This week we had a new experience. We attended the funeral of Mama Jacinta. Mama Jacinta was a 53 year old mother and grandmother who worked at the Life Line Center. She was HIV+ and has done very well for a good many years with that status. We closed the clinic and the offices and all attended the funeral. John, our carpenter made the coffin. It was in a Catholic Church, so we got to experience a Nigerian Catholic Funeral. It was amazing how she had touched many of our staff, as she was a cleaner in the Life Line Center for many years. They called her, “Mommy”.
The life expectancy in Nigeria is 52. In the United States it is now 79. Mommy had beaten the odds here by a year. There have been staff gone to many different funerals this week. Just in one accident on the road, 18 people were killed two days ago. Death is just part of life here. They look at death differently. Maybe you do if you experience it as much as people do here. They seem to understand that REALLY we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I know in America we may say that, but it is a shock to us when someone we know passes away.
We love going to church here in Nigeria. Last week we went to a Pentecostal Nigerian Church. The Pastor’s message was wonderful, even though we were a tiny bit uncomfortable during prayer time. The thing I love about when people pray on Sunday mornings at church, they truly thank God for bringing them together again another week. They thank God for peace in their state currently. They thank God for travel safety and pray for those not with them who are traveling or sick.
In America we pray those things as well, but is it a heartfelt cry? Not very often. Here many times they pray to “Papa”, I love that! It gives me a wonderful mind picture of a great big God with great big arms wrapped around His children.
This week my greatest concern was Dan’s leg. Dan has vein problems which will be fixed when we are in the States in December and January of this year. Well, with all of the traveling we have done he has not been able to put his legs up at all. On Sunday Dan showed me the ulcer on his leg and it looked very infected. I googled what I should do to possibly help. We didn’t have peroxide, gauze, much of anything so I soaked it in hot water with salt. By Monday morning it looked horrendous! We talked to one of our doctors here. Dr. Ameka started treating it by cleaning it out twice a day and put Dan on a strong antibiotic. ALL of the staff has been very concerned about his leg since we got to Nigeria. Every day they check and see how it is looking and how Dan is feeling. Now I know why! They have seen people die from infections and seemingly harmless illnesses because care is “survival care” here. In America we have been blessed with “comfort care”.
I would love to personally send every 18 year old to a Third World Country for a year. I think it would give us all a totally different perspective on our lives and priorities if this were the case.
We took the picture of the praying mantis yesterday morning. We were walking around the clinic visiting with everyone and here is this guy hanging out on the step. I’m not sure why he was there instead of blending in to the leaves at the bottom of the step. I laughed because it made me think of us. Dan and I haven’t seen a white person for a month now. We kinda stick out here in Gembu. We aren’t hanging out, blending in with the crowd.
Here is my thought to share with you this week. How about you? Are you blending in? Do you look like the world around you? OR is there a light coming from deep inside of you that can only come from our “Papa”? Think about it.