1. To cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall.
After months of excitement, adrenaline and living out an anything but ordinary life, you almost forget that the things you go through on a day to day base are not considered normal. Things like having buffalo milk with your breakfast, bartering for your every need or finding it so romantic when you meet a couple who married out of love instead of being arranged.
You almost forget that ants and mice don't actually belong in the hospital, roaches and mosquitoes in the bathroom, or cat sized rats in the kitchen. And too think that there was once a time when the world wide web was right at your fingertips, you could look up a recipe and be whipping it up in your kitchen within just a few minutes, or the local store would always have everything you needed at a fixed price, seems just out of this world.
You almost forget that in some places in the world people wait at cross walks, find it rude to eat with their hands or actually walk outside wearing shorts and tank tops without feeling completely naked. You forget that some people can actually control the temperature of the air in their home, flush toilet paper (if they even use it) or put their clothes in machines for washing and drying.
You almost forget that churches actually have an ending time, babies can have blond hair and raw vegetables are safe to eat. That beds come in more sizes then single and in softer densities than rocks, and that it is not normal for men that you have never met to be hollering out marriage proposals to you from the streets.
You almost forget that people have their things in closets and drawers rather than a suitcase under their bed, and that there are fancy kitten calendars when you are marking off the days on one you drew out yourself. You almost forget that photo printing comes in more resolutions then just grainy, daily power outages aren't part of everyone’s schedules and work is something you actually get paid to do.
You almost forget that women are valued, abuse is not part of a normal conversation, families are excited to have baby girls and mothers can choose things about their labors like where they want it , who they want to be there, or if they actually want drugs or not.
You almost forget that some things use to be considered common since like keeping babies warm, or your hands clean. That doctors don't normally beat their patients, dead babies aren't always left out in the open and that you should be able to walk past the bathrooms without holding your breath. That anyone could ever understand your language, clean water was always available and waking up in a pool of sweat was not part of your daily routine.
But even when my memory fails to remind me about what life on this earth use to be, I realize there is one thing I have not forgotten and now find it impossible to ever forget, this is that God, my almighty and loving father, is here just as much as everywhere else, He is here. He loves everyone in this place; He loves to bring life in every corner of his earth. And he wants everyone to know his unfailing love and that He created all of them out of His image!
When you hear the first cry of a newborn, it is impossible to forget. When you see the change of heart in a doctor, it is impossible to forget. When a woman is valued by a man, it is impossible to forget. That life on this earth is a gift and God is calling all of us to gather children for his coming kingdom.
We leave India in just 39 days now, and Tanzania has already past. My time here will end soon and my heart is being torn in so many ways. I could make the choice to stay, but God is calling me home as I have promised I would do so. But no amount of words will ever be able to explain everything that has happened on this journey, no amount of pictures will ever be able to show what I have seen, no amount of understanding will ever be able to understand the life and death that I have held in my hands and although I have family I have never met, I also have a new family that you may never meet. So as I step off the plane home, may culture shock greet me well.
1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
We have now been in India two weeks today, and that means two full weeks of twist turns and plenty of adventure!
Things I love:
Things you live with:
This month started by sending our team into a sprint for the Tanzania finish line as we will be leaving for India on March 20th. But before we started packing up or saying good-bye, we set out for one last big African adventure! Our team split into three groups and set out in different directions, one stayed on base, one went to Kenya and one went to Zanzibar. I was with team Zanzibar!
After a little boat ride across the sea we arrived to meet some lovely new faces of a missionary couple, Ron and Carol. After a crazy list of events we were finally meeting these amazing people who were now able to connect us with a group of TBA's (Traditional Birth Attendants). After a nice chat over the first slice of pizza I have had since leaving America, we went back to our rooms located in the building that was the world’s last open slave market. Too tired to bother showering in the hotels shared bathroom we turned on the fan and crashed underneath our holy mosquito nets onto the lumpy pillows and fell fast asleep.
We started the next morning bright and early. The hotel served us one egg and two pieces of toast along with some fresh mango juice and then we piled into a van with closed windows and no AC, and after a few short pit stops we were on our way! For the next while we passed by the sights of the ocean, forbidden islands and then into the jungle where the road was lined with thatched huts and endless trees of every kind. We arrived at a small school where we found a group of beautiful women waiting for us.
There were almost forty women who came, many walked, some cam on bikes, but most of them traveled for many miles to come, but all seemed to be just as excited to be there as we were. We gathered in a classroom that consisted of nothing more than tables, chairs, a chalkboard, and bars on the windows. They were all provided with some paper and a pen for taking notes, but most were illiterate. Before we started our teachings, we wanted to know how much they already knew, so each women took a turn standing up and stated their name along with their age (if they knew it) and how long they had been a midwife along with where they were trained. Out of 38 women maybe only five had had some kind of training at a clinic, but most had learned from their mothers, grandmothers or just on their own. They ranged from 20 years old to 80+ and from one year of experience to over forty. After hearing this we wished that we could sit down and let them teach us!
We only had the day and a lot to teach, so we got started right away. We taught on the changes in pregnancy, ten danger signs in pregnancy, how to deliver the placenta and stop bleeding and what changes after the baby is born. We used water balloons, coloring pages, cut outs we made and videos on our computers. We acted a lot and taught as much as we could in the little Swahili we knew although we thankfully had a wonderful translator. We took a brake to pray after the first teaching as every woman there was Muslim, and later stopped to enjoy a lunch of beef and rice with them as we all sat on rocks in the shade together. At we sat there enjoying the company of these women Beth summed up just what we were feeling, “Ladies I believe we are living among legends right now.”
When we got back to teaching in the afternoon it was obvious that no amount of our acting could fight the sleepiness the class was beginning to feel after a good lunch and the heat of the sun. So as soon as someone was caught dozing the whole group was summed to stand up, and then someone would start a song and they would all follow out in singing and dancing!
The day was certainly one to never forget, but everyday ends someday and so after they each reported to the missionary couple we were with, they were restocked with new birth kits consisting of two pieces of string, a razor blade, a plastic mat, a pair of gloves and a little sheet of pictures showing them how to use everything and dispose of it properly.
After an evening of more adventures and laughter, we headed back to bed and prepared to leave for Tanzania again in the morning thus bringing us to the end of our time teaching in Zanzibar!
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.