Learning to Deliver Babies at GIAL

Several years ago I took a good friend of mine to the ER and as I was holding her hand trying to comfort her, I saw that they were drawing her blood.  The next thing I remember was waking up on a cot right next to my friend – apparently I had passed out.  I wish that were the only time that has happened, but alas it is not.  I consistently pass out when I get shots, have my blood drawn, etc.  It’s a fairly inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing reality, but I don’t really know what to do about it.   

Nevertheless, I signed up to take a health class at GIAL these past few days and I am happy to report that not only did I not pass out, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was very surprised the first day when they had us giving one another shots and taught us how to put in catheters (into models, not one another).  What we also learned in this course was how to stint broken bones, how to react to emergency situations, how to deliver babies, how to put in feeding tubes, how to treat dehydration, how to treat STI patients, and so on.  It was absolutely fascinating (and some parts were also very traumatizing).  The idea, of course, was not that they would train us to replace doctors and RNs, but instead to provide us training for situations where there were no doctors or RNs.  We had case studies where we had to give a diagnosis and treatment to patients based on their symptoms.  I was constantly blown away how many conditions were caused by vitamin deficiency (ie bizarre behavior brought on by Zinc deficiency, blindness brought on by Vitamin A deficiency) and how many diseases could be prevented by simple sanitation practices.  One of my friends in the class said he didn’t know if he’d every walk by a sink again without washing his hands – I feel the same way!

Although the class was so fascinating, the best part was how the teachers encouraged us to pray throughout every procedure and to point people to Jesus.  Clearly they did not have a “god complex” but instead knew their limits and the limits of medicine.  They knew that they needed to rely on God to guide them and also to heal those they were serving.  I praise the Lord for this class, and who knows?  Maybe in a couple years I’ll get to write a cool blog entry about how the Lord used what I learned in this class to help someone.   


Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a servant of Jesus Christ as well as a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working creating literacy materials so the Kwakum people can learn to read and write in their language. She is also working on translating Old Testament stories into Kwakum with her husband and local Kwakum colleagues.