Thanksgiving and third-degree burns (26/11/15)

We woke this morning to a holiday:  while American Thanksgiving is not observed in Kenya, Pope Francis was kind enough to arrive yesterday for a whistle-stop tour of East Africa, and so today was declared a public holiday by the President.  Hooray!

They expected over a million to turn out to Pope Francis' mass this morning, so watching it from Kijabe Hospital seemed to be a safer bet!

They expected over a million to turn out to Pope Francis’ mass this morning, so watching it from Kijabe Hospital seemed to be a safer bet!

However, illnesses and emergencies don’t respect political announcements, and so the work of the Hospital continued today.

As I write, Mardi is in a board meeting proposing new retention strategies for our underpaid, overworked, and hard-to-retain nurses, and brainstorming how the hospital can continue to make ends meet.  Many good issues to work through thoughtfully and prayerfully.

Watching Pope Francis' open air mass in Nairobi, via TV with patients in our outdoor waiting area

Watching Pope Francis’ open air mass in Nairobi, via TV with patients in our outdoor waiting area

After watching some of the Pope’s open-air mass on TV, I spent a few hours with one of our chaplains and a patient and his family…from a neighboring war-torn country, they are now “permanent refugees” here in Kenya.  The son had been badly burned in a house fire, and is being treated here via skin grafts and plastic surgery.  The family situation is complicated by multiple wives and clashing cultures, and our chaplain has been working to lead the family towards internal reconciliation and forgiveness through the story of Cain and Abel:  a story common to the Bible and to the sacred scriptures of this family’s faith.  We asked the family patriarch if we might pray with him for the healing of his son and for his family, and with his permission we prayed together:  people from three different cultures and two different faiths, over this son he loved so dearly with third degree burns in our ICU.  It was a holy time.

Today, I am filled with gratitude.

I am grateful for this place:  that we get to serve in this community, which showers with love the broken and the weak.

I am grateful for those who are far away:  our friends and family, who show us such love and encouragement.

At an international school like RVA, it's important to differentiate between American and Canadian Thanksgiving.  Our kids are culturally confused enough already!

At an international school like RVA, it’s important to differentiate between American and Canadian Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for those who are near:  our colleagues and friends, who humble us with their commitment and sacrifice, and who inspire us to love and work with this God who loves us so much more than we can ever comprehend or deserve.

Happy American Thanksgiving, to our friends near and far!

-A

Author: steeres

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