Some people spend the days before a big test trying to cram as much information into their noggins as they possibly can, stressing the limits of both mind and body. This is what my wife does. If she hasn’t rummaged through all of her available notes, studied her brains out, and developed a twitch in her left eye, then she doesn’t feel that she has properly prepared herself for an exam.
I, on the other hand, normally take a more passive approach to formal tests. I figure that if I haven’t comprehended something after 8 months of active study, then I’m probably not going to nail it down in the eight hours before I’m tested on it, so why go through all stress of trying to? That would be like going on a diet the day before your annual medical check-up. You can eat celery sticks until they come out your ears; that muffin-top isn’t going anywhere. You’d be better off to just own it and relax.
So, you can imagine the scene in our little jungle home on the eve of our second language evaluation last weekend: Rochelle was at the epicenter of a neurotic whirlwind of studying, worrying, and cleaning while I stood in a sheltered nook nearby trying to quell the storm by saying helpful things like, “Just calm down, honey! You don’t have a chance of getting that tense figured out before the consultants come anyway! How about we just watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’ instead?”
It turned out that it didn’t matter what I was wanting the evening to look like anyway though, because, apparently, my evening already had plans of its own. These plans consisted mainly of a difficult childbirth going on in our village, eventually culminating in me having to remove the after-birth from the mother and inspect the placenta. I can tell you, this was an event that was definitely not on my “bucket list.”
I’ve mentioned before that I have about as much medical savvy as a hard-boiled egg, and that was just in reference to basic first-aid. When it comes to mid-wifery, my knowledge base is even less. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was able to stand on my absent teammate’s kitchen counter and get a call out to our mission doctor for advice, I don’t know what I would have done.*
Thankfully, it turned out not to be nearly as big of a deal as it could have been, which was great, because it was already awkward enough without added complications: “Excuse me, young lady, I know that you and I have never exchanged more than a couple of sentences in the whole time I’ve lived here, and I don’t really have a clue what I’m doing, AND, until just a couple of months ago in the Iski culture, men almost never go near a child-birth. But the doctor says that I need to take a look at this mass of partially delivered nastiness and see what’s up.”
So, that was late night number one. Our language consultants arrived the next day on the chopper, and we started into our evaluation the next morning. We decided to pause the eval around supper time and continue on the next day. That was good, because that left my schedule just free enough that evening that I got to be escorted by a buddy in the village to where a 4 year-old little boy and his dad had just gotten a pot full of boiling water accidentally spilled over them while they were sitting by the fire.
Call me ignorant, but I had always thought that it was something of an exaggeration to say that someone’s skin had “melted off.” Well, I guess you learn something new every day. I also learned that 3rd degree burns may not hurt as much as 1st or 2nd degree burns, but they make up for it by being way scarier and harder to treat. We figure that the 4 year-old probably lost about 30% of the skin on his back, belly, arm, and leg to second and 3rd degree burns (he was the one who got the worst of it). So, that was a fun three hours. I think I can confidently check “nurse in a burn ward” off of my possible job prospects in the future.**
We finished our evaluation the next day. In the end, Rochelle got checked off at “progressing-low,” and I am in “progressing-mid.” That puts us roughly halfway through our formal culture and language study! Our consultants seem confident that if I don’t waste my time on silly, time-consuming things like eating, sleeping, and breathing, then I might even be able to finish up before we head out on Home Assignment next August!***
So, thank you very much for your prayers and support! And, thank you in advance for praying for the Iski friends that I mentioned who are having a tough time of it right now medically. Please pray that their hearts would be able to rest in the goodness of the God we serve, even in the midst of some very unpleasant situations.
* The Williamson’s house is higher off the ground than ours is, and this was the only spot where I could find any cell coverage.
**A couple of Iski guys agreed to hike him 5 hours away, on a little stretcher, covered with wet cloths, to the nearest aid post. The aid post is out of medicine, but they do have nurses, so we are hoping that they will be able to give him enough assistance to help him pull through. We sent antibiotics along with him, but still, if he does make it, it’s going to be a long road to recovery.
***They said Rochelle might end up being on a different time-table, because they are going to let her eat and sleep.