Sierra Leone (Day 3)
Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
20Trip End Oct 12, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
This morning was a business day, meeting with the Ministries of Health and Sanitation, and Development and Ecconomic Planning. Our meeting with Dr. Roberts was moving because he was able to relate his personal story of survival during the civil war as he spoke from the heart. He is very knowledgable about the health and conditions of his country but he is also frustrated by the lack of personel to bring about the changed needed. He welcomed any and all of our efforts for his country. Anne-Marie was so moved to tears that she suffered with nearly the entire day. While we waited for the Ministry of Land and Development there were so may people that there was no room to sit. Men got up to offer Anne-Marie and Lynn a "seat". The secretary behind a desk then had to stand, so Anne-Marie offered her to sit in her lap. A friendship was formed. She turned and told Anne-Marie how ill she had been feeling with the Malaria but with Anne-Marie's show of love and compasion she was feeling better. Turns out she was not able to receive the IV infusion needed due to her small veins. Naturally, Lynn, being an IV infusion nurse was all over this and arrangments are being made for Lynn to administer the IV tomorrow once the medicine arrives!! Ministry comes in all forms!
The highlight of the day however, was assembling the amputee soccer team near the beach for us to observe their routine work-out and practice scrimage. We met the players whose photos appeared in Sports Illustrated, that sparked our entire involvement in this project. The event started with a prayer by the team pastor, followed by the presentation of T-shirts from Concordia University (who will be helping us to fundraise for the amputees) and Enatai Elementary school. They also received 4 pairs of crutches, gloves and $1000 from a church in England! It was absolutely the most moving experience to see these total atheletes perform their skills in field conditions that would never be acceptable in America. The field was dirt, rock, and sand with foot deep gullies in the middle of the playing area! Between the player's collisions and the gullies it's amiracle they don't break their only remaining leg! The other side of the field was a busy road with almost continuous traffic.We only took about a billion photos of the team in action as well as Lynn and Anne-Marie challenging the coach after the game to a scrimage of their own. The appreciation from the players to us, GGMUSA, was shown in such moving Sierra Leonean songs, hugs, broad beaming smiles and of course Anne-Marie's tears!
Drinks and transportation for the team home was to be provided by GGM-USA. They arrived about an hour after the scrimmage because the vehicle Pastor Mambud and our driver were in almost caught fire (it had broken down several times earlier in the day but we always got it started again). With the late arrival we had time for photo's and talking to the players. Lynn was having her picture taken with a young man who was a team mascot, not an amputee himself but friend to all. He kept asking for a photo with only her. As it turned out he had a very edematous foot and in discussion with Jim (Dr. JIm) it was discovered that he had been diagnosed with sarcoma of his foot. He has been living with the disease for at least 4 years and it has spread to his knee. He had been told that the only treatment choice is amputation.
After Jim's discussion with Hussan, he turned to Lynn. Looking at her he asked her if she could adopt him. He had no mother or father. They were both killed by rebels in the war. Lynn looked at him took his face in her hands, looked in his eyes and said yes, I will be your mother. You now have two sisters also. Houssan is 19 years old, that means he was 8 or 9 when rebels killed his family. He has been living with another SLASC soccer player's family, he has cancer and will lose his leg above the knee. Jim and Lynn are arranging surgery tomorrow and will pay for what is needed and the Peltons now have a son that they will support in Sierra Leone. We have seen God working through us in ways we never expected. Are we changing? Immensely! It is only our second day in SL. More tomorrow.
Please look for todays photos on tomorrows entry.