Not your run-of-the-mill art…

If you watched the video that Meghan masterfully put together telling the story of our recent West Virginia roadtrip, then you know we visited a place of special meaning along the way. The Old Grist Mill in Babcock State Park was long ago the subject of a high school art project of mine. When we discovered this place actually existed along the route we had already planned, we were there in a heartbeat so I could relive every careful stroke of colored pencil on paper. Well, after posting about this through the video the first time, my parents saw the perfect opportunity to return said artwork to the original artist and it now hangs in our living room next to the bookcase. I took a photo of it and here it is for all of you to enjoy, critique, and compare with the actual thing (via the photo taken last month).



roller coaster ride is ending… i want to get back in line… sort of

more ups and downs from gabon:

First off, I don’t think that we have told yet about our roommate, Amy, and her grand adventure of scrambling.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with how getting into residency works, it is called the match.  You interview everywhere and then rank the places you want to go in the order you would like to go to them.  Likewise, the programs rank all the candidates they would be willing to accept in the order that they want them.  Then all these rank lists go into some program and it spits out where everyone is going.  Amy is osteopathic, so they had their match two mondays ago instead of allopathic (me) which is in march.  Unfortunately, Amy didn’t match so she had to scramble, which means you start calling all the programs that still have openings.  Being in Africa does not really help all that much.  Luckily skype worked, for the most part, but the 6-hour time difference was difficult.  Finally, after two weeks of torture, Amy got a spot for a preliminary intern year in Charleston, WV.  Much relief for her and all of us.  This scared me enough to put a few more places on my list, but family medicine is generally much more forgiving than surgery, which is what Amy wants to do.

I have been taking a lot of pictures, also.  Here are just a few with a few little stories.  I will post many more in a facebook album once we get back.

aidsThis woman had made a bit of trouble in the medicine ward because for awhile she didn’t have a guardian and wasn’t able to fend for herself, so other patients’ families would make and give her food and the nurses would do everything for her.  In this picture, she was doing a little better and kept putting food in front of her mouth when I was taking the pictures (that she said I could take).  I did get one good one, though.

girl_mouth_coverThis girl’s mom was hospitalized for something, but I saw her half hiding behind the door, wondering what I was doing.  I saw that she was wiggling one of her front teeth like it was about to come out so I asked if I could take a picture of her smile, and she covered her mouth, which was even cuter than the smile (which was also pretty cute).

medicine_kissThis is one of the patients and her older brother.  Yeah, she’s not too sick. 🙂

wide_eyedThis is one of our cardiac babies who has a ridiculous murmur, but he’s loving life!

traction_boyThis boy is one of my favorites.  He has been in traction for a femur fracture, stuck in his bed for over 5 weeks now.  I’ve gone in to play cards with him and help him do math a couple times.  There are some other kids that go in and play with him too.  It is cool to see all the patients playing together a lot of the time once they feel well enough.  A lot of kids are here with TB, which means 2 months of inpatient treatment (DOTS) no matter how good you feel.  Luckily, most of them get to the point where they can play and feel okay most of the time.  Unfortunately, if they don’t get better with TB treatment, the options of what might they have are basically limited to various types of cancer which can’t really be cured here.


I also gave my presentation on Alcoholism in Gabon this week.  I was able to give the whole thing in french and only needed help with a couple words.  It helped to have my powerpoint in front of me, all in french- which took forever to make!  I ended up speaking for somewhere between 30-40 minutes I think, which was good.  When I practiced, I pushed 50 minutes and I didn’t want it to be that long (even though I was originally told it needed to be an hour!).  Everyone seemed to be at least somewhat interested in it.  The pediatrician I have been working with said she learned some things, even though she doesn’t normally learn from these things.  I am just so relieved that it is over.  Now I am just preparing for another “presentation.”  In April, I will be doing a workshop with Jordan Huskins for a conference called “Your Church and AIDS.”  We are sharing our experiences as a medical student going from Africa (he is in Kenya right now) coming back to Indianapolis and how AIDS touches all places.  It should be easier- it’s in english, for one and it will be more like story-telling with some pics and stats along the way.  Check it out if you are in the indy area–!

Sheer beauty

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities –  his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

I just wanted to share with you some of the natural beauty that surrounds us here. I was able to take these photos this past week… some are a series of photos that I then stitched together to create the panoramic view. Last night, I got to witness perhaps the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen… and fortunately I had my camera! Click on the panoramic images below to view them larger in a new window.




The above three images are the spectacular view from the top of the hill that our guesthouse sits on. These were taken from the behind the house of the missionaries who started Bongolo Hospital. I’m fairly certain that the vista overlooks both Gabon and Congo since we are so near the border.


As our friend, Meghan, has said… “Sunsets are God’s personal gift to me.” And this one just about tops them all!