Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another Goodbye

Yesterday I took Kadi back to her village.  Today the two American doctors who have served this hospital for four years left, with plans not to return.  Bleh. 

The last few months here have been chalked full of drama!  And although my family will attest to the fact that I might be a little dramatic myself, this drama actually had nothing to do with me.  I won’t go into details because to be honest I’ve only heard one side of the story so I don’t feel free to comment but what it boiled down to was that the doctors felt that the leadership of one group of people that they’re working with was too corrupt and they could no longer morally work under him.  They feel that they’ve been lied to and manipulated too much and they’re just tired.   They were planning on leaving at this time to go home for their annual rest/fundraising effort, but a couple weeks ago they announced in our chapel service that when they leave, they will not be returning.  We are all devastated.

Needless to say, this place has erupted!!  These doctors have not only done so much medically for the hospital but they’ve made huge improvements in the hospital doing things like providing solar electricity 24 hours a day, bringing in tons of supplies, helping the schools , the churches…I could go on and on.  And the community knows what they’ve done.  There have been demonstrations, radio broadcasts….the other day my roommate and I had about 30 people show up at our door with signs chanting “Whites don’t go” and “No Whites, No Hospital!”  Most of them had been sucking down the palm wine for a while and were a little overzealous.  Although it’s always nice to know that your efforts are appreciated, we were REALLY uncomfortable and felt it was really disrespectful to the countless other people that AREN’T white and are working their hineys off at the hospital. 

So what do I do?  Do I stay?  Can I stay in a hospital that doesn’t have a doctor?  We always manage for a while if they leave for a few days.  Last year they went home for a couple months and we managed, but I literally saw people die that probably wouldn’t have if we’d had the expertise of a doctor.  It’s a lot of pressure to be one of the ones that has the most knowledge and not have that experience to tap.  This doesn’t even take into consideration the moral question of continuing to work for a man who is….well, just not good.  Could I do that?  But what about the hospital!?!?!?!  I love the people that work down there.  They’ve become my friends. Can I just abandon them?  What will they do? We’re already so short staffed….this would just make it worse!  A few days ago I had a meeting with one of the leaders of the hospital who informed me that if they do not send him another doctor (which there are none to send….so they won’t be able to), he will resign.  You just can’t run a hospital without a doctor.  I’ve decided that I agree with him.  I won’t be able to stay here without a doctor.  I just can’t do it. 

There is a meeting tomorrow in the capital city with the doctors, the man they have a problem with, the paramount chief from this area and a bunch of other people.  The doctors have essentially said it’s either them or him.   So while they’ve packed up their house, said goodbye to everyone and have stated over and over that they’re not coming back….we’re all still holding out a little hope.  What will happen at this meeting? 

A couple weeks ago I was in Freetown talking to one of my friends and teammates (shout out Kaysie). We listened to some podcasts by a woman who is REALLY into memorizing Scripture and we both got really excited about doing more of that together. (You can listen to her podcast here).  The woman gave us some strategies on how to do it so we each picked some verses that we’d memorized in the past and were going to go over them every day for 7 weeks.  One of the passages that I picked comes from Philippians.  “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Now I’ve known these verses for years and while they were tucked back in my brain somewhere, I’ve started meditating on them every day.  But I STINK at doing what it says.  Aside from the decision to move to Sierra Leone, I’m on the precipice of making perhaps some of the biggest decisions in my life up to this point. Whether or not to become a mom (see post from yesterday) and what to do next in my time here. 

I’ve stopped sleeping.  I wake up in the middle of the night and immediately start thinking about everything and can’t shut my brain off. I’ve stopped eating.  What? Stopped eating? Inconceivable! !!!  And while it is a great weight loss plan, I’ve now had two toenails fall off for mysterious reasons, which makes me wonder what kind of nutritional deficiency I’m suffering from. 
I was getting mad at myself.  Where was the peace which transcends understanding that Jesus promises there?  I didn’t have it.  Then I realized.  I wasn’t praying and petitioning. I was just thinking and worrying. Instead of drawing closer to my Jesus because of all the stress, I was just going inside my head, trying to find a solution. And what about the part about doing it with thanksgiving?  Thankful for what?  Really?  Am I supposed to be thankful that I have the ability to bring my requests to God?  Thankful that I’m in these situations where I have to bring things to God?  I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wasn’t doing either.  So I’ve decided to do both. 

My brain still wants to go into overdrive.  I have to literally force myself to change my thinking into praying.  To rejoice. To be thankful.  But that’s where my peace is!! Every time I remember that my God hasn’t forgotten me. That he knows what’s going to happen.  That He loves Kadi more than I do.  That I came here to do His ministry, not my own, so He’ll show me what He wants me to do.  There is peace.  To me, it feels like thinking about it, worrying about it will somehow help.  That somehow I’ll figure out a solution.  But it doesn’t. It just makes me really sleepy and my toenails fall off. 
I don’t often wax philosophical on my blog because…well, I just don’t.  But there you go. My inner most thoughts from today. J  Thank you all so so  much for your prayers and words of encouragement. I’ve been blown away with the kindness I’ve received and am really really grateful!  


  1. "To me, it feels like thinking about it, worrying about it will somehow help. That somehow I’ll figure out a solution."
    I think you have been reading my journals...that quote above could have been taken straight from them! I'll be praying for you Emily!

  2. Emily, it is great to hear from you. May you continue to rejoice in the Lord and take everything to Him. We are getting excitied about our trip in February, hopefully we can see you then.
    Blessings and keep up the good work!!