Monday, May 12, 2008

In the Village

This past week Rachel spent a few days in a village with a team from Akron, OH. It was great to get out of the city for awhile and experience village life. It is really quite different. First we stopped in Chokwe and I was able to see many people whom I´m sad to say I haven´t seen in about 6 months or longer. After traveling to Chokwe for a few days every week, not being there for a long period of time has been very different. I miss the people, especially our ¨kids¨ that we spent a lot of time with at the beginning. They all seem to be doing well and are working and ministering in different areas, some with WR, some with Samaritan´s Purse. Atalia (in picture) is one of these.

The team worked with teaching pastors and women´s groups, one guy taught welding, there were kids clubs and an eye doctor who did examinations and handed out Lions Club glasses. I joined them for a couple of half days and learned a lot about eyes in the process. The driver and I even figured out what kind of reading glasses a woman needed, put them on her, and she could read! (The Dr. was busy blowing up gloves like balloons and giving them to the kids.)
This is his second trip and on the first trip he learned that many people have had cataract surgery but have not had lenses replaced, which means they can’t see very well at all. This time he brought special glasses that had been donated from older people as they are no longer made or needed in the U.S. He brought 31 pairs and gave away at least 25. Many of these people would walk in hunched over and looking dejected. When they discovered they could see they walked straight with a spring in their step and huge smiles on their faces!

He also examined an albino and as he rarely sees albinos, he was trying to remember the distinctive characteristics about their eyesight. And then the guy pulls his prescription out of his pocket. Now before the Dr. left the U.S. a friend of his gave him two pairs of glasses of his dad’s who had just passed away. They were a very specific prescription with a special correction for astigmatism and the Dr. didn’t think he would find anyone that could use them. Lo and behold, the prescription the man handed to him was the exact one that he had the glasses for! Unfortunately he could only find one pair of sunglasses at the time, which he gave to him. On a different day, Doc found the other pair in his luggage but didn’t think he’d ever see the man again. We left the village and on our way back to Maputo we stopped at a Bible school for their graduation. One of the team members saw our friend walking in to the ceremony. So Doc quickly climbed up on top of the Land Cruiser, got to his luggage and pulled out the other pair of glasses. He handed it to the man and the guy was very excited. Hopefully by now he knows that God really loves him to arrange all those details so he could have two pairs of special glasses!

I found out that it’s a lot of work to stay two steps ahead of a team, but I had plenty of help. I don’t normally do this, but the woman who does needed to go to the U.S. so I took her place. It was a great bunch of people and it was a privilege to serve them.

Steve is currently spending time with a food scientist who is volunteering his time to research uses for coconut meal (what is left after the oil is extracted). It is high in protein and fiber, gluten free and supposedly becoming popular (and expensive) in the West. They are also experimenting with vinegar and fruit juices using the coconut water. Who knows what will come of it all--we’ll keep you posted.


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