09 July 2009

A Senegal Wellness Center Visit

March 21, 2009, excerpts from Senegal Mission Newsletter:

Last Friday the staff of the Wellness Center clinic went to a village, Pecc Maya, to pay a routine visit to their Nutrition Center. Even though we were leaving @ 9:30 AM I anticipated we might be back by 5 PM so I could join my husband, Paul, and a friend at Dakar Academy where they were serving American style hamburgers. Stop #1 was at the doctor’s house in Dakar to pick up the other staff ....... Traffic is always slow leaving Dakar. Stop #2 was in Diamnadio to meet the mayor and his assistants regarding moving the clinic to that growing area. ......Stop #3 at Pecc Maya came after many miles of sandy road, thatched huts, and herds of goats. 60 children and their mothers were sitting under a large Baobab tree, the national symbol of Senegal. It is now 2:45pm and I am starved. People in Senegal eat lunch around 2 or 2:30p. After many pictures, several speeches and introductions, and a trip to the outdoor toilet we slowly made our way from this church/nutrition center. Funds have been cut at this center so they have had to decrease this service from 2x/week to once/week. The pastor’s wife prepares the food at her house and transports it 7 miles to the village by horse and wagon! Stop #4 was at a (Muslim) friend’s house to pay respects .....since (a burial) this AM. Picture a grass-walled compound with 3 concrete houses around a courtyard of chickens and shrubs. ..... Stop #5 was at Pastor Etienne parsonage where we ate at the adjoining outdoor church. Lunch was .. ground beef with onions and french fries sandwiches (yes, fries ON the sandwich) packed by the Methodist Center kitchen staff this AM. #6 was in Mbour at Pastor John Pierre’s parsonage and church. He is the Wellness Center’s chaplain. I felt very welcome when his precious 4 mo old son came to me 15 minutes after taking one look (at my white face) and screaming. ... Stop #7 An hour later we pulled into the goat market. -Picture a large market area with Muslim men in long robes supervising young men in western clothes as they feed and sell goats. It was a Kodak moment. Our friend, Ben Cheich BA picked out a goat. They tied the goat’s legs and placed him in the back of our 12 passenger van. ..... #8 was to let Ben Cheich BA with his new goat out at his house. #9. Finally my apartment where Paul arrived 20 minutes later with the most delicious hamburger I have had in months, maybe even years!
The trip Monday to the Nutrition Center in Thies was only different in that we were in a large city not a small sandy village with huts. ... We made 6 stops before I got home at 8PM that night. Now I know what to expect with Wellness Center trips!
Kittie Messer

UMC Missionary to Senegal

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