Sunday, May 26, 2013

Busy busy

The last week has been very busy. It has been a rush to get in all the things I wanted to do before we leave Guinea, and along with that saying goodbye to local friends and crewmates that I've known for two years now. Here are a few pictures to highlight all that has happened int he last week.

Final Bible study with my small group. The Bergman family will be returning to Cailfornia. Michelle has already left for Maryland and Heather will soon return to Canada.

Went to a service a the Catholic Cathedral. Walking inside is like stepping out of Guinea but once the people started singing you could sense their closeness with God. Even with the service in French I could tell the the service was very African.

Went on a boat ride to Fotoba Island. Here you can see an old prison. I'm not sure of the full history, but it was very impressive to see.

Also on Fotoba Island is the oldest Evangelical church in Guinea, built in 1870.

Last Saturday I went with a group to Racky Teniture. A local place that makes batiks that I sell in the Ship Shop. We got to pick out our own stamps, make a design, dye the fabric and see the whole process.

Thursday we said goodbye to the day-workers. Here's Barry from the Communications Department. He translated for their team. With knowing multiple languages he assisted their team immeasurably. His family has a business selling peanuts. They were a very popular item in the Ship Shop. I'm thankful that I got to know him and see the process of how they make the peanuts.

I made one last visit to see the Toureg guys. They craft some amazing things. Besides creating silver and ebony earrings, stamped bracelets and rings, leather boxes, serving trays and supplying us with amazing soapstone carvings they make some rally good tea. I'll never forget these guys.

After coming back from Fotoba we walked through the fishing market. That was a sight to see and much more than I could describe in a small description.

Got to enjoy some of the first rainy-season storms of 2013. It's nice to see rain after missing it for  five months.

Last but not least said goodbye to Estel Willits. Her and her husband have been in Conakry 25+ years translating the Bible into the local language of the Susu people. In the last few years she has started the ministry of feeding babies that lost their mother. It is very unfortunate the commonality of losing either the mother and/or the baby during childbirth. She's stated having family members of the babies make jewelry to sell so that they can afford to by formula and feed the babies. With over 200 infants on record to feed she is always busy. It has been great to assist them while in Conakry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

256 Days

A lot of things can happen during 256 days, but for what I'm speaking countless things have happened. Two Hundred Fifty-Six days ago was our mass screening to kick off the Guinea Field Service.

It showed us the immense need of medical assistance that the people here need. Today we will perform our last surgery for the 2012 - 2013 Field Service. The Eye team has removed it's last cataract, the Dental Team will help their last patients today. Next Friday as the day-workers work their last day the hospital will close and things will really wind down as we pack up everything to sail to our maintenance period.

Please keep the final patients in your prayers to that we can send them home next week. All patients that aren't cleared to go home must go to local hospitals till their wounds close and they are healthy.

Next blog I hope to share with you more of what's been going on the last few weeks.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Grand Tour

The Staff Development team on the ship has offered Cultural tours the last several months. I had the opportunity to go on half of it yesterday. To be able to understand the culture better and to show the people that we love them we had a tour of the Grand Mosque. Guinea is very Muslim. Sitting somewhere near 85-90% Muslim. 

When we arrived we were introduced to a group of men that study under the Grand Imam. Two of them gave us a tour around the Mosque showing us, the Mausoleum where some of Guinea's warriors and the first President was buried, the process of Ablution which is the cleaning of oneself before entering the mosque, a view from the balcony where the women are allowed to pray, the process they go through when praying, the main area of the mosque, and finally where the Grand Imam leads the prayer times from.

It was very interesting to see all the different things. Many of the rituals are based off of ancient Jewish and early Christian rituals. When we took off our shoes they told us they do it because Moses was told to do it when he approached the burning bush. God said that it was Holy ground, now the continue to do it to this day.