nearly a month now, the team is starting to get over the excitement of "being in Africa". Although for some of them it has been their lifelong dream. Many are becoming unsettled as we are still waiting for our working visas to get into the hospital. In the midst of all this we have started to recognize heavy spirits from the land come strongly upon our team in areas such as disunity (most of all with leaders), lack of freedom, self-pity and fear. Some of us were depressed, wanting to go home, overly tired, restless, sick, etc... We learned that although many different forms of slavery have taken place all over Africa, taking, selling, trading, sending, beating, stealing, buying, shipping, etc. Tanzania was a country that ALL forms took place in. Tanzania was one of the biggest country's taking part in slavery. With this there is a very strong spirit of slavery over this land and we all have been feeling it.
I believe that we cannot go into the hospital until the team is unified with God and each other. Because a disunited body does not represent the body of Christ. It also makes it hard to trust each other or fully grasp what we are learning. We had a lot of breakthrough this week but the battle is not yet over, I personally believe once we take our full authority in Christ over these spirits, God will release the working visas to us.
Some prayer points:
Hi, I'm Kaitlin. I love traveling and working as a midwife. These are a few of my adventures and the lessons I've learned from them, as well as lessons I'm still learning.