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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Paeds Team

The problem with hellos, is that they carry within them the seeds of goodbyes.
Departure is the dark side of team. Missions has an inherent instability, throwing people together who are all outsiders and have some degree of temporariness. Add to that the fact that Bundibugyo pretty much chews people up and spits them out, and it often felt like we were always saying goodbye to our colleagues there. Here in Kijabe, we're part of a much larger community, the very size of which blunts some of the impact of the losses. But both of our nearest neighbors are due to leave in July, families with 20-30 years of service here. As is the former medical director who gave us our jobs, and his wife with whom we've worked closely in the RVA clinic and just enjoyed as a person. And the superintendent of the school, who has been here most of his life. Every year has turnover, but many are saying this year will be a record one.
The first goodbye of the season, though, hit very close to home. Anand M and his wife Sophia came here as missionaries from India last Fall. Both were from southern Christian families and grew up as third-culture-mission-kids in the North. Both have a great heart for missions and a connection to Africa. Anand finished his medical internship, and Sophia qualified in paediatric dentistry. And by God's grace they found themselves here at Kijabe. I have worked more closely with Anand than anyone else since I arrived, rounding and pondering and resuscitating and reviewing our patients together nearly every day for the last five months. He's one of those cheerful, competent, can-do sorts of doctors that are a joy to have on staff. And as a couple they invested in Bible studies for the interns. We spent some fun evenings together. In the course of his time at Kijabe he was accepted to a Paediatrics Residency program in the USA, in Cleveland, a wonderful opportunity to further his training. So on Monday we gathered as a Paeds Team at our house for dinner, prayer, and goodbye.
I'm thankful for Dr. Mardi and her family here via SIM for at least 2 years, for Dr. Dan E. and his family volunteering for two months as they transition from a long career in Africa probably back to the States for at least a year or more, and Bob and Lillian the married clinical officer couple who provide continuity and good clinical judgement as the rest of us come and go. I'm thankful for Dr. Immaculate M, who is on a two-month leave so missed the party. But I will miss Anand and Sophia very much. I've had a heavy irritable heart much of the week and finally realized why. Losing a colleague who has become a friend hurts, even for a good cause.

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