Tuesday, September 21, 2010

South Africa Pics

Rolling hills of sugar cane.

More rolling hills

Our dorm bloc.

Malachi on one of the big trees on the church grounds in Wartburg

A messy-faced Xavier outside church

Elijah and Malachi playing with one of the dogs after church.
One of the first dogs they've been able to play with without us
worrying about rabies for a looooong time.

Beautiful tree on the church grounds

Huge spider on one of the beautiful trees

Malachi looking haggard after we got back from the hospital.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An Isaac Newton Experience

Remeber those climbing trees I wrote about in the previous blog?  Well, Malachi decided to test the theory of gravity.  It still works.  He fell about 8 feet from a tree limb onto the concrete below.  For all of you medical folks out there:

7 y/o male 8 ft. fall to concrete.  No loss of consciousness but disoriented and unable to verbally repsond to questions for approx. 5 minutes.  Primary eval. revealed patient was pale, diaphoretic, and hyperventilating with a 7 centimeter round abrasion above right eye, and contusion to right hip.  No other apparent injuries.  Secondary eval. revealed weak grip in right hand, pupils equal and reactive, GCS 14.  Pt. began comlaining of extreme sleepiness, px in right wrist, dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. 

Okay, so it's not in SOAP format and I got tired of writing a report but you get the idea.  He fell out of the tree, whacked his head, cried a lot, hyperventilated, and started complaining about his wrist hurting.  Dara and I were both about 30 yards away when it happened but neither of us saw it.  One of our friends said, "Malachi just fell out of a tree", and we ran over to check him out.  My first thought when I saw him lying there looking completely disoriented, pale, and sweaty with a bashed head - God please let him be okay.  My heart rate was probably about 200.  My training kicked in and I think I asked the right questions and did the right stuff but Dara and I were both terrified that something major would be wrong and we're an hour plus from decent medical facilities. 

In the end, we calmed down, he calmed down and we took him in to get his wrist checked out (it was already pretty apparent that he had a mild concussion with the blurred vision, nausea, and short-term memory loss).  We tried first the local clinic only about 5 minutes from where we are but their X-ray machine was not working.  So, we drove (my boss drove us with Dara and I in the back with a very sleepy Malachi and Grace in the front) a little over an hour to Uhmlanga Medical Clinic where he was treated quickly, professionally, and well.  He ended up with a possible (tough to tell apparently) buckle fracture to his right wrist, treated with a splint that he can remove for bathing, and a minor concussion. 

So, here's the best part.  He was feeling a bit nauseous the whole time but never threw up (I brought a bucket along just in case).  After the hospital he was much more awake, talkative, and in good spirits.  There was a McDonalds just near the hospital (the first one we've seen in about a year) so we stopped in for some late dinner (it was about 9pm by now).  No sooner did we have the bags open and the smell hit his nose did he say, "I need by bucket!".  Well, you can imagine what happened next without much detail.  He did his thing and we pulled over to dump out the bucket, which I rinsed out with the rest of my coke to keep the car from smelling like puke for the rest of the hour drive.  We're about 5 minutes down the road and he says, "I'm hungry now" and proceeds to eat his entire Happy Meal and then sleep on Dara's lap for the rest fo the drive. 

He's doing well now and I'm sure will be back to climbing trees before we know it.  We thank God for protecting him from what could have been a much more serious outcome that now just gets to be a childhood battle scar and a cool story to tell.

Hodge Podge

So much has happened since our last post that it's hard to decide what to blog about.  We are fairly well settled here in Appelsbosch, South Africa after a pretty grueling few weeks of moving most of our shipboard operations ashore, the details of which I'll not bore you with. 

The old college campus that we are staying at is a bit rustic (water outages, toilet issues, ticks, etc.) but absolutely wonderful.  We are pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which suits us fine.  The areas is a primarily agricultural, Zulu community of rolling hills, most of which are full of sugar cane (photos to come).  The people here are wonderful; warm, welcoming, and kindhearted. 

One of the greatest blessings so far has been that there is so much room for the kids to run around.  There is a gymnasium, trees to climb, plenty of concrete walkways for scooters, roller blades, etc., and all sorts of fun bugs and lizards. 

We also got to experience a first for us - a Mercy Ships wedding.  One of the couples who met during their Gateway course with Mercy Ships has been dating since and had their wedding ceremony here at the campus.  It was a pretty low key but beautiful and fun atmoshphere.

Our first church experience was at the Lutheran church just outside of the campus gates.  It was a high service, which the kids had a hard time sitting through (about 3 hrs. long).  The singing was indescribable.  It was like tangible joy.  Absolutely amazing!

Yesterday we went to Wartburg Christian Revival Church.  It's a small, contemporary, grass roots church set in a picturesque landscape (and the service was only an hour and a half).  We were warmly welcomed by the church family there and will likely be going back often. 

Well, we're all doing well and enjoying South Africa so far.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


We arrived this morning in Durban, Republic of South Africa.  Things have been quite hectic with all of the effort that has gone into planning, logistics, and packing things up to move ashore.  The Africa Mercy, as most of you know, will be in dry dock for the next few months getting new generator installed, among other things.  It's a huge project that will pay off in the long run with a greater capactity to bring hope and healing to the poor.

Tomorrow about 150 crew, the Koontz family included, will be moving to rural Kwa-Zulu Natal (the region of South Africa that we are in) to an area called Appelsbosch.  It's about 1 1/2 hours from the ship.  We will be living at an old college campus that has been vacant for a while but has been spruced up for us.  We are quite looking forward to being out in the 'boonies' for a while.  There will still be around 100 people onboard doing technical projects. 

We thank God for a safe sail and arrival and look forward to what He has planned for us at Appelsbosch.