Thursday, June 13, 2013

Give the Gift of an Education

You Can Change This Child's Life For $1.15 a Day

Maimouna Zoundi was born on June 24, 2012.  Her mother died in 2006 when Maimouna was just one year old.  She has one older brother who is living in another town.

When Maimouna’s mother died, her father brought her to her grandmother to be cared for.  Her father is now living in a town over 300 kilometers away and she very rarely sees him. 

The grandmother is up in years and is no longer able to work in the fields.  The family lives in a small mud-brick house in Sector 3 of Yako.  Maimouna and her grandmother draw water from a nearby well, but it is not safe drinking water.

Maimouna is in the second grade (CP2) this year (2012-2013) at the Sheltering Wings Primary School.  She says that when she grows up she wants to be a teacher.
Sheltering Wings offers a private, Christian education for children in extreme need. The majority of the kids in our schools have lost one or both parents. The families are doing everything they can to feed their families and simply cannot afford the fees for school and school supplies.
Once children are enrolled in our schools they receive more than an education. Our philosophy is to take care of the total wellness of each child. We address their educational, physical and spiritual needs. Each child receives a school uniform, school supplies, a hot lunch daily and medical care. They learn in a safe and loving environment in classrooms that aren't overcrowded and with Christian teachers.
If you would like to sponsor Maimouna Zoundi and ensure her future please send me an email at or call the Sheltering wings office at 314-635-6316.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Medical Story

Disclaimer: If you are a man who hates the mere mention of anything having to do with the female reproductive system or it’s functions…proceed with caution. If you become dizzy when the subject of blood or anything medical comes up…this may not be for you. I have been as careful as I could to word things for those that are sensitive. 

About a month ago we were in Burkina Faso preparing for our trip back to the U.S.  We were setting dates with family and friends, scheduling speaking engagements and making appointments for dental and medical check-ups.  We were both excited to share our journey with those in the states and a little sad to be leaving behind our Burkina family.

We have learned to be flexible and remain positive when changes come our way because living in a different culture and working with children can be unpredictable. With all of our scheduling we expected a few changes. What we didn’t expect was that I would need a surgery that would require anesthesia that would knock me out, a few days in the hospital and six weeks of recovery.

This began with a routine women’s well care visit (gynecologist). I was happy because I was able to see the same ob/gyn that delivered both of our girls. In fairness, I knew there was a little something going on because about 4 months ago I felt a little lump in my abdomen just below my belly button and off to one side. Of course I did what anyone else would…I “googled” it. After much research I guessed that it was very possible that I had a fibroid tumor. It didn’t feel very big and I looked up the different treatments and figured that maybe they would try and shrink it or just leave it alone. WRONG!

At first after my doctor examined me and asked lots of questions he said that it “could” be a fibroid, but he wanted to give me a urine test first. Yep, he was checking to see if I was pregnant. PREGNANT! I chuckled at this because, really, there was no way I could be pregnant. I would know, right?

My suspicions were correct. I was not pregnant. To be sure what we were looking at I was scheduled for some blood tests and an ultrasound. What the doctor did say was a little shocking. My uterus was the size of someone who was 5 months pregnant and what he felt inside of me was really large. Now I understood the pregnancy test!

The next day I had all of the testing done. Diagnosis: at least 3 fibroid tumors the size of large grapefruits that needed to come out and I would need a hysterectomy. I was then sent to a surgeon who agreed that these would need to be removed immediately. At this point all of my other organs and their functions were in good shape and the cancer screening blood test came back normal. Whew! So now what?

The surgeon explained to me that because I had no previous history or record of these fibroids it would be very risky to remove them the new and improved modern, less painful way…robotically. This is where I tell all of my women friends out there that you really should go see your doctor every year for routine check-ups! It was not the size of the tumors that made the less-invasive surgery difficult, but if any of these tumors were cancerous, my body would be exposed and the cancer would likely spread. This was really a no-brainer…I would have a traditional hysterectomy.

The day of my surgery, everything went very smoothly and the hospital was very nice and the staff was very attentive and helpful. After surgery I had a private room (in fact all the rooms at this hospital are private). I had no complications, the tumors were benign and I was able to leave after a two night stay.

It has been about a week and a half since my surgery. I am up and moving around, enjoying a lunch out or a coffee at Starbucks. I am taking it easy, but I have to say that I am surprised at how quickly I am healing. What I am left with is a thankful heart that I was able to have this procedure here in the United States, and a great sadness at the state of medical care in Burkina Faso. We have endured much frustration over this subject as we have seen people die first-hand because of lack of knowledge and training, little to no equipment and resources, or facilities that are too far to reach. The contrast between countries is overwhelming.

After my recovery period we will board a plane and head back to our home in Burkina. Despite the hurdles and obstacles we face, we know that we are home there. There is no greater joy when God uses us to love, assist, clothe, feed and bring healing to his children. And though there are hardships, there are also huge victories!
God Bless!