Sunday, 30 August 2009

Kudjip Grand Central Station

There are lots of coming and goings around here.

With a station full of missionaries, there is usually someone leaving for or coming back from home assignment, what we used to call "furlough."  This week my roommate Becky headed out for a four month speaking tour that will take her across the USA.  That leaves me to look after the house and the boys (Brutus the Wonder Dog and Pete the Chicken Cat).  Beck, I will try to keep everything from falling apart while you are gone!  I've got maintenance on speed dial.

We also have all sorts of volunteers who come to Kudjip:  medical students, doctors, physical therapists, maintenance and construction and technical folks, teachers, business and finance people, and more.  Some are here for a few weeks and others are able to extend their stay to a few months.  We all enjoyed having Alan and Lynse Bock here for the past six weeks.  They are graduates of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where I come from.  Alan is a 4th year medical student at Ohio State and Lynse is a high school teacher.  These week we welcomed Hannah, a PA student, and Sid, a nurse anesthetist.  I actually met Sid before I came to PNG.  He attends one of my LINKS churches and he volunteered his services when he heard me share about the hospital.  Hello to Cove Church of the Nazarene in Copperas Cove, Texas!  Thanks for sending Sid our way :).

Today we said goodbye to Tom and Lois Staton, annual volunteers who have just finished their 9th visit to PNG.  Tom is an ENT (ear, nose, throat) doc.  He provides specialized care that is not usually available to our patients.  He also helped to cover the surgical service while Dr. Jim and family took a much needed vacation.  This year Lois was able to share with the women at the district "Meri Bung" or women's meeting.  Her story touched the lives of many PNGian women.  Lois also loves on the missionaries, hosting weekly teas for the women and having each missionary family over for dinner.  They have certainly become part of the Kudjip family.

We have a tradition for saying goodbye or "see you next year."  All of the missionaries gather at the sign in front of the hospital for what we call "circle time."  We circle up and have a time of thanks and prayer for those who are heading out.  There are a few pictures and definitely lots of hugs.  The kids and some of the grown ups pick flowers and shower the vehicle as it start's down the drive way.  We all raise both of our hands and wave until the vehicle has turned out of sight.  (Warning... when you get to the airport, don't brush the flowers out of the vehicle and onto the ground or you may be fined.  I am speaking from personal experience.  Ridiculous, but true.)

With these comings and goings, many new friends are made and the Kudjip family continues to grow.  The goodbyes are not too sad because it really is more of a "see you later."  We are not just members of the Kudjip family, but also the family of God.  So to my new friends... if I don't see you before, I'll meet you in heaven under the sign that says "Papua New Guinea."

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Birthday blessings

My actual birthday was Friday, August 21st, but the celebration started a few days earlier.  The Radcliffes had me over for dinner on Wednesday.  I was welcomed with a lei of flowers, a preview of the Hawaiian theme to come.  The gals dressed in their lap lap skirts and we dined on Hawaiian hay stacks.  Dessert was a delicious strawberry small cake, which is not the same as "short cake" but equally as tasty.  We played a game called "Password" using Hawaiian words and clues.  The fam had sent some boxes c/o the Radcliffes so that I wouldn't peak at the customs form and see what was inside.  (I generally try not to, but sometimes it is too hard to resist.)  Very sneaky!  Kathy was so excited to see me open presents that I had to open at least one box a bit early.  The others were saved for Thursday and Friday.

So Friday was the day.  It began with a Skype call from Mom, Dad, Ami, and Darren who were celebrating my birthday in Ohio.  On to 7:45 doctor's conference where I received the honorary birthday hat (which belongs to the Dooleys and makes its rounds for b-days) and the Kudjip 5 birthday song serenade.  

Ward rounds were next, or so I thought.  I attempted to enter B-ward through the back door as I usually do but the door was locked and no one answered my incessant pounding.  I made a detour and went around through the front door.  As I walked into the ward, I was surprised to see all of the nurses and students and patients with balloons!   The entire ward sang happy b-day to me.  (It amazes me how well they know the song since many PNGians don't know their birthday or age.)  It was so special, I just about cried!
Here are a couple of blog links about the morning...
Erin Meier:
Andy Bennett:

Later in the day I saw Baru and Christina and their baby in the outpatient department.  Baru is the Health Secretary for the hospital and Christina is one of the nursing supervisors.  They came by to tell me that they had named their new baby girl "Stephanie."  This is #4!

I also received several packages from family and friends in the States.  I now have a mountain of nuts, chocolate chips, and M&Ms!  And Brutus was very excited to receive
a couple of presents as well :).  Thanks to Jami and Naseem, Christy, Heather, Karla and Abby, Ron and Rachel, and the fam for all of the wonderful gifts.

So #34 was a pretty good one.  I am filled up and overflowing with blessings!  Thanks to everyone for loving me, and making my first birthday away from home such a special one.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Italian dinner party

A jar of sun dried tomatoes, some fuzzy mustaches courtesy of a very fun package from my sister, and of course a love for ethnic foods... these things served as an inspiration for a evening of friends, fun, and food.  For my birthday, Becky (1) and I decided to treat some of our station friends to dinner at Stefano's Italian Ristorante.

Our dining area was trimmed with white cafe lights, Italian flags, and Renaissance Italian art such as the Last Supper and Mona Lisa.  The table was garnished with jars of pasta, herbs, and olive oil.  Music that played softly in the background included both classical and loosely Italian music, everything from Figaro and Pavarotti to That's Amore and Mambo Italiano.

