Thursday, August 4, 2011

Toilets and Servant of the Month

After a few good nights of sleeping soundly, I am gaining my energy. I also decided that I do not have to do everything scheduled for the visitors from Church of the Nativity in Baltimore. They fit in well here, especially Jonathan whom the Nigerians affectionately call "Mr. President."

At yesterday's staff/family meeting, Nurse Caroline received the well-deserved and prestigious honor being "Servant of the Month." Each month, the administrative staff takes nominations for someone who has worked very hard. Once they decide who most deserves it, and barring any objections from any staff member, the winner takes possession of a trophy--and a little cash. Soon everyone is joking with that person; "When will you buy me lunch?"

Before lunch today, I delivered the daily health talk to about 100 patients. Me, someone who is not a nurse or doctor and even scored low in science. But here, I am qualified to talk about staying healthy. Someone suggested that I teach the patients how to properly use the toilet at Faith Alive. What?! Apparently some (many?) from the rural areas know only to use the floor and clean themselves with water (see small blue plastic pitcher in the snap), not toilet paper. Because demonstration is an effective way to teach, I quickly decided that I was not comfortable with that. So I chose to talk about mental health, about making sure that there is at least one person to confide your secrets and share your personal burdens, a person you trust who can also know your HIV status and not stigmatize you. In addition to that friend, and even more important, is the very best confidant--Jesus, who loves us unconditionally and earns my Servant of a Lifetime Award.

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