A trip to the beach

This weekend, myself and Joen went away for a trip without the girls. Just father and son, enjoying a trip to the remote Black Rock Beach with some of our friends from the hospital.

It was my first experience of real 4×4 offroading. Not only did I have to use the 4×4, I had to put it in ultra low gear mode, and in the end I still had to give up on one hill and find another route round.

After a fairly exhilarating 2 hour scramble along sand dunes and vague attempts at dirt tracks, the beach was incredible. …

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Different Worlds

Coming here, I was aware that South Africa is not England. I was also aware that South Africa is not just one culture itself – any country that has 13 official languages is likely to have very diverse national identities!

I’ve seen several of my friends from Nigeria get frustrated with the Western tendency to think of Africa as one big, perhaps slightly backwards, country. Whilst I’ve always tried to avoid falling into that trap, I’ve still been surprised by the huge variety of ways of life here in Mseleni.…

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Baby Chris

After a pretty difficult day on call for labour ward, I went in yesterday to check up on the baby I was worried about.

Happily, he is well, but I also discovered that he is now called “Chris” – after me!

I was euphoric for the whole day, telling all the other doctors, and generally grinning a lot. Difficult to explain exactly why, but having a child named after you, its breathtaking. I feel honoured, and undeserving, and protective, and… humbled.

Which is odd, because its an event that could be a big ego builder. “I’m so amazing, mothers

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Face to face with the old man

When we arrived in Africa, we had to buy a car.

It was an interesting process: and also a little dispiriting to discover that 15 year old pick up trucks with 300,000km on the clock are still worth R65,000 (around £4,000).

We eventually settled on a Jeep Cherokee –  we wanted ‘plenty of room’ to fit our 5+ suitcases, and we felt like having 4×4 was a useful move. That turned out to be providence when we drove to Mseleni and took an accidental detour that included 60km on dirt roads, and around 20km just on sand.

On purchasing a …

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You wake up, disorientated, on the floor in the lounge, next to your phone.

Blearily you reached out for the phone, and answer its insistent call. Harsh, chirpy hold music plays, and then a nurse answers.

“Doctor, this is Labour ward”.

Communication is difficult – English is not her first language –  but the urgency in her voice is clear. There is a woman bleeding, and they are not sure why.

You end the call, and start casting around for clothes, a pen, a stethoscope. One moment, barely awake, the next, a clear focus, an adrenaline fueled calm.

Despite the

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An actual holiday

I stopped working in the NHS on the 5th  August. It is currently the 7th  of September. Technically, I’ve been on holiday for more than a month now.

It has definitely not felt like a holiday.

Which, actually, is a bit odd : because its shared many of the same components as a holiday.

  • We had a period of time at home, packing, planning, preparing.
  • There was the travel, the cars, the airports, the planes, the baggage, the endless screaming of young children.
  • Finally, we just spent a week in a reasonably nice house –  just like a
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Start as you mean to go on…

Lots of people have warned us that this is going to be hard.

Specifically, they’ve warned that a year of medical mission in a township with hardly any English speaking people, and none of our normal support around us, will be emotionally, physically, spiritually draining.

Just as we were getting better, Joen decided to spend an entire night vomiting. I got to sleep on the floor next to him, ready with a bucket.

I think we expect that, and we’ve tried to sensibly prepare for it. What we weren’t prepared for was:

  • Our children barely sleeping the night before we
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Sending Sunday

On Sunday last week, we had our last Sunday at our home church, Boston Christian Fellowship.

Much to Katherine’s dismay, we had been asked to talk about why we were going, what we were doing, and to share a little of what we felt we had heard from God.

Even more to Katherine’s dismay, the preach is available online. If you’d like to hear it, either download the mp3 from the Boston Christian Fellowship website…

…Or you can watch it above – I’m afraid there wasn’t a video of us talking, but I’ve linked the audio recording with our …

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Plenty of room in the back.

The conversation went a bit like this:

“Yes, we need a blog this year!”

“But we can’t use yours”

“Why not?”

“Because its called All About Chris. And that’s a bit egotistical. And not really about us, just you. You idiot.”

So, when me and Katherine (and our crazy friend Marli) sat around the kitchen table, trying to think of a name for our blog, really we were asking one question:

God, what do you have in mind for us?

We threw around some ridiculous suggestions – getting more ridiculous as the evening wore on – but when we …

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