This week I joked with my medical students that we were running an “eternal medicine” service. Surgery is very different than internal medicine and surgeons often feel that internal medicine rounds take an eternity thus the name “eternal medicine.” This is no disrespect to my internal medicine colleagues for whom I am very grateful…I could not manage their patients whose problems tend to be more mentally complicated than my surgical patients, thus the difference in our rounds.
During last year's dry season I had a crazy idea: what if I took a time-lapse video of my walk across the field to the hospital? If I took a photo every day, just one step further, perhaps it would tell the story of dry season. You could watch the field grow more and more yellow and dusty as the season progressed, and then at the end, watch the return of green grass.
It actually worked out pretty well, and I was pleased with the result, except that it was completely silent. I asked our musician teammate, Eric McLaughlin, if he had written any songs that would go well with the theme of dry season. He recommended a song called Banga Hill, that he had written during their very first dry season in Burundi. It talks about our need for God's grace to "rain" into our lives, washing away our sins and quenching all our thirsts.
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”
Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
More of Eric's music can be found here.
Most of the team recently attended the Serge East Africa retreat that occurs every four years.
And to update you on our ever-growing and transitioning team, check out this video that we shared at retreat - created by our oldest team kid Jonah Watts:
And a few more retreat pictures:
|Our talented teammates leading worship|
|Fun time with friends|
|Running on the beach at sunrise|
|Beautiful creation drawing us to our Creator|
|A preliminary planning sketch|
|The piers for the Power Pac were poured and we waited for the right time to level the corn field to prepare for the solar array|
Volunteers at ITEC spent countless man-hours throughout 2017 and early 2018 purchasing equipment, building and testing the Power Pac. The two containers shipped from Pennsylvania in March of this year and came via New York City, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Suez canal, changed ships in India, the port of Dar es Salaam and then finally by road to Burundi.
|To our great relief the containers arrived safely in early June|
|Greg Sund diligently "supervising" the unloading of the solar panels|
The Power Pac was set in place by two cranes, one of which must have been from the WW2 era.
The container moving attracted lots of curious onlookers
The team laying out the supports for the solar array under the watchful eye of Jack Myhre, our highly-skilled engineering intern
Digging postholes by hand
|Dressed in his awesome pink bathrobe, our charismatic and resourceful welder puts the final touches on the array supports|
Solar panel supports ready for the arrival of the ITEC team.
Power Pac and new generator covered and prepared.
Strong and willing hands.
Solar array going up panel by panel.
|First array installed|
Always donning proper safety equipment, these men are pulling the supply wire to the hospital.
|Inside the Power Pac 15 battery inverters hang on the right side...|
|....and the switchgear and battery bank on the left.|
Just a few of the 28 ITEC expert volunteers who came to install the Power Pac