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Marcy's Journal / Pictures
2009: Nov / Dec 2010: Feb
Jeremiah Update (see pictures)
We made several trips back to the doctor with Jeremiah, but the doctor was unable to take the stitches out because Jeremiah would move too much. A nurse, who recently returned back to the mission field, was able to get some of them out while in our home (we tried to distract Jeremiah with a movie). Today, we returned to the first hospital for Jeremiah to go under (anesthesiology) and in a few minutes the last few were stitches were taken out.
Everything is healing fine. It was recommended that we put Vitamin E on the scars to help them go down. Jeremiah has a follow-up visit in next month.
Wedding (see pictures)
In Honduras, marriage paperwork is a hard, long, process and is expensive for a ‘legal’ marriage certificate. I do not know if churches require someone who wants to get married to be a member, serve in the church, attend for a certain length of time, etc. Also, I am not sure every church has paperwork to be able to marry someone and the couple would still need the ‘legal’ paperwork too. So, not everyone gets legally married or married in a church. When a person is married, the wife does not take the husband's last name. The name is not a good indicator of who is married and who is not. I do not know if it is because when a child is born they get two last names: their mom's and their dad's last name.
NOTE: In the city, there are more legal marriages and weddings because the amount of people who have more money is higher. However, what I am describing is more of how families are formed in more rural areas and then up into the mountains.
Then, how does it work? How do people get ‘married’ or get ‘together’? A boy and a girl (often when they are teenagers) will decide they want to be together. So, they are together. There is not always a wedding. They do not ‘leave (their parents) and cleave (to their spouse)’ per se because they might be living in the same house or be building a house on the same property as parents or aunts and uncles or other family members. At age 15 teenagers decide if they want to continue school (past 6th grade) or to work. Which means, that 15-year-old teenage girls may decide to be a wife and mother. We know one girl who didn’t like school at age 9. Her mom (who does not read or write) just had a baby and that is where the daughter wants to be. So, she stopped going to school. Her parents do not make her go and there is no legal obligation. The mentality is ‘school is not that important’ or ‘I do not need school.’ Even kids that go to school think that ‘I’m just going to go from grade to grade in school whether I am learning or not learning’ (school is seen as something just to ‘get over with’). I have students who want to go on to level 2 English class when they fail level 1 (because at their school they can advance to another grade by attendance, but not in my class!).
We were invited to our first Honduran wedding and I will have to say, it was very ‘North American’ in many ways. Mikayla, Rebekah, and I went over during the day to help decorate. We cut and curled ribbons, taped some greenery to each one, and a family member hung them up around the porch and house. Family was arriving and food was cooking. The cakes arrived (yes, cakes plural)!
Maribel and Roger have been our friends since we have lived here in Zambrano. They are not a couple who decided to ‘be together’ because they were young, however, the story follows the above (move in, have children, build house on the property of the parents). They have three awesome children: Ariel (11), Kevin (8), and Yosari (Joe-sarry) (4). Maribel and Roger received Jesus later in life (I do not know how many years ago). And at some point after being saved, decided now was the time to make their marriage legal and have a wedding. They must have been saving and saving and saving their money. They also had help from family members (padrinos, which can mean god parents OR someone who financially gives support, and Maribel borrowed a wedding dress from a cousin).
The service was beautiful. It started with ribbons strewn across the isle from each row of chairs. To start the procession, their middle son, Kevin, came down the isle cutting each ribbon. This signifies that the groom is the first to pass down the isle. The groom, Roger, and his mother was next followed by the padrinos. Then, their oldest son, Ariel, carried the bible followed by the first niece carrying the rings. Next to walk in was the daughter, Yosari, and nephew carrying a rope (the rope was in a circle and would be put around the bride and groom on their way out of the church). The flower girls (all nieces of the bride) came in one by one and threw flowers pedals on the carpet. The maid of honor was the eldest niece of the bride. Then the bride, Maribel, was escorted down the isle by her brother.
The message was short, rings were exchanged, and before you knew it, they were kissing and pronounced man and wife. We helped bring chairs from the wedding to the reception in the back of the truck. Once at the reception (at the house – or areas of all the homes), the newlyweds did a toast, fed each other cake, and tossed the bouquet and garter. We were all served yummy Honduran food (rice, salad, corn tortillas, and beef that had cooked over the hot fire all day long). We were able to practice our Spanish all day/night with meeting new people as well as seeing people we already knew. All the kids were running and playing together. A good time was had by all.
What a message this sent to family, friends, and their children about the importance of marriage and committment. Many eyes were filled with tears, others filled with hope and dreams for their future, while others seemed like they were looking and asking, "What is different (good different) about this couple and their family?"
