16 July 2013

Delayed in Dar

When in Africa, they say there’s a big need to learn about flexibility! Well, we’ve only been here six days and already things have taken an unexpected turn, forcing a change to our schedule!
We arrived in Tanzania last Thursday morning as per the schedule – and into the hustle and bustle of Dar es Salaam, complete with our five bulbous suitcases; maxed-out with the maximum excess luggage allowance! Both flights went well although our two-hour stop-over in Qatar provided a few chuckle moments! Despite the fact it was past midnight it was so hot and humid as we descended the steps of the plane that my specs steamed up completely, although that’s no excuse for what happened next!  It would seem that the cubicles in the Gents loos at Doha airport certainly weren’t meant for one man and his suitcase! In trying to manoeuvre my way out of the cubicle my passport & ticket somehow got knocked into the toilet, which was thankfully flushed! Much time was spent drying it out under the very hot hand-dryer!
Anyway – our first few days in Tanzania were spent with Tony & Cath Swanson in their home in Morogoro, which is about a four-hour drive from Dar. We were introduced to the rest of the small team there, driven around the town and its facilities, and were able to have a look at a potential house that might be available for us come December. All too quickly it was time for us to leave and so on the Sunday afternoon we were driven back to Dar in readiness for a flight to Nairobi on the Monday – which is where the unexpected turn comes into play!
As I type we should already be at ABO (Africa Based Orientation) in Kenya but alas it turns out that something else was happening en-route to Africa that wasn’t quite so amusing – a blood clot was developing in one of Ruth’s legs (DVT). What felt like a pulled muscle didn’t improve and it was decided that Ruth should get it checked out by a doctor, especially as Ruth’s mum has a history of DVT. Ruth had a number of blood tests done as well as an ultrasound scan and sure enough, a blood clot was found. The doctor gave a very definite ‘thumbs-down’ to the idea of us flying to Nairobi and instead admitted Ruth to hospital for regular enoxaparin injections and warfarin tablets (rat poison!) that will thin the blood and dissipate the clot – hopefully by Thursday!
I know the words ‘hospital’ and ‘Africa’ may raise a few concerned eyebrows - but be assured that Ruth is being very well cared for at the Aga Khan hospital in Dar where she even has her own room with an Indian Ocean view! We’re very aware that we’re amongst the privileged few in this country who can turn to good medical facilities when we need to and we’re very thankful for that – and for the fact we’re insured! Ruth will have to have a number of blood tests over the next few weeks and months to keep an eye on things but we’re obviously thankful that this was discovered now and wasn’t more serious than it could have been. We hope that she’ll be discharged on Thurs/Fri with a ‘thumbs-up’ to travel to Nairobi, possibly on Saturday, so that we can join up with the ABO class in Machakos. That’s the tentative plan but, as we’re learning, we need to hold on to our timetables and schedules lightly! “Many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)! 
So – in future, when I’m tempted to inwardly mock those folks in the aisle of a plane who are doing all sorts of weird and wacky contortions to keep their blood flowing, I’ll think again!!
Thank you for your on-going prayers or, as a certain Corsham pastor says, for ‘holding the ropes’ for us as we go through this.
Steve (and Ruth!)