Oct 17

Betsy and I left home on 26SEPT. Dr. King took us to the airport, and we flew out on Air France to Paris, with an eight hour stopover and then on to N’dJemena, Chad. Adama picked us up at the airport, and drove us to the guest house, that had not quite prepared for our arrival. We made do, and was able leave by road to Meskine the next day, driven by Adama. The roads had multiple large potholes, yet Adama still drove at roughly 60-80 mph, the exact speed not known since the speedometer constantly read “0”.  One of our four boxes had not arrived, though we were assured that it would be in in several days, and promptly delivered to us. On 30SEPT, I started working in the OR. It is much different than in Bangladesh, in that the surgeon does very little ward care, but spends most of his time in the OR suite, or seeing consults. It will take me a few days to get used to things. The workers all speak a little English, and I spent much of my time speaking German with the other Surgeon, Carsten, who is from Leipzig.

02OCT, our final box arrived, missing only a few items, such as clorox wipes, which we can survive without. Surgery has been busy, with a few very odd cases. One was a 12 yo boy, gored by a bull, coming in several days later (how many, we don’t know), and his only injury was a complete division of his common bile duct. We did a Roux-en-Y reconstruction, but he died later that night. There are too many other cases to talk about, and I’m sure you’re not interested, so, we’ll let it slide.

10OCT, we had a fairly busy week at the hospital, but able to relax on the weekend. All is going well. I haven’t taken too many photographs, and I am not getting out of the compound too often. The US State Dept. informed us of a cholera epidemic in town, though we will still to go in to eat tonight. It is a bit harder than Bangladesh to acclimatize to the heat, and I’m not sure exactly why. Otherwise, save for a bout of travelers’ diarrhea which resolved quickly in both Betsy and myself, all is going well.  A few days later, we spent with Carsten and Annette on the river flowing through Moroua. This river is now just a stream, but will fill its banks at some times of the year, and in a month, will be completely dry.

The main church in Meskine has about 100 adult members, and though church starts at 8 o’clock and lasts until 10:30 AM, most people arrive between 8 and 9 am, filtering in slowly, and sitting with their own people group. The various groups are then invited sequentially to sing a song for the remainder of the folk, including a time for us white people, who usually sing in French some hymn.

Notice, the Christmas decorations remain, like in Bangladesh. Our house is quite nice, and here are some photos.

Yes. The bed has mosquito netting. No mosquito bites at night. The main crop in this area is Millet, which looks a bit like corn.

Firewood also is in huge demand, as they prefer firewood over natural gas, even though firewood is more expensive than gas!  Getting photos in the community has been a serious problem, because, unlike Bangladesh where everybody fought to have you take their photo, the natives will turn and run if you get out your camera. Both situations below witnessed this happen…

Here is the whole missionary group at Annette’s birthday party, with real ice cream made from powdered milk!!!! …

We’re having a good time, and feeling like we are contributing a bit to the entire effort. More to follow…

P.S. Aren’t you glad I didn’t include any political discussion. Though we’ve stayed in touch with American and World news, and watched the Stalk Market (sic!) and price of gold fluctuate, it seems a touch removed from us, where our patients simply are wondering if they will have food for the next day. We have much to be thankful for, in spite of our national distresses. The next few years are going to be time to re-think the real battles that face us, and hopefully they are not simply battles for peace, security, and prosperity, as the end result will probably be the opposite of what we seek. Fortunately, Betsy and I have had time to read and think (see Bookblog) and talk, and it has helped in keeping us on track together about our goals for the coming few years, as I return to work.

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Oct 17

Sweet Land

By Kenneth Feucht Media, Movies No Comments »

Sweet Land, starring Elizabeth Reaser ??

This is the story of a German (????Norwegian) bride to be moving to Northern Minnesota to be married in the early 1920’s farmland. The bride Inge encounters grave community vitriol, and marriage is refused until her husband to be saves the day, so to speak, at one spot. The story is based on a Will Weaver novel, and produced by Ali Salim. Unfortunately, having a father that grew up as a German immigrant in that area and time, things were not well depicted as representative of America. In effect, it was just another effort by Hollywood and Muslim producers to make American faith and religion appear unloving and cruel, when in actuality, though harsh, it was everything but was depicted in this film. The thought processes were a late 20th century projection of early twentieth century religious and community farm life. Indeed, one Amazon reviewer has is correct that the book author has only a superficial sense of what it was like to live back at that time. The movie never develops true depth to its characters, and even the attempt at foreign language fails, with gibberish being muttered for either German or Norwegian. The farming was ridiculous-they were harvesting corn but delivering wheat to the market. They used no horses, and two people hand picked 160 acres. Farm communities always tended to be closer than what was portrayed. I watched this film with an Englander in the group, who asked if this truly what America was like back then. Unfortunately, this sort of rubbish in filming only creates images of moral judgmentalism at a time when America held moral values but also strong hospitality and deep community spirit.   Truly Hollywood could have done better than that. Many Amazon reviewers suggested that this was a touching love story demanding Kleenex. I’m not sure about the Kleenex, but there were enough errors in the film to ruin a story that could have made a good film.

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Oct 17

10 Books that Screwed Up the World, by Benjamin Wiker ????

This was more an entertaining read, rather than deeply informative. Wiker writes well, and steps through the books and lives of 15 people (he actually reviews 15 books) that have brought humans to the worse rather than the better. Included are Machiavelli, Rousseau, Hobbes, Marx, Nietsche, Hitler, Sanger, Mead, and Kinsey, as well as six other authors. Wiker adeptly points out the destructive philosophy and character of each of these texts. He does not do any in-depth analysis, but provides brief summaries of the characters of the authors, their writings, and philosophical implications of their works. It is a nice work in the “gutter” authorship of the last half of the last millennium. It is not uncommon to see the “top ten” books, but now we have a first review of the “bottom 10” (actually 15) texts since the Renaissance. This is a fun read for idle moments, and worth getting.

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