Trip to the North

Fun schedule privelege for both of us to have a full summer weekend off, and we made the most of it. We packed up and stayed a couple of lovely days with some old McLaughlin family friends, the Fulkersons, at the house on Grand Traverse Bay, off Lake Michigan, in the NW corner of the state. Thanks, Fulkersons! Water sports, wineries, geocaching, cherry picking, and daring to encounter the wrath of the wild deer, squirrels, and produce. Nice and restful. Two of the Big Five down!

Shalwar Khamesh

As many of you may already know, Eric and I are travelling to Bangladesh on August 25. We'll be gone for about 5 weeks. We have both long felt that God has called us to serve Him through medical missions in the developing world, and have been to several countries already (Cambodia, Honduras, Swaziland, and Zambia, to name a few) serving with doctors and in hospitals. We managed to find some elective time in our respective residency schedules, and immediately jumped at the chance to spend a month of training at an overseas hospital.
Rachel in particular wants to learn a special kind of female surgery: vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) repair. VVF are a major issue in the developing world. Women undergo hours and hours of painful labor, and most without access to a hospital. Many times they would require a Cesarean section for delivery, but do not have the option. All the extra labor and pressure from the baby's head can cause some important tissue to die. This can lead to a chronic hole in between a woman's bladder and vagina, which causes her to leak urine constantly (and it also causes her to have a pretty bad odor as well). Many times these women will be ostracized from their families, divorced, exiled. The VVF repair surgery can literally change these women's lives. Since this is not a problem that occurs in the US, Rachel is basically unable to be trained in it here. But the OB-GYN in Bangladesh does about 10-15 of these surgeries a month, and she's hoping to get some good training in it during September, which should help out a lot where ever we end up.
We are busy learning everything we can about Bangladesh, which happens to be the most densely populated country in the world (if you take out little city-countries like Singapore and Monaco). It's primarily a Muslim country, located between India and Burma/Myanmar. There will be much more to follow, but we did want to show off this picture of a traditional Bengali outfit. The women either wear the shalwar khamesh (modeled in the picture by Rachel) or an Indian sari. One of our friends from church is Bengali, and is loaning this outfit to Rachel. She'll have to wear something similar, likely minus the head scarf, for most of her time in public there. Please pray for our trip as we work out last minute details and deal with the headache of the US Passport agency...Rachel is still waiting for her passport... We will email/blog with more specific requests as the time approaches

The World has Spoken...

...and the new Seven Wonders can be found here. (Is this list really any more authoratative?) Next year we'll vote on the new Natural Wonders. Maybe we shouldn't really vote on this sort of thing.


Seven Wonders

I love to make lists. Eric quickly picked up on this feature of mine after we got married, and fortunately he humors me...and sometimes even joins in on the listmaking process. One of the most fun lists that we have recently put together is our very own "Seven Wonders of the World" list. It started when we tried to figure out exactly what are the seven wonders, and finding out that other than the seven ancient wonders of the world, there is really no consensus on what seven things would make a modern day list. So we made our own. The winners are: The Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Great Barrier Reef (we like things starting with the word great, apparently), the migration of the Serengeti, Macchu Pichu, and Iguazu Falls of South America.

Then the other day I found out that there is an online CONTEST to determine the next "official" seven wonders of the world. I think it's a bit commercialized, but I voted none the less. I was a bit disappointed to not find many natural wonders on the list, but maybe that's what made the ancient wonders wonderful. The winners are announced 7/7/07. So hurry and vote now!