Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heading out

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya. It is good to be back in Africa. I have spent the last few weeks working on an orphonage/resuce home for girls fleeing female circumcision. It is an illegal practice in Kenya, but common among certain cultures here. 

In the next few minutes, I will be starting on a five day drive to South Sudan. I will be there until February working with an NGO called Frontline builders (www.frontlinebuilders.org). It should be a rough(fun) journey. Keep us in your prayers.

Luke Fisher

I just pulled together this mailing list from a few of my email accounts. If you are not interested in my infrequent updates, just send me a note letting me know, and I can remove you. Also, if you happen to receive this letter as  forward from one of your friends, but would like direct updates, write me an email letting me know. These notes will also be posted to my blog: http://eatplants.blogspot.com. Also, my partner in crime, Joel Kurtz will be posting a better blog than I will: http://excelsiorr.blogspot.com. Keep in touch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

He who lives by the sword...

December 16, 2009
I turned a year older yesterday. All in all a good year I would say. It has had its adventures. Also its learning experiences. Hopefully I am the wiser from them. Anyway, last night the neighbors had a little birthday party for me. Somehow they made a pizza. Also we had my traditional birthday carrot cake (thanks Mom, for sending that!). Unfortunately, I was working at the hospital last night... Our night shift starts at 3pm. I had a nice suprise at 6pm though. Two of my off duty nursing friends showed up to help me give evening meds, so I could finish quickly and get away for a little bit. I had just sat down and was eating my first slice of pizza when there was a knock at the door. A trauma had just arrived at the hospital. Possibly a partial amputation.. So much for cake... I suspected it was a milling accident as we had seen some pretty bad lacerations from belt driven rice milling equipment before. As we unwrapped the forearm splint made of millet stalks, palm leaves, and a wrap skirt, it was obvious that this was no accident. This was the doing of a sword or machete. The man's left arm was cut at a diaganoal midway between elbow and wrist. The radius and ulna were both cut through. The only only thing keeping the hand attached was flap of skin on the inside of the wrist. It was not salveagable. Other injuries: about a 1/4 inch thick slab of skin/meat shaved off the left side of his face; 1 inch deep x 4 inch long gash on the back of his neck, a hack into the right shin bone (didn't go through), and many misc. smaller cuts on arms and shoulders. The details of the story were somewhat lost to me in translation but the basic idea was that the cattle of a herdsman were eating the harvested rice of a farmer and things came to blows.
Dr. James is gone to Njamena for two days, so Samedi did the amputation. He is our head nurse and lives just across the street. He started working here as a janitor 30 years ago and now is also our surgeon number #2. He has been to highschool (I think) but no formal medical training. All on the job. He did a smart job of the operation, while one of the surgery techs and I cleaned and stitched up the other wounds. After a few liters of fluids he had stable vitals and was doing well.  All the beds were full in the men's ward (and women's), so we wheeled him into the middle of the room and left him on the surgery gurney.
By this time, it was time for 9pm meds. One of the nurses from the birthday party had kindly stuck around to help me out, but just as we go started the nurse from Urgence ran in. Traumatisme encore!! This time it was two. The police had transported them in. One guy looked just a bit bruised/scratched and shook up and the other one had multiple deep head lacs and appeared to have a severe concussion or more serious closed head injury. I asked it they had been in a motor vehicle accident. No, this was reprisal. When you cut off a man's arm, his family may get upset and come looking for you. How does the saying go? An eye for an eye, a head for an arm? Last year, I hear that there was a similar incident escalated into clan warfar. 22 people were brought to the hospital over a several hour period with spear/arrow/or machete wounds. Several were killed. As I am writing this, there have been no more attacks today that I know of, so maybe it will end with the two. Both patients are still with us. We are keeping them in seperate wards as to keep family attendants out of sight from each other. There has been no trouble so far. Maybe everyone has learned their lesson.
I ended up having over 30 patients under my care by this morning. Didn't get much napping in... got off work at 9:30am. in bed by 10. slept like a rock until 2pm. Well, such is a day (night) in the life of a nurse at Bere. I found some couscous left here by a former volunteer. I am going to go cook it up and treat the night shift to a snack. They were kind to me yesterday.
        But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite         thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Re: Back in Zimbabwe

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 6:45pm local time
I have been waiting for  a good African mission story to happen so that I could have something interesting to write about. That might not happen for a while, so I guess I will go ahead and tell you about the ordinary goings on around here. Currently we are on our daily power outage, so I will try to keep this brief.
We have 54 orphans here. 23 of them are highschool students, around 12 are in elementary school and the rest range from newborn through pre-school age. I have been spending most of my time tutoring the highschool classes in such things as how to solve simultaneous linear equations graphically and how to calculate geometric transformations using matrixes. Some of these things (graphing equations) I remember more easily than others (matrixes). I have also been teaching chemistry/biology/and basic physics, getting the seniors ready for their exit exams next month.
Two other volunteers showed up the same week that I did. One of them is helping out with the preschoolers and the other one is doing something similar to a 4-H program with the rest of our kids. We are helping them set up a chicken raising co-op. We have purchased 50 broiler chicks so far and are going to be picking up 50 layer chicks tomorrow. (Interesting note: our broilers are the direct descendants of Tyson Foods in fayettville, AR).
Ok. battery is getting low. I spent yesterday sick in bed. vomiting, muscle aches. Supposedly no malaria around here, and I am feeling much better today. The kids tell me it was that wild fruit that I ate the day before... I dunno... Will write more later. Have alot to do tomorrow. Welding up an old maize storage cage into a rate/snake proof chicken house in the morning (if the power comes back). Keep in touch.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 9:30pm local time
Dear Friends and Family,
I am back in Zimbabwe. Arrived yesterday around 1pm after over 24 hours of travel. It would have been a bit grueling if not for my pleasant and interesting fellow travelers (quick shout out to any Zambian ex-pat computer system experts, Unicef public health directors or soon-to-be-married Rawandans who may be reading this ;)
The power went out just before sundown and was still off when I went to bed last night. I woke up pre-dawn. It was still pitch black outside. I didn't have a watch or a cell phone, so I stumbled around the room looking for a battery powered clock but couldn't find one. I did find an old laptop computer that was left here by my uncle. I powered it up and low and behold, it said 9:17pm... I was quite sceptical as to the accuracy of this and hoped that it was in the wrong time zone. About a minute later, I remembered the battery powered shortwave radio in the kitchen. It has a clock on the front and was hopefully still accurate. 9:18pm. I resigned myself to being up for a while and started stringing up a mosquito net. I had let a swarm of them in with the fresh air when I opened the windows to let in fresh air. Drank some water, ate  a stack of Lobel's bread to stave off my (whgat I thought were) morning hunger pains, put some Ladysmith Black Mambazo on my mp3 player and drifted off to the familiar old sounds of African harmony blended with the music of mosquitos that are just outside the net.
note: I am trying out remote blogging via email. This letter should now be posted on my blogspot (www.eatplants.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I am home for the summer. It is good to be back, but I am going to miss my kids. Here is a pic of some of the guys.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I leave for the airport in 10 minutes. Keep me in your prayers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Was out combining until 11pm last night. Did not get to bed until after midnight. Glad that I did, though. It rained all day today and will probably rain tomorrow. Only 45 acres left.
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