The Day the Arab Came to Lui!

November 21st, 2011

It is remarkable how easy it is to forget how different we are in Lui.  There are no mirrors except the tiny ones we bring.  Everyone around us is Moru and therefore, “a bit black” as my friend Manyagugu said.  When everyone around you is “a bit black,” you really take notice when someone “blonder” comes to town.  Read the rest of this entry »

In Pain, and In Joy?

July 9th, 2011

It still amazes me when people in a war zone hiding in the forest from Antonov bombers intent on killing them could possibly know about what happens in America and care about it but they do.  They do.  I am embarrassed as I look back to 2001 and realize how self-interested and self-centered I was.  Sure, there was that country with the first name, “War-torn” but I didn’t know any Sudanese people back then so I wasn’t thinking about “War-torn Sudan” as I began my work at St. Louis University Hospital.  I was worried about being a student chaplain there and having to deliver bad news.  It wasn’t about the people in the hospital.  It was all about me.  What a difference a decade makes! Read the rest of this entry »

The Sudans: Notes from the Parish Nurse

April 8th, 2010

(Written for the Scroll for December, 2009)

Deb Goldfeder, RN, FCN

As you read this, I will be preparing to return to St. Louis from a mission to Southern Sudan.  You will hear me talk about drought, hunger, thirst and human misery there as a nation strives toward the election that will finally put in place either their first elected government or plunge the country back into civil war.  It is, as last week’s lectionary reminded me, the birthing pains that are just beginning. 

Parish Nursing in Sudan could bring health, healing and wholeness to people who have not experienced it in body, mind or spirit.  Nutritional problems can be addressed, people can be referred to the physicians more quickly, problems with high blood pressure can be identified before people develop kidney failure or heart disease, and children might be vaccinated against the diseases that most of have not seen in decades.  That’s all to the good and I appreciate the support of First Congregational Church in allowing me to go to see about bringing this type of care to a part of the world that desperately needs it.  But…  Read the rest of this entry »

Praying with Donuts

March 30th, 2010

(Scroll article for April, 2010)

At the Advent Christmas party in 2006, Pam Willis, doubtless tired of hearing about Lui and how much I loved it and the people there, gave me a gift.  It was a zip-lock bag that contained straw, dirt and a bottle of water.  She called it a “Mud Hut Starter Kit” and I still have it!  It reminds me of a time when I had so much to process about my experience but nobody who could understand what I was saying.  I came back profoundly changed and not altogether for the better!  It was a painful time but there were painful times in Lui, too.  The people there, loving and caring though they were, couldn’t understand me as much as they wished they could and I found that pouring out my feelings in my journals didn’t quite process all that needed processing, either.  Read the rest of this entry »