Thursday, March 31, 2016

11 Houseguests (and the RAT)

It feels so good to be home. We were honored to have friends from our home church group come to visit us on their northern Ethiopia trip.  Their family of six brought along a family of five from the UK for a two-night stopover in Injibara.  I’ll get to the rat(s) part but first some sweet.

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Elizabeth is a musician and music teacher and the girls were delighted to get a piano lesson.

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Learning how to roast and grind coffee

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We did lots of creating, baking and exploring, all were troopers. 

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(Our teammates’ Mark and Debbie’s house in the background!  I’ll update on this soon).

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Are you ready for the part with the rat yet?  Here is what I had on Facebook posted last night, with a few edits and updates.

The Story of the 11 Houseguests and the RAT: 

(My feelings in parentheses)

Once upon a time, while hosting 11 guests, we put a family of five from the UK up in our attic to sleep. The adults had just settled when we heard a soft knock on our door, there stood the father of the family. He calmly said, “Umm, there is a large, black rat upstairs, what should we do?” (completely mortified, we have never had a rat). I had previously told this family that we had no mice or rats in the house.

We moved the UK family downstairs into the living room, the other family tucked into their beds, hearing the ruckus, came to see the problem as we moved the attic family to the floor. (Ok, problem solved, We just have to catch a rat in the attic. Yuck.)

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Jon sealed the attic door, thus sealing the rat upstairs while we all safely began to slumber downstairs. 

Fast forward to everyone falling fast asleep until Jon woke up with a start because of a large crash and the rat was on his arm in OUR bed. It ran off his arm, across our daughter and out the bedroom door.  (I QUIT LIFE.) 

We can't find it but it is in the house with all fifteen of us (power is out to add to the fun). We wait with baited breath as to who it is going to sleep with tonight.  

Pray for us, people. 



Now, it’s 24 hours later and the rat still roams.  Jon is suspect we have two and as all the doors had been left open during the day, they moved in.  Sleeping is a bit of a challenge because, well, I am afraid a rat is going to say, LAND ON MY HEAD. The guests have moved on and it’s a relief on the rat front because if anyone gets bitten by a rat, they will need whisked to Addis Ababa to start rabies’ treatment. Since we have the rabies’ vaccines, we would only need booster shots.




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This is a rat trap set late at night as Marc, had read about it on the internet.  A bucket is filled 1/3 full of water and then a plate floats on top with some sort of ladder.  When the rat lunges for the food, it’s supposed to drown. 


24 hours later, it has yet to prove useful. I am still hoping. IMG 8169

As I’m unsure of rat’s favorite food, here is my best attempt at tempting it to jump into that bucket.  Watermelon, peanut butter, cheese, roasted barley and peanuts, tomato and egg.  Last night, it didn’t work.  We have also purchased three traps in town (they look like a large mouse trap) and we are praying for the demise of the rodents.






Life isn’t boring. I also feel relatively certain there has never before been so many prayers offered up on behalf of a rat’s demise. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Team in Transition

While I was away, the family played. :) They attended our North Team Meetings and I missed each other but Jon and the girls had a great time in my absence (they claimed to miss me too).  

I can’t write much more today because we are catching a flight back to the North in a few minutes and because we are a team in transition and the pictures put a giant lump in my throat.  These have become our tribe here and most of those in the pictures are moving on.  I feel a little raw about it all right now. 

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Team building skills

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Bobbing for candy in flour

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Hanging out on Mark and Debbie’s porch

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Teammates who plan amazing games.

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We were blessed by an American couple who came and served the kids during adult sessions. They did much more than that too, Thanks Steve and Jan!

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Probably the last birthday we will celebrate with a Kruse in a long while. 

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When Jon told me over the phone they were going to an Ethiopian go cart place my first response was to panic!  “Um…yeah, I can’t imagine what could possibly go wrong with this idea”. Jon responded, “Ok, got to go!  We are ready to start, I’ll send you lots of video!”

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Praying over teammates who are moving on.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Village Medical Course

After two weeks of intense classes and evenings full of homework, by God’s Grace, I am a graduate of the Village Medical Course. :)  Thanks to all who prayed me through. I stayed on my feet (almost) the whole time. At one point, our instructor was exasperated and said, “Amy, you and your weak stomach!”

