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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just Another Day

Spent yesterday in meetings with 15 other people representing 4 nationalities, 8 ethnic groups, I'm not even sure how many organizations, and one very big God.  With an average of 3 languages spoken by each person, but no one with the same combination, communication flitted back and forth seamlessly as we work together to advance our work into areas not yet reached.  There are some amazing perks to this job.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

If You Can't Stand the Heat...

I have moved from Temporary Residence #1 to Temporary Residence #2 this week.  Quite an upgrade - complete with a kitchen!  I didn't realize just how excited I was about it until I found myself with a cart full of ingredients for cookies of the chocolate chip variety.  You don't know what you're missing until you go without.  Hello cookies, I've been dreaming of your chewy chocolatey goodness.

Ten life lessons learned from baking chocolate chip cookies:

1.  Appreciate life's simple pleasures.  When God gives you chocolate chips, make cookies.  (But only with half of the bag because they are too expensive to admit how much you might have paid for them.)


2.  Be prepared.  Otherwise, you'll end up with something other than cookies. 


3.  Let others help you.  Even an oven needs assistance from a tank of propane now and then.  And, think outside the box. 

4.  Sometimes, even simple things may throw you for a loop.  It's okay if you can't mentally convert 350*F into Celsius.  That's what Google is for.

5.  Balance is important.  And everybody has something unique to contribute.

6.  It's good to mix things up.  Just make sure your 110V mixer is connected to a converter before you plug it into a 220V socket.

7.  Even your best intentions may start to melt and slide all over the place.  No worries.  Just smoosh them back up.


8.  Appreciate God's perfect timing, even when cookies in the oven take longer than planned.


9.  If you can't stand the heat, sometimes you have to take a break and get out of the kitchen and close the door behind you.  And trust that what's going on in there is what's supposed to be going on.


10.  But sometimes, if you can't stand the heat, just eat your cookies in front of the fan.

A big, huge thank you to Tim and Jeana for going to America and graciously lending me their home.  Tim, Jeana, I know you're not even off the plane yet, but I'm thoroughly enjoying your house already!  You guys are the best!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jungle Pigs and Chicken Beaks

This past week I went with Boon, Pong, Nan and Reed up to an Akha village in Mae Yao district reporting that they had some pigs with pneumonia. MMF works with several villages in Mae Yao. This was the first time I had been up to Mae Yao since I've been here, and also my farthest trip into Mae Yao, and it was fun along the way to catch glimpses of villages I visited last year.

As we passed through the village of Moh Pii (Spirit Doctor village), the last landmark on the path that I recognized, heavy rain began to fall. It wasn't long before we were spinning wheels in the deep mud ruts that were cut into the steep mountain path. We were stuck.



We attempted the steep pass several times with all kinds of ingenuity, including the two other guys and me bouncing up and down in the bed of the truck (Nan was sensible and stayed inside) as Boon revved the engine and sent mud flying everywhere. In the end we parked the truck at the bottom of the hill and walked the rest of the way to the village.


                                           

When we arrived in the village, we were told that indeed, there were sick pigs, but that they were all (with the exception of 11 small-bodied pigs) out in the jungle.  Fences and pens to contain the village's cattle, buffalo, chickens and pigs are a rarity out here, as most animals are allowed to run wild and forage for their own food.    I have no idea how the villagers know how to find them or even which animal belongs to them.  Many times, when they slaughter one of the animals for food, they go out in the jungle and hunt it like a wild animal.  

We treated the 11 metropolitan pigs living in the village and after a hearty lunch of rice, barbecued wild pig, vegetable soup and scrambled eggs we sat down with he villagers and discussed how they could treat the sick pigs as they found them in the jungle.  (How the people of the village  know they have pigs coughing in the jungle I haven't figured out.)

Finally, we reached the truck after climbing what seemed like uphill both ways and headed back down the mountain.  We stopped in one final village where chicks were suffering from an outbreak of mucocutaneous lesions around the face and beak.  They are eating fine and the mortality rate is low.  So, not Newcastle.  Any ideas?  It looks like some kind of herpes or papilloma virus to me.


Two days later and my legs are still sore.

6/7/2011 Update: After doing a bit of research about what might be ailing these avian babies, it seems as though the chickens are suffering from... chicken pox.  I wonder if they're as itchy as I was when I had it.