The stereotype I had of Africa (and I think that many people share) is largely based on the Lion King. I truly was disappointed on our first trip that Kenya was not filled 24-7 with epic music and dancing. . .yes I secretly hoped the animals would sing too, but I did know that was a little farfetched. Real life is cities and people and cars and schools and hospitals, and we rarely encounter the source of the stereotype. Except for the days when it is completely true.
We took our visiting peds residents Kara and Johanna to Crescent Island last weekend for a day that was Africa as completely as one might imagine. Grazing with zebra, chasing impala, and standing meters from baby giraffe. The adult giraffe below stood so still that we nearly bumped into him. The zebra were relaxed enough that I could lay on the ground to shoot their pictures. And for whatever reason, none of the animals were concerned about our very close proximity to their young. In some ways it is the exact opposite of the Lion King when you are in close proximity to these huge beautiful animals. The world goes completely silent and still. . .movement slows as does time. Only the wind and birds, and the way-too-loud crunching of our footsteps make a sound (the giraffe are virtually silent when they move). It is a sacred, magical, amazing silence and peace that is far more magical than any Disney song.
The peace was a welcome break from the past weeks. Work has been completely crazy for Arianna after the new hospital opened. Running and running, call and call and more call. Orienting new medical officer interns who arrived two months early (Arianna is helping a Kenyan colleague who is out on Maternity leave for several months). Setting up our friends from UAB to succeed in the hospital. Teaching CPR and PALS to interns who are eager to learn more.
Work for me has been frenetic but good as well. In the new year I found myself with a new boss and new department to work with. It is an amazing situation as our new employees are hard workers and there is so much to do an improve. Like Arianna, I want them to settle in well, have good clear directions to succeed, and am also working really hard to do whatever I can on my end to make it happen. New website, patient info brochures, marketing and fundraising campaigns, social media plans, meetings with multiple hospital staff to plan and dream. Shooting for projects and missionaries headed back to the states for home assignment.
We are doing our best to set limits and boundaries, to take time to rest amidst the busyness, to love each other and the girls well, and to not run so ragged that compassion fades. Through grace, many prayers, we are held up and held together.