A little less fear

Coming to South Africa was daunting. You read (and are told) stories about the country from people who live here – and others that don’t – and you wonder, “Do I really want to put myself in that position?”

Thankfully I told my fears to God and He met with me. He calmed my fears and gave me the strength to come and live here with my family for what will be 9 months.

Whilst in SA, we are being mentored by a lovely couple who head up the UK section to CRM – a missionary organisation with many …

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The New South Africa

Last week we went to the beach at Sodwana. It was probably not the best time to visit, given that it was the day after New Year, a day that traditionally *everyone* heads to the seaside.

But we went anyway, with our lovely Scottish friends Paul & Debbie (read their awesome blog about living in Soshanguve township). As expected, the streams of tourists meant that the queue to get onto the beach parking took more than an hour – it usually takes us a few minutes – but we persevered.

Once through the parking barrier, there were approximately …

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like…

It is very strange living in a country that gets hotter as Christmas comes near. For 27 years of my life, the build up to our annual celebration has been marked by the temperature dropping.

The nights draw in, the Christmas tree appearing all the more bright as a result, festive candles illuminating the dark. And the social events: carol singing in a thick coat, followed by hot, freshly-baked mince pies and mulled wine; food that warms you up as it sinks down.

Here in South Africa, its been reliably 30+ degrees each day, with a few hitting 36. I’ve …

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Emmanuel

I’ll be honest, the past month has been tough. 

We’ve had illness, on calls, broken cars and stretched cash. It’s also been the first time in my life where I have felt homesick.

You see, I asked God to break me, change me, do what He needs to do to get me where He needs me to be. Shortly after that prayer… the car broke down on a remote beach whilst Joen and Chris were away camping. There really was a possibility that our car would have to stay there forever, and we’d have to say goodbye to convenience and …

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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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Water

We have been in Mseleni for just over 2 weeks now. The adjustment to life here has had its challenges.

There’s a slower pace of life here, coupled with no nursery for Joen, which means full time care once again (and thus the institution of a rather nursery-like routine to keep us all sane). Just as the icing on the cake, there’s also no hot water.

Our boiler (or “geyser” as it’s called here) is broken. It has been since before we arrived. Permission to order a new boiler has been asked (but not yet given). When we will actually …

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Awake!

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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