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