The course was fascinating and I learned so much. Medical situations are a different ball of wax in rural Ethiopia for a myriad of reasons. A few are: 1) Many infectious and tropical diseases that have been eradicated in the West for decades still rage on in the developing world.  2) Living in a climate without a clear cold winter doesn’t give a chance for nature to kill off bacteria. 3) When a sick or injured person in rural Ethiopia finally walks the kilometers or is carried by relatives to get medical help, the sicknesses are far along and presenting in many ways so diagnostic clues are more obvious. 

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There was a team of high schoolers from Black Forest Academy in Germany. They had come to help at the homeschool conference and were the perfect bodies for anatomy lessons. 

We learned many low tech (old school) ways to assess a patient without lab availability.

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A non-medical classmate getting ready to put in a NG tube (in another classmate, a nurse from Holland). Let’s just say we did lots of procedures…I opted out of participating in this one, as I did many of the labs and was just an observer. 

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My head is full of new information and we prayerfully proceed into this new area. I am not ready to open a clinic and not qualified but I do feel empowered and more comfortable of assessing and diagnosing my family and friends in our village. 

I also told Jon I learned so many new ways to die. ;)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Rich Man

 When J told me she hadn’t slept well the night before, I wasn’t overly surprised as she is often up in the night for various reasons. 

“Why didn’t you sleep?” I asked. Her stressed out little response made me laugh and still has me thinking,  “Mama, I am a rich person, and it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”(from the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18).

She vocalized a tension I feel in a significant way at least once a week. I don’t feel the tension of being unsure of my salvation, but the awkward lumbering footsteps of a rich person in a very poor area. The weight, the responsibility and an acute need for wisdom that wealth brings. While living in the US, it wasn’t so readily at the front of my thoughts as most people around us, lived very similarly to us. Sitting through training with overseas workers from multiple countries, I have also over the week heard multiple evacuation stories, where with a few hours notice, they had to get on a plane and there was no chance to go back to their houses to say goodbye or grab anything. They left their countries of residence with clothes on their back and passport in hand and that’s it. 

Reflection on this makes me aware of my heart ties to stuff. In the medical course we’ve also had a break out session on our cross-cultural servanthood and talked through worldview issues that differ from a Western mindset to the 2/3 world. The view on “stuff” is so opposite. (Every possession is for the good of community and freely borrowed, lent, given, etc). Westerners tend to be more possessive of “our” stuff and time but will generously give money. 

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Once again, I come to this space with more questions than answers, driving all the solution-oriented people to distraction. 

How do you wrestle with this tension? What are things God has shown you in it?


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I'm Not Suturing My Own Leg

In town this week, Jon and Tafera are giving a training, so it’s quiet around here but busy as we prepare for a trip to Addis. I have the opportunity to take an intensive two-week medical course taught by a world-renowned doctor who wrote “The Village Medical Manuals”. Dr. Mary Vanderkoi is a world leader in tropical medicine and from all reports, offers the training all over the globe (she lives in Ethiopia) and in each place, it’s not messing around, much is required and I am back to reading a textbook. I’ve forgotten how to study.  

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(*Photo credit to Samantha F)

I’m not a medical person. I am a person who may pass out at a description of a wound. However, this won’t qualify me to treat but feel that it could be a blessing in our community with an ability to assess true emergency and also learning basics of lots of things.  Other people in the class are doctors and medical people, flying in from other countries to get her training. Yeah, I am not intimidated about this at all. (reading between my lines, YIKES).

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(*Photo credit to Samantha F)

One woman I talked to who is a nurse took the course and found it helpful. Especially when she was asked to cut her own thigh and then suture herself up. WHAT?  I’ve been reading a lot about boundaries and margin and I must assert myself here and lay a boundary down. I enrolled only after explaining it was contingent on not slicing myself and then doing my own stitches.

It’s good to be completely out of comfort zone sometimes, right?

*Samantha was a visitor from California and she is a phenomenal photographer, catching so many beautiful moments. It’s hard to come and capture real smiles, real life and she did that amazingly well.