Thursday, March 8, 2012
Sunday, September 25, 2011
We're back in the Bluegrass! Our trip was all we expected, but it is awesome to be back with friends and family (as well as drive a car, access reliable internet, and eat a hamburger!)
Thanks for reading, I hope the blog has encouraged you! We'll probably use the blog periodically-- post baby pictures on here one day or something.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
It's nice to take a break sometimes:
The Great Migration of the Wildebeasts, as they cross the Mara River near Tanzania:
Hamm's back in 2.5 wks!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Safety first! It is a mantra of modern suburban middle-class American culture. We avoid the uncomfortable, choosing instead the comfort of our safe schools, suburbs, and streets. We stay away from the inner cities; it's too dangerous! We ignore when millions are starving in Somalia; let's pray for the missionaries (when we remember to pray), especially pray for their safety and safe return to modern American comfort.
Christ didn't play it safe. It wasn't safe to challenge Pharisees, to be with publicans and sinners, to have no place to lay his head even. He wants obedience even in the absence of safety. See Luke 9. Francis Chan, in Crazy Love, proposes, "It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the Gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity." Ouch!
Extreme poverty has a smell. I smell it now each day in Kenya. One of my earliest encounters with the smell of poverty was in the backseat of our 1994 Pontiac. I'll never forget riding with the hitch-hikers my dad picked up when we were kids. Not only the smell, but the tattered clothes and "help me! i'm homeless!" signs have been embedded in my head since I was a youngster. Associated with this image, are the many spiritual conversations that took place in that car.
Picking up hitch-hikers is probably considered an "unsafe" practice. Most the time we keep driving-- are we lacking in compassion or is this too unsafe for us (or both)? Certainly I think this is situational (as I would never want my wife to pick up a man for example), but I think as Christians we should be actively involved in loving our neighbor somewhere. It will look different to different people. Maybe there is someone near you that you never thought to help, but now can see the need and are not afraid. Again, from Crazy Love, "If I were a non-Christian, would my life look any different than it does now?"
The beauty of the Good Samaritan is as an individual he decided to love his neighbor. He didn't second guess the traveler's choice of road or time of day that he had traveled. He could have easily said, "You shouldn't have traveled here." or "You should have had defense." How often is this our excuse for not helping-- the "they brought this on themselves" philosophy. I do believe it is as important how you help someone as in the fact that you do help them. But, ultimately, we should act. The Good Samaritan didn't question; he acted in obedience even in a dangerous and unsafe world.
Friday, August 26, 2011
We couldn’t assess how deep the arrow had gone until we got the lateral and anterior-posterior cervical spine X-ray films shown below. Obviously, the arrow went much deeper than we had hoped and our patient was sent to Theatre (British for Operating Room) for Exploration and Foreign Body Removal. Dr. Bacon, a trained Orthopedic Surgeon from North Carolina did the surgery since we do not have a trained Neurosurgeon at Tenwek Hospital. At Tenwek, staff members are often asked to work outside of their area of expertise, as in this case. He was able to completely remove the arrow, noting that it had torn through part of the Dura Mater that encases the spinal cord। He said he was unable to determine if the spinal cord had been damaged due to extensive bleeding.
Reports are that the patient is recovering well. It may take a while until we know the full extent of the damage to neurological function. As far as his social situation is concerned, we still have questions about the incident. Stealing in Kenya is a very serious offense. One report we heard was that a woman’s arm was chopped off because she was stealing tea leaves from a farm. Whether our patient’s “gardening” was actually thievery remains to be determined. People are reluctant to go to the police because they know the perpetrator often gets away with the crime via bribery.
Similar incidents are actually not uncommon here in Kenya. In fact, injuries from arrows or spears are more common than gun shot wounds at Tenwek Hospital. Violence occurs whether guns are widely available or not. Guns are outlawed unless authorized by the military. In Northern Kenya, however, arms are quite available, being shipped in illegally from Somalia.
Lethality is an argument used against guns. In the case above, had our patient been shot with a gun, we would have died. However, the purpose of a well-regulated militia, as George Mason puts it is to "prevent enslavement." This requires lethal weapons owned by the citizenry.
The Kenyan staff in Casualty was surprised that I owned two guns and that owning a gun did not require a license in many States in the United States. I taught them some American history about our 2nd Amendment and “Right to Bear Arms.” From discussions with Kenyans, I would argue that Kenya needs reforms in many areas politically as corruption is very prevalent here. A trustworthy military and police force would be a good place to start. Violence broke out in 2007 over election results, but the elections next year are not expected to cause the turmoil they did this year. It is still something we can keep in our prayers.
A few quotes below make clear the purpose of the 2nd amendment:
"I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." --George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." --George Washington, First President of the United States
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
Richard Henry Lee, American Statesman, 1788
"Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States
-- Quotes from taken from: http://cap-n-ball.com/fathers.htm.