Becky 2 arrived a bit early to help with last minute preparations.  The electricity was off for about an hour and threatened to make things a bit more interesting, but luckily it came back on about 5:45 PM.  The other guests began to arrive about 6:30 PM:  Erin, Alan (one of our volunteers), Jeff and Susan, and Andy and Judy who took the place of the Myers' kids.  Everyone was provided with a birthday hat and/or fuzzy Italian mustache.  Even Mona Lisa grew a mustache for the occasion!

The nine of us gathered around the table and Jeff gave the blessing.  First course consisted of bruschetta appetizer; cabbage salad topped with Italian dressing, cherry tomatoes, olives; and the Myers contributed fresh baked loaves of Italian bread.  Main courses were lasagna and pasta with chicken, sun dried tomato pesto, and feta cheese.  

For dessert, Becky 1 made a beautiful red velvet cake (red food coloring had just arrived in a birthday package from my cousins Naseem and Jami).  The cake was topped with creamy vanilla gelato.  And all of this was served up with lots of laughs!  Wow, what a meal.

Following coffee and tea, we all rolled into the living area for a game of Italian trivia.  Two teams competed by answering various questions (Did you know that Venetian gondolas only come in one color... black?) and molding Italian items out of play dough (Leaning Tower of Pisa and olive).  Susan had such a talent for rolling the extra point, we are considering sending her to Las Vegas with all of our deputation money!  Just kidding, Louie.  

So I am declaring the Italian dinner party a success.  It was an incredibly fun evening and probably one of the best birthdays imaginable (despite being so far from family and friends back home).  I am so blessed by my Kudjip friends, no... Kudjip FAMILY for making my day so special.  Thank you for loving me!

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Hagen Show 2009

Bilas and all.

The Hagen Cultural Show is an event held every August. Groups gather from all over PNG. Dressing in traditional costumes, they dance and sing and perform. Each tribe or group has their own distinct type of dress which consists of face and body paint, feathers, shells, furs, and feathers. Really fascinating.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Stephoscope: July 2009 Newsletter

Hello, out there!
I recently realized that I can attach documents, so I'll be posting my newsletters as a blog entry.
:) steph

Friday, 7 August 2009

2000 gram party

Baby of Lucy was born 2 months ago.  She was very premature and just a tiny thing, weighing only 1200 grams or about 2.5 pounds at birth.  Her first month of life was quite a struggle.  She would gain a little wait, loose a little.  Her abdomen would swell or she would vomit, forcing me to hold or cut back on her feeds.  She was also treated for an infection or two.  It always seemed like one step forward and two steps back.

I need to pray for this little one, I thought.  So I prayed for her.  And I recruited my prayer partners to pray for her.  Wouldn't you know, she started growing.  The thin, wasted little baby began to fill out and plump up.  It was amazing to watch how the Lord answered this prayer.

Today we celebrated baby of Lucy's 2000 gram party!  As an added bonus we also celebrated babies of Janet and Francisca.  We snacked on mandarin oranges, which were a gift to me from another patient, and no bake cookies.  I shared from Psalm 139 where the author describes how Papa God sees each of us before we are even born, that our days are written in His book.  I think these little ones must have a special place in His heart.

Prayer really makes a difference.  So to all my prayer partners out there, thank you for praying.   This is only one of the many lives you have touched.

(If you are not currently on my prayer partner list and you would like to receive updates with requests, drop me a note!  I would love to add you.)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Australian holiday

Start:     Sep 10, '09
End:     Sep 18, '09
Location:     Cairns and vicinity, Australia
Wahoo! My first real vacation. Becky Wallace and I are headed to Cairns, Australia for a week. Going down under!

Green paw

Thursdays are my half days off.  After rounds I leave the hospital and doctor responsibilities behind for the rest of the day.  The remainder of the morning is occupied by piano lessons.  I am the teacher and I have two very excellent students, Allison Dooley and Lydia Radcliffe.  I will have to write a separate story about that someday.  Afternoons are filled with a variety of activities such as baking bread, catching up on emails and blogs, reading, and working in the garden.  Oh, and of course... keeping Brutus the Wonder Dog out of trouble.

During the other week days when I am working at the hospital and Becky at the field office, Brutus spends his time in what I refer to as "The Slammer" (a.k.a. laundry room).  When we are at home for lunch or evenings or days off, we try to maximize his time outside.  If I am around to keep an eye on him, he is allowed to roam around the yard a bit.  He is especially fond of the garden with all of the hills and barrettes and dirt.

Being that today is Thursday, I decided to spend the afternoon pulling weeds in the garden.  Due to a bit of neglect on my part and plentiful rain, there was a rather dense jungle attempting to take over the blackberry patch.  Not our precious blackberry patch!  Becky and I rather enjoy our blackberry pies, so these bushes deserve a little extra care.  Since I was working outside, Brutus was taken off his chain and given a bit of freedom.  He was curious as to what in the world I was up to.  Well, more than curious... he wanted to help.  Apparently my dog has a green paw.  We played tug of war with the garden gloves and fetch with the weeds (I would throw them out and he would bring them back to me).  He ate weeds and dirt and sticks and whatever else he could find to munch on, and then collected a pile of snails for dessert.  Really, watching Brutus weed the garden was so comical I made hardly any progress on the weed jungle.  It was well worth the fun :).