Separation of work from the home is challenging, especially here at Mbingo, which is a small, rather insulated community. We live only three minutes from the ward and the clinic! However, other than the obvious need to not bring germs home, more importantly, is a mental separation from what we see and do on the wards, and not letting disappointments and defeats creep into home life. Maintaining a positive outlook on things when work seems bleak has been more challenging here than back in the US. Perhaps it is our close proximity to work, maybe the lack of diversions. Whatever the case, it has been challenging to stay positive on the wards, remain empathic towards our patients, and to not allow disappointments from work enter life at home.
However, we are fortunate to have wonderful friends and fellowship here, and a few things in particular help to keep us sane when things are tough:
1) Beautiful views & hiking:
These two photos are actually panoramic shots from the Sparks' backyard: one in early morning, and the other just before sunset.
2) Weekend retreat:
Our friends, the Sparks (Steve is a PAACS Surgeon here at MBH), offered for us to stay in their guest house for the weekend. They live about 10 minutes from the hospital and have a ridiculous view of the surrounding landscape.
Cathen's 8-month photo shoot in the Sparks' backyard
3) Sunday night praise & worship:
We have started gathering together every other Sunday to play guitar, sing songs, and fellowship. This has been a much needed respite and a wonderful time to relax and enjoy time with friends away from the hustle and bustle of work.
4) Baked goods, home made ice cream, and fresh coffee:
Although we have all lost weight since moving here (we thought this might happen... but don't worry, we are not wasting away), we are blessed to have a wonderful friend, Cynthia, who enables us to work at the hospital by helping us as a fantastic cook, and we are enjoying daily meals (local fare and meals from home); weekly cinnamon rolls, banana bread, and cakes. We have also borrowed an ice cream maker for the weekend. Then of course, there is the coffee - locally grown, freshly roasted and ground, and brewed to perfection every morning with our french press (thanks to Chuck Larson for bringing the press!). It is excellent!
Again, we miss you all, and wish you were here. Shoot us an email if you have a moment - we'd love to hear how you are doing. Blessings!