Missions Moment – Guinea

Posted in: Missions

Brenda Allen, WorldVenture

For one who works with students, summers bring a change. Usually I am headed stateside for annual dentist and doctor visits, connecting with family and friends plus some FUN!   Having just gotten back to Guinea in early February after the Ebola crisis I won’t be coming stateside this summer.

Where will I be?    COTE d’IVOIRE

Some of my students on break are out in their villages working in the fields during rainy season. Yes, it is starting to rain.  Pray for regular rains…we need it badly!

I was surprised by a request  to work with the next generation  of young people…not Ivoirians or Guineans….American nursing students.  They came last month to the Baptist Mission Hospital, where I worked last year, for six weeks of learning and service.  My role is one of a coach and mentor along with my good friend Diane!

It is my privilege to launch them into things like bartering and shopping for food in an open market, appreciating the artisans who work so hard to make beautiful things, doing lots of listening and sign language when folks are communicating in a language they don’t know well, the importance of greetings and home visits plus many other things!   Pray they will continue to adapt quickly, have teachable hearts and get “a kick out of new experiences.” They are off to a great start.

Hanging out:  We have evenings to gab,  noon meals to eat together at “lunch bunch”, walks in the rain… maybe even with puddles to splash in…that may or not be fun…depending on if there is a warm shower to follow….lots of time to learn about life stories and future dreams! Pray that we find our relationships sharpening not “sharp!”

Work… and  lots of it!

Yes, they are learning  skills of course, working alongside the  nursing team on the wards, in the clinic and observing several “interesting” surgeries and deliveries.  Do you want to see pictures next month?  Just kidding!

Yes, there will be “some puddles” and “some mud” to clean up…losses are so common in the developing world, especially in health care.  There are conflicts and poor choices even in a hospital community filled with Jesus followers. Lack of resources means the standard of care offered is quite different than they are used to stateside.   There are language frustrations when you don’t speak much of patient’s or staff’s languages. Pray I will be a wise sounding board for the nursing students.

There are lot of cute kids. Last week a lady walked up to me outside the hospital with a six year old boy on her back who was having seizures and in great distress!  I quickly guided her to the emergency room where diagnosis and treatment were started.  I sat with them for a while till the seizures started to diminish.  The next morning I arrived at work to find the little guy smiling and sitting on his bed.  It was cerebral malaria.  His dad had an even bigger smile on his face!

Pray that I will be a wise mentor!   Yes, you will hear more next month.  Be watching for stories and pictures.

Guinea bound:  I will be heading back to Kankan, Guinea in August after the nursing students return stateside. Hopefully I will be able to get in on a kid’s camp too before leaving Cote d’Ivoire! I miss my camping days…it has now been  26 years since my three “Camp Hammer Years.” God has given me incredible blessings and life experiences!