Flight of Compassion

Every week FMS does a flight for Airborne Lifeline Foundation, taking a team of doctors out to village clinics throughout Botswana.  Last week Tammi from  Airborne Lifeline called Mark Spicer and inquired about chartering a small Cessna to take a patient from Gaborone to Maun.  When told how long the flight would take in a Cessna, Tammi said she didn’t think the patient could cope with a flight that long.  She then asked about chartering the King Air, a faster aircraft, but when Mark told her how much it would cost, she said it exceeded their budget.  When Mark told her that FMS would subsidize the flight, Tammi was elated.  Here is the story of that very special flight …

As told by Captain Matt Cressman:

Recently I was eating dinner with Jeff Burnham at a great Indian restaurant that we know and love.  He asked me if I could take a medical flight to Maun on his behalf the next morning as he wanted to catch up on some work in the office.  I was thrilled, as I had just returned from a visit to the States and had completed only one flight since coming back.  I was itching to fly some more! Continue reading “Flight of Compassion”

Air Ambulance Pilot “On Call”

Nearly all my flying over the last week was for the Flying Mission Services air ambulance mission. FMS has a contract with the Botswana Ministry of Health to provide 24-7-365 air ambulance service to the people of Botswana. Anytime, day or night, FMS has at least one aircraft and one crew (two pilots, a fully qualified medical doctor, and a fully certified paramedic) on call to be airborne in less than an hour. Our mission is to respond anywhere in the country to transport critical patients from remote areas to fully staffed and equipped hospitals. It sounds important, but it’s actually much more.

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A Picture for Mma Lesego

Mma Lesego, Deb & KgMma Lesego, our Motswana “mother”, is one of the dearest people in all the world to me.  My regard for her knows no bounds.  For many decades, she was a hardworking woman who raised eight children in a hot and dusty climate, with no electricity and no running water.  Now blind and limited greatly in what she can do, she is still a woman of great courage, perseverance, and faith.

By the time we came to Botswana in early 1992, Mma Lesego had been widowed for numerous years.  She had pretty much finished raising her own children and had started raising the next generation.  Then she was asked by our mission to raise Mark and me, too — in the Setswana language and culture.  When we arrived, Mma Lesego had three grown children living with her and seven grandchildren.  Mark and I lived in her son’s house next door, but we shared her toilet facility, so we visited her yard several times every day.  In addition, we accompanied Mma Lesego almost everywhere she went — to the kgotla (tribal meeting place), to weddings, to funerals, on social visits, to the clinic, etc.  We also “helped” her with chores — fetching firewood, building a kraal, mudding floors, and so on.  (As novices, we weren’t that much help.) Continue reading “A Picture for Mma Lesego”

Sunday School Under the Trees

Learning their versesOne of the highlights of my week is teaching Sunday School – under the trees. A special set of conditions comes along with it. During the summer, the higher the sun gets, the deeper we move our chairs into the shade. During the winter, when we get cold, we stop the lesson long enough to do calisthenics to warm us up. When it’s windy, the seed pods and pollen stick in our hair. I never dealt with predicaments like this when teaching Sunday School in the US. Continue reading “Sunday School Under the Trees”

Happy Mother’s Day

Mark wasn’t home last night, so KG got to sleep with me. She looked at me in my flannel pajamas, with my hair pulled up in a messy knot on top of my head, and said, “You are SO beautiful, my mama.” Hearing KG say that used to make me laugh and crack jokes about her vision impairment. But I have learned to enjoy looking through my daughter’s eyes. It is one of the miracles of life that a child can look at her mom when her mom looks her worst and still think that her mom is beautiful!

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Recalling what God has done

KG dancingKG was an exuberant worshiper yesterday.  It was one of those Sundays when I struggled with whether I should rein her in or whether I should give her free rein.  But as I watched her dancing and jumping in the aisle, I thought back to our first two years at this church, when KG walked on her knees instead of her feet.  I wondered if the people who might be annoyed by her exuberant aisle-dancing now ever think about that.  Her knees looked like camel knees back then, they were so thick and calloused from doing the work of her feet.  We were so grateful when she finally gained the confidence to walk upright, even though she had the gait of a happy bear. Continue reading “Recalling what God has done”

Locked Out

Clothes peg spellingWhat to do when your tired and hungry daughter locks herself and you out of the house for 2½ hours:  Review memory verses; list what you’re thankful for; pray for Daddy to come home; say the sounds of the alphabet; practice rhyming; count to 50 by ones; count to 100 by 5’s; count to 100 by 10’s; pray for Daddy to come home; sweep the gazebo floor and the sidewalk; play “I Spy”; take the laundry off the line; use the clothespins to practice phonics; thank God that Daddy came home!

Special Ed – Cross-cultural Kids

Today in home school we continued our section on “Wh” questions, this time focusing on “What,” “Where,” and “When.” Once again KG gave a lot of answers that differed from the ones given in the book – but this time I could blame it on her cross-cultural upbringing.

“What makes a car run?” I asked. “Gasoline,” said the book. “Petrol,” said KG.

“Where do ants live?” I asked. “In anthills,” said the book. “In ant mounds,” said KG.

“When do you put a stamp on an envelope?” I asked. “Before you mail it,” said the book. “Before you post it,” said KG.

“When does a rooster crow?” I asked. “In the morning,” said the book. “All night long,” said KG.

Continue reading “Special Ed – Cross-cultural Kids”

Special Ed – Homeschool

A while back, we posted a story about Kgakgamatso “KG” Spicer (see the story Two More Milestones Reached). A few years on, and KG has passed more milestones, including starting at school. Read on for an excerpt from a homeschool day …

 

For the past several years, KG attended the one private school in Gaborone that has a program for special needs kids.  Although she may return to this school in the future, I am now teaching her at home in an effort to give her the one-on-one instruction that she requires.  Her teacher was far more capable and qualified than I am, but with eight other special needs kids in his classroom, he didn’t have time to give her the one-on-one teaching that she needs. Continue reading “Special Ed – Homeschool”