Sunday, September 30, 2007
I just realized that you all might like to know the dates of my trip. I leave Indianapolis on Oct. 26th. Then, after going through Detroit, Amsterdam, and Dubai, I will arrive in Kabul on Oct. 28th. I leave Kabul on Nov. 28th and will arrive in Indianapolis on the 29th.
Ok, so I'm obviously not a good blogger. This is something I will definitely need to work on.
"Are you crazy? Why would you want to go to Afghanistan?" This is a question I hear often. So, I thought I should give a little bit of background for how this trip evolved. The church that I grew up in, Bethel Temple in Evansville, has been working in Afghanistan for quite some time. They have started schools and businesses to try and revive the economy in the war-torn country. This is what originally peaked my interest in Afghanistan. Then, about 2 years ago, a physician who used to work at St. Vincent came and spoke to us about her experiences in Afghanistan. I was enthralled and saddened as she spoke about the high maternal mortality rate (3rd highest in the world) and infant mortality rate (2nd highest in the world). As she spoke about women delivering on the floor, 4-5 per mat, I realized that this was someplace that I, as an OB/GYN, could be used. Then, last year I was at a medical missions conference in Louisville, KY and just happened to run into one of the men from my home church that is very involved with their work in Afghanistan. He told me about how they were wanting to get involved in a medical aspect and asked if I would be a part of that. They have established a missions agency called Uncharted International. Talk about a God-appointed meeting! I also found out about CURE International at that conference. They have hospitals throughout the world, including a well-respected one in Kabul. So, now I'm off to Kabul.
For those of you who worry about my safety, let me reassure you. Things in Kabul are fairly stable and there is a large military base close to where I will be. Things are dangerous outside of the city, but I don't plan on traveling outside the city. Also, I plan on being culturally sensitive, which includes wearing clothing that doesn't show ankles or arms and keeping my head covered.
Preparing for this trip has been nerve-wracking at times as well as exciting. I am very excited to get there and experience a completely different culture. I am also hoping to learn from the local physicians about caring for patients in a setting with very limited resources. I recently saw a documentary about an Afghan physician, Dr. Qudrat Mojadidi, who works in the US, but travels to Afghanistan every year and has a heart for empowering Afghan physicians. It was amazing to see what limited resources they have to work with. I hope, in some way, to bring some knowledge with me as I go. I'm sure, though, as is almost always the case, that I will learn more from them and from the patients than they will learn from me. (By the way, the documentary is very good and was on PBS. It is called "Motherland Afghanistan".)
Another aspect of preparing for this trip has been the financial aspect. Thanks to all of you generous donors, I have received $1025, which will be enough to cover the trip, in addition to the money from St. Vincent. Thank you all so much! I also appreciate all of you who are praying for me. Continued prayer requests include: safety, that we will find the right contacts and have insight into how Uncharted can fit into the medical picture in Afghanistan, and a humble spirit that will allow me to be a selfless servant.
I thought I would provide some pictures.
A woman in traditional Afghanistan dress
Less restrictive covering
The CURE International hospital in Kabul
So, stay tuned. I have found out that I can use my laptop at the hospital, so I will be updating this post, hopefully frequently, while I'm there.