Dog Attack (see pictures)
On New Year’s Eve, we went to a neighboring ministry to rehearse in a newly formed worship band for a service that evening. Katarina was at a friend’s house for the night and Mikayla, Rebekah, and Jeremiah packed some toys so they could play in the courtyard while we rehearsed. I went through my list of do’s and don’ts (don’t go out the gate, don’t go in the rooms, play in this area, don’t leave toys out, etc.). We hadn’t even set up all the instruments when we heard Jeremiah scream.
Kjell and I ran outside to find Jeremiah bleeding and people saying he was attacked by a dog (a Japanese Akita). I guess he was petting the dog and it jumped up and bit him over the shoulder and knocked him down. When he pushed the dog and stood back up, it bit his head behind the ear. One of the staff at the ministry, Angel, grabbed the dog’s mouth and got it off of Jeremiah’s head/neck area. Then the dog started biting Angel. They immediately took the dog and shot and buried it (once these types of dogs draw blood, there is no doubt that it would attack again).
Kjell took Jeremiah in his arms, we prayed, and then carried him into the kitchen where we frantically looked around for a towel or cloth to stop the bleeding. All we could see was a gash on his head near the left ear and a deep gouge behind the ear. A resident helped apply some hydrogen peroxide to clean the wounds we saw. With all the horror stories of the hospitals, we did not want to go anywhere. Our first thought was to have the local doctor do some stitches. However, people at the ministry knew of a private hospital and so after we picked up some paperwork (passports, insurance card), Kjell and Jeremiah were brought to a private hospital.
Rebekah was closest to the whole thing, and both she and Mikayla were really shaken up. I’m sure Rebekah felt some remorse for not ‘doing’ anything to help her brother, but we reassured her that if she had even tried to do anything, the dog (and probably the mother dog too) would have attacked her as well. It took awhile to settle them down. And we couldn’t even let them in the kitchen with us because they were upsetting Jeremiah.
I kept praising God because I was so thankful that Jeremiah still had his ear! Then I started praying for missionary families all around the world. If it was not for the people we know, I have no clue what we would have done. They helped drive, translate, advise, pray, etc. Then I began to pray for all the families in the mountains. If anything happens to them, they have a 2-4 hour walk to reach a town and then that town might not have a doctor or nurse. It am considering taking a first aid class and CPR class on my next visit to the States.
Once at the private hospital (45 minute bumpy drive), the doctor on duty did not feel comfortable with operating on Jeremiah because the wounds were so deep (to the muscle in some places). So, he called in a specialist, a plastic surgeon. It was then that Kjell noticed holes in Jeremiah’s shirt. So, they cut off the shirts and saw the shoulder wounds. Also, the gouge behind the ear was the bottom of the bite and there were two holes in his head. They worst part was when Kjell had to listen to Jeremiah’s cries and pleas for the doctors to stop because it took them so long to find a vein for an IV. Up to this point, Jeremiah had not been crying or anything, except an occasional wimper. Eventually, they decided to wait for the anesthesiologist to knock him out.
When I arrived at the hospital (after having missionary friends take Mikayla and Rebekah for the night), the surgery was done and Jeremiah lay in the bed with his head completely wrapped and shoulder bandaged. We just stared at his puffy little cheeks as he slept and kept track of the timing for antibiotics and pain medication through the IV.
Unfortunately, there was a 50 hour long marathon of SpongeBob Squarepants (in Spanish) and that is what Jeremiah wanted to watch when he would wake up (he was in and out).
The cool part was that the nurses on that shift were Christians. And at just before midnight they came in and asked if they could pray. We started praying, sang a song, continued praying (all in Spanish), and the presence of God filled the room. We wished each other ‘Feliz Año Nuevo’ (Happy New Year) and then we tried to sleep a little. The next day (Friday, Jan 1st), Jeremiah was still not moving very much. I went back to Zambrano to get the car and the kids. By the time we returned, Jeremiah was a new kid! He was sitting up and goofing around, eating and drinking. It was great for the girls to play with him to waste time and help him to begin turning his neck, which had gotten stiff because of the discomfort.
All six of us ‘slept’ at the hospital that night and the next day (Sat Jan 2nd) the doctor came in the morning, removed the bandages and gave us the instructions for the week. Insurance companies were not open to check on how much was covered, so a deposit was left and we will have to go back Tuesday to figure out the rest. (Kjell's colleague at Discovery School has been a tremendous help with the insurance as she had taken it upon herself to mediate and help us with the hospital and the insurance company - thank God for friends!) We go back Saturday to have the stitches removed. Jeremiah is recovering well. We have medicine for him to take and cream to apply. He takes a nap when he is tired, but really plays most of the day.
Thank you to everyone for your prayer and support through this.