Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love is in the Air

It is Valentine’s Day today.  The local shop that caters to westerners has recently imported different chocolates from at least five different countries.  So, I received a really nice supply of Hershey’s dark chocolate.  Yum!  And Jake and Josh created some fun treasure hunts, in order to find the chocolate treats.  I am blessed to walk this journey with these fun guys.
My work in the hospital has started off well.  I am working in Pediatrics.  We have so many interesting cases (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis presenting with seizure, TB in many different parts of the body, neonatal syphilis, septicemia, HSP…to name a few, for the medically inclined).  I am working with a wonderful group of colleagues whom I greatly respect.  Yesterday, four of us who are G.P.s were discussing a case together, trying to decide if we should induce labor for a mom who was having some trouble.  The baby was believed to be 34 weeks along and looked like almost 2kg.  These statistics might make for a healthy delivery in the U.S., but with our limited resources, it felt like a tough decision, weighing the risks and benefits for both mom and baby.  We sure would have appreciated the input of an obstetrician.  Anyway, the decision was made to induce labor, and the picture below shows a beautiful, healthy baby girl, weighing 1800gms who came from that delivery.  The mom is also recovering nicely.  I felt so blessed just to see this little one this morning and to give thanks for the healthy baby and mother.

Ethan had his first tummy bug last night.  He got the full-on vomiting and diarrhea type.  Welcome to Nepal, Ethan.  I have made him the oral rehydration solution throughout the day today and he has dutifully consumed it, despite its unpleasant taste.  He seems to be recovering quite well.  You might want to join us in praying for strength to endure the normal gastrointestinal upsets (two of the boys also have tummy aches).
Well, the real joy in living here is taking advantage of the plethora of opportunities to show love to others.  There is so much suffering in this world; there is no end to the opportunities to relieve it, or experience it, with those who suffer.  I remember that Christ followers are known by their love.  I thank God that He has loved me so much that I have plenty of extra to share with others.  Thank you to those of you who also love me and my men.
J Kimberly

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Finishing the India Journey

Well, since our last post in Nagpur we returned by train to Delhi, visited the Taj Mahal the next day, had a more "normal" train experience from Delhi to Gorakhpur the following day, have since crossed the border and are now settled happily back in our home in Palpa District of Western Nepal.  All told, according to Nate, we were on a moving vehicle over 100 hours during the journey from Spokane to Tansen.  I will try to capture the details and events of this final leg of the journey here in this blog entry.  It is a rainy day here, so its a good time to get you caught up:

Jake examines an Indian snail caught at Frank's place
Nagpur to Delhi
The boys (including teacher Ethan) really enjoyed their time at Frank's place.  Discovering interesting exotic Indian insects and animals, attending church where we got to hear Frank challenge us to live like real Christians, inventing a game of baseball with an old 2 liter coke bottle and make-shift ball, exploring the compound and fun with over 400 eager playmates!

Nick and Josh have a new friend (puppy)
Frank preaches

Ethan playing "baseball"

Nate and Jake teaching "Ninja" to the boys

Josh playing with friends on the roof

Josh and a new freind

Exploring the flora at Frank's place

Jake walking the wall

Caught geckos in a coke bottle (former "bat")
Nick exhausted by all the play

Ethan and Nick enjoy First Clas
Next we caught a night train from Nagpur to Delhi.  Five of us froze in second class AC sleeper class overnight (they turned the aircon on full blast at about 9PM just as it was getting cold outside- and turned the heater on at 9AM just as it was warming up outside!) while Nick and Ethan got the luck of the draw to travel First Class Sleeper because all the second class tickets were sold out.  Once in Delhi we had a good night's rest and were off the next day by second class train (this is the old third class) to the Taj Mahal.  The Taj is always an inspirational sight and this was everyone else's first visit to the Taj, so I enjoyed watching their reactions one of the world's "seven wonders.".  After a full day at the Taj and a meal at a local restaraunt, we again borded our train for the three hour journey back to Delhi.  

Kimberly shows she is a "high value" lady!

The amazing Taj Mahal

The Beines in front of the Taj

Nate drives a camel.  Do they look related?
Josh enjoys our taxi to the Delhi train station

The crowded train station
After a good night's sleep we were off to begin our final leg of the journey back to Nepal.  The day nearly began with a disaster.  I had mistakenly arranged for the taxi to take us to the wrong train station.  Luckily I noticed the error just minutes before we headed out and we were able to change our destination station.  After arriving at the crowded (but at least right) station, our train arrived on a different platform than we had been told (and where we had, therefore, been waiting).  We moved to the right platform just before the train arrived, but then our carriage stopped well beyond where it had been expected.  We had to rush (our luggage in tow) through the crowd (who were also all trying to scurry in opposite directions to their correct carriages) to find our assigned carriage.  Once there we had to push and shove to make our way aboard through the small passage (everyone tries to get in and out the narrow doors at each end of the carriage at the same time) and while doing so a thief was trying to open Jake and Josh's backpacks from behind them as they entered the train.  Luckily they noticed and shifted their packs to their fronts and were able to avoid any thievery.  Meantime, Nick and I were still outside with our over-sized bags trying to push our way through the narrow doorway and into the crowded compartment hallway.  Behind us porters kept shouting "chello" (let's go!) and kept pushing us forward.  At one point Nick turned around and with a scowl shouted "back off!" to the most vociferous of the lot :) .   Once inside we found the rest of the family and settled into our compartment.  Kimberly informed me that she had ordered dinner for all.  We had just finished lunch and unfortunatly this was only a local guy trying to make a buck (not the train kitchen staff who come around later to take orders for the evening meal) and so we ended up with several overpriced meals well before dinner time (he brought the meals right then and demanded payment). 
in the train compartment

Once underway we were delivered sheets and blankets in preparation to make our beds for the night.  As we opened them cockroaches emerged.  Then the train only inched along through the night, stopping for long periods of time to let every freight train (and perhaps even snails and turtles) pass.  Having had the near-thievery experience none of us slept very soundly even though we had secured our bags as best we could.  We arrived four hours late to our terminal station, but the van we had arranged to meet us was not there waiting.  Turns out that it was state elections that day and the police had commandeered all larger vehicles for their use that day.  It took us awhile to figure out that the much smaller vehicle (with no luggage rack) WAS in fact, our arranged vehicle and so we crammed all seven of us (plus the driver) into vehicle along with our 17 bags for the two hour drive to the Nepal border. Kimberly commented that this last stage of the trip was more what she expected all of the India trip to be like.  So, I guess that puts our ten-day transition/family vacation in perspective.  Overall, it was a very positive experience. Inspirational, informative and educational.

Indian border
Once we arrived to the Indian border we saw a familiar face, our known jeep driver from Tansen who had come to meet us and bring us the rest of the way to Tansen.  After easily passing both Indian and Nepal immigration, we transferred our bags and began the familiar drive "home" to Tansen.  I cannot describe the relief to see a familiar face, understand everything that was being said, be able to fully communicate, understand the cultural nuances, etc.  It makes me realize the importance of translating the word of God into a language and cultural context that people can understand.

the Nepal border:  What a welcomed sight!

We are now in our fifth full day back in Tansen.  I just finished two full days in planning meetings with our Chepang Project team and Kimberly begins her duty at the hospital this coming Sunday.  Stay tuned for more adventures from Tansen!
The happy final few miles to Tansen, Nepal