One Question at a Time

A very pregnant, soon-to-be mom wobbled bow-legged down the hallway as my guide led me on a tour of the Nyarero Health Clinic. We continued our walk down the long, sun-streaked hall until we reached the birthing room. Yelling, she hopped up on a wooden table draped in green plastic, and with not another word, a newborn slid right out onto the table. The nurse and I stood back in shock (though most of the shock was probably mine).

“Don’t touch anything,” she said as she darted out in the pursuit of gloves. I stood alone in the middle of the room. The questions “What’s going on?” and “What do I do?” were racing through my English-speaking head. I just stared at the (thankfully) wailing child still attached to the relieved mother. I was petrified as I watched the birthing juices flow off the table into the bin perched below, apparently placed there for that very purpose. I would later see the pit where this bio waste was disposed, not far off from this very room. I came to think of it as “The Placenta Pit.”

Todo El Mundo Me Da Miedo

I was walking my wonderful 4-year-old host sister to school, holding her hand as we walked along a street on a steep hill. There was a little drop-off by the side of the road. I carefully helped guide her as she walked on the curb between the street and where the road dropped off. She looked down, and I asked her if she was scared. She replied, “Todo el mundo me da miedo” — the whole world scares me.

The Early Years, Part I: An Interview with Hank Weaver

 

The Early Years series will offer a glimpse into SST’s rich history through interviews with key players in SST’s creation and beginning decades. For the first installment, we spoke with Henry (Hank) Weaver of Goshen, who served on the planning committee for SST.

 Hank Weaver’s game was chemistry. It was his love, his research, what he taught at Eastern Mennonite College and Goshen College, and the spark that sent him to Peru in 1964 as a consultant at San Marcos University in Lima. When he returned to Goshen from a year of teaching in very bad Spanish and Lima’s grey humidity, his passion was still chemistry. But now he could not stop thinking about the world.

Tanzania: A Film

My trip to Tanzania had been on my mind for my entire time at Goshen leading up to that spring. I always imagined that I would create a video of the experience, but I remember hesitating when we were told not to bring expensive cameras. The moment of hesitation didn’t last long, though – I would never forgive myself for not bringing my camera to Tanzania of all places. I’d just have to take the risk.

A Morning with Ma Ma

Ma Ma and Ba Ba Wang were an older retired couple — he an ex-military officer, she a rotund local tennis star. I lived in their apartment in Nanchong, China with their dog, Er Wa, and a turtle that mysteriously disappeared after a few weeks. Neither parent spoke a word of English, but their bubbly personalities, the deep bowls of noodles ready each evening, and their strange daily routine of stripping down to their underwear after a long day out on the town — it all became my world for a few months, so dear to me over time.

The Wangs were an odd duo, as many fellow SST friends would attest to after spending an evening with them. They were always eager to teach me everything there was to know, despite the language barrier. They’d tell me where to place my hands when I slept, scolded me for having a pimple on my face, and instructed me on how to correctly sit at the table. What seemed overwhelming at first, I understood later as a way of trying to shelter me, they just wanted me to feel at home with them. They were goofy, and made me feel goofy. We soon made one happy family.