Please continue enjoying my experience, and if you have friends that would be amused and interested, please share it with them! I'm all for people learning the lessons I learned firsthand!
Ah, my cooking exploits.
I do declare, cooking is harder than it smells. And it smells pretty difficult sometimes. I've been cooking since Mrs Young left last Wednesday, and to my previous repertoire of mac and cheese and scrambled eggs, I have added scalloped potatoes, stir fry veggies, glazed carrots, chocolate cookies, Snickerdoodles, chicken soup, green bean casserole, boiled cabbage, cooked oatmeal (which believe me, even for a carstensen, is new), poached eggs, spaghetti with veggie tomato sauce, garlic toast, mixed veggies, salad, and fruit juice.
I believe I may be improving. Yet it is indeed a difficult task, fraught with terrible perils such as when the soup is cooking, sprinting back and forth from cupboard to cupboard searching for those strange things called cloves which you have heard of but haven't seen... or when the cookie timer beeps and the cookies are still doughy falling to your knees and crying out to the dear world, "What do I do when they are still doughy!!!"
Yes, I know, put them back in. But it's not that easy when it's your first time. So, allow me the room to rant, if you please.
Thankfully, I've had the pleasure of cooking for a very kind and gentle man, who rarely gets upset when the grisly mushroom things in the spaggheti sauce are unpalatable (lighten up, just cause I made it doesn't mean I have any idea what I put in it), or when the scalloped potatoes are the almost as hard as the carrots, and the carrots aren't cooked thoroughly, or the peas are cooked to the consistency of dried corn and look like underripened raisins, or when I accidentally pour the unfinished poached egg into his glass of milk...
Ok, I didn't pour the egg into his milk. But you get the point. I'm no rattatouie. But I'm getting there. Tonight I'm gonna try an eggy pineaple souffle... and I've never seen a sooffel before, so, it's gonna be an exciting attempt! I can't wait! Though I'll probably change my mind by the time tonight comes around. Depending on whether or not I can figure out what cornstarch is and where I can find it (lighten up! I'm a biologist, not a biologist! Wait. Oh. Sigh).
Surgeries here have been minimal. A few more hernias, ectopic pregnancies, and more to rush to Chit where the good Dr will operate, though here I've helped with getting a few broken bones set and completing a few more circumcisions.
Which, by the way, my male friends, (only - ladies, you may skip to the next paragraph) are very painful to watch and to help with. Even more so when the anaesthesia is primitive, and the maximum dose runs out halfway through the procedure... I felt criminal, and can still hear the young screams echoing in my mind... (AUGHH!) But excuse my rather unorthodox excursion into these matters in a public blog. I will try to limit such (dare I say) 'sensitive' dialogue in the future (yup, I dared).
But in addition to that, I'm finding it hard to accustom myself to the smells of the hospital. most of it is rather palatable now, but what with the occasional rooms reeking of pus and necrosis and waste, well, lets just say that Zambia as a whole is bearable (especially for me, from hotchkiss dorm at Masters), but the hospital here, well, you'd have to be from Smith to acclimate to it quickly.
The clinical officer here (US equivalent, Physicians assistant) is really kind and enjoys letting me watch and assist. The local Zambian CO does everything a general practitioner would and more, but there is a need of good surgeons, as the one surgeon our entire missions organization has to offer in Zambia gets kinda busy at times.
I went out to extend the pump in the river again, and had less tiger fish bites this time. I must say I'm rather relieved that the bulk of the local men who came to the river to bathe did so down stream of us. It was rather considerate of them.
I have been complying with my father's request and sharing my devotional favorites with Mr young, and it has been a worthwhile experience (I apologize, father, for my reticence upon such a request. Once again, you were right). The bible meetings the missionaries have are wonderful, as are the morning devotions (thankfully in English) for the hospital staff. The church services, of course, are in native luvale, and I'm improving my understanding of them. At this point, I can now recognize the words but, and, sir, thank you, lord, and God. It's not a complete understanding of the service, but it's a start. And if the missionaries say it was an inspired service, well, there you go. I have been inspired. Somehow.
I must say I am thinking with painful regret of the wonderful time my family and dearest friends (pardon me, many of my dearest friends) are having at Plumas Eureka as I sit to scribe. I do have the memories of the last 10 or so consecutive trips to that campground our family took to keep me company, with all the amazing exploits we took part in as kids, and all the trouble we got into. I also hold the hope close that I may return and camp once more the following year. I'm going to miss telling stories and making games and creekwalking and hiking and entertaining. And smores. And sneaking out at night to sleep under the stars on the river sandbar.
But of course, don't tell anyone about that. That's my secret.
I had entertained myself with the thought that perhaps people who had thoughts of traveling would stay home instead, and we could keep each other company through these miserable times. But of course, I wish indeed with all my heart that my friends could all go enjoy Plumas Eureka. I daren't hope upon them the misery of abandonment within which I presently suffer.
But it certainly isn't the catastrophe I'm working it up to be, I simply tend to wax eloquent in sorrow, and it appears as an exaggeration. For those of you who have yet to join us in a camping excursion, set apart a time in June! I dare say, of everyone who we have introduced to the joys of camping there in the last six years, all of them have been initially personally invited by me! Though that is an easily forgettable and rather useless fact of information, it does maximize your possible odds of going, because I have now formally invited you!
Oh yes, it's in June.
I am afraid that I must draw my epistle to a conclusion, at this point, because I presently suffer from a aching exhaustion that threatens to overcome me should I tarry here another minute. Please excuse my early retirement for a brief slumber. I encourage you to do the same! After all, a nap in time is worth nine in the bush! Or something to that effect.
Farewell, dear friends! With sincere infection (pardon me, affection) I miss you, and hope to see you some time soon before that great and timeless reunion in the clouds!
Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be, eh?