Travel Log – Day 3

Greetings from Theis!  It has been another day of training and cultural immersion.  After breakfast, we piled into the bus for a visit to Bartimee Hospital, a medical facility that provides affordable care by local physicians to the Senegal people.  Within this relatively small hospital, people receive dental care, deliver children, and have surgical procedures.  The hospital is especially known in the region for cleft pallet surgeries.  A major reason why I’m so excited about this place is the fact that back in 2008 this hospital had only 2 floors.  My church, Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, took up a special offering during Christmas that year and was able to donate $250,000 so they could add 2 additional floors.

So, those floors in the photo above would not exist were it not for generous giving.  It’s just cool to actually walk through, and touch something that your church did for someone on the other side of the world.  Sometimes, when we give we don’t see the results and we think the money goes into someone’s pockets or evaporates into the atmosphere – but there are good people in this world doing some good things.

It was neat to see the city from the roof of the hospital, one of the tallest points in the region.  From there we went to some markets.  I was very glad to have guides and translators because being in a new environment like that can be intimidating.  We saw everything under the sun from jewelry to cell phones to groceries – including witnessing a delivery of 3 skinned goats to a butcher shop – they were just sitting in the trunk of his car.  There was also section in the market dedicated to fabric which reminded me of my wife and her sewing/knitting friends.   I was going to try to buy some but was a little intimidated by the buying process and by the possibility of choosing something that was unattractive.

I took this photo of the fabric district but I had to do it quickly.  It is possible to offend someone by taking a photo without their permission.  Then we had some lunch.  I have to say so far that the food here has been absolutely delicious.  Today I had a Royal Hamburger – beef, cheese, French fries, and fried egg all on a bun – it was really good.  Tonight we ate at a restaurant and I had a au gratin fish dish.

We actually ate this dish of rice, meat, and vegetables the day before but I wanted to show you the traditional way of eating.  We have one large platter or bowl and everyone shares.  You basically think in your mind that it’s like a pizza and you have a “slice” – you just stay in your section.  We used spoons although when we are in the village they will use their fingers. 

Tomorrow we will head to Djmane.  I finally will see my namesake, Theirno, again!  I will not have internet access until Tuesday so I will have to sign off for a few days.  Much love to everyone who has been following along.

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