Stilts, everything on stilts

We were able to visit a village here in Benin.  The “Stilt Village.”  The village is called “Ganvie” and everything is built in the water, on stilts.  Our guide, Laurent, told us there are around 30,000 people who live here.  It was fascinating!  The village was created in the 1700’s for the people to avoid warriors who were capturing slaves.


Surgeries have started

Surgeries started Monday.  Kids and adults had plastic surgeries for burns and general surgeries.  There is a true excitement in the air, because people have worked really hard for a while to get ready for this day.  Please pray over our patients, and everyone around them.

(that was last week, and I forgot to actually post)

This week, we are one week into surgeries!  We have met awesome patients and crew.  People are tired, so please pray for energy and healing.  That we will all know when we need to keep going and when we need to rest.

Some of the current surgeries being done are cleft lip/palate surgeries.  Many organizations that do these surgeries use taglines along the lines of “giving children smiles.”  It is true that these surgeries are necessary and allow the kids to eat, talk and stay healthy.  However, the picture of Israel below shows that the clefts definitely don’t keep a child from smiling!  The people we have met from Benin have been sweet, strong and colorful!.  I’m thankful to be here!  (photo credit Comms team)


Catching up

I just had a crazy thought, I’m living in Benin, West Africa… on a ship.  This happens sometimes, where I think I must be dreaming. I am so very grateful for this opportunity. We went off the ship as a family this past weekend for the first time. Brian and I just giggled watching the kids, and remembering the first time we took them into town last year. They were terrified of so many things, dirty, crowded, smelly streets, etc. This time, they were eating amazing ice cream out of little bags from sellers off the street, bargaining with people at the market, playing drums and feeling at home. Here are just some pics of our last month. Our screening team is screening patients to find patients that our surgeons can operate on. Please pray for them. We are getting the hospital set up. It’s so exciting to see it transform

beautiful sunsets during our sail

hiking Lion’s head in South Africa.

swimming with penguins in the wild and finding starfish.

eating caterpillar!

hannah’s chosen outfit for our hike