Saturday, August 6, 2011
Battle of the Leeches
Adventuring is part of my job title and life, so when the opportunity came for part of my team and a visiting friend, Sandra, to find a waterfall we had seen from afar off, I jumped at it.
Hiking deeper into the rain forest then we ever had before, sweeping away vines, canopied by lush green trees overhead, it was simply beautiful. Looking down at my ankles, I mock the bloodthirsty leeches I see crawling around my pants. “You guys are the reason I wear long pants hiking even when it’s hot. So you can’t get on my skin – ha!” Glancing at each other with sick amusement in their wicked eyes, the leeches give me an evil grin before diving THROUGH my khakis. Horrified, I yank my pant leg up just in time to see them burrow into my skin. Ow! Oh my word.
I am an emergency room nurse. I do not get squeamish at the sight of gaping wounds, burns, or vomit, but seeing multiple wriggling creatures delving through my clothes and into my skin grosses me out. And it is not only these, but with every step I take it seems another leech has jumped on for the ride. They are crawling all over me. I cannot get away. Ew ew ew!
Beauty of the canopy and vines forgotten, I now have one goal: to get to the waterfall so I can get away from leech territory, stand in the water, and yank all the repulsive pests off. Hacking through the last obstacle with his machete, our guide motions ahead. Before me is one of the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen. The magnificence is easily worth a dozen leech bites, but…
…end of the day count was 81. And I had to pull them out or shave them off with a knife. This is not even counting the ones I nabbed before they latched their teeth into me – this tally is only from the bruises I have from them going into me. I am cringing just typing this. The picture above is of Sandra, who was brave enough to take a picture while the leeches were still on her. I did not spare a moment from removing the malevolent bloodsuckers to snap a photo, no sir-ee! Just grabbed their writhing bodies and smashed them on the rocks. Ew.
On another - and definitely more pleasant - note, I had an incredibly encouraging time in the village of Bevoahazo this week! Mirana and I were able to spend time with a believer we know there. As we warmed ourselves by the fire, we talked about the Bible. We had quieted down for only a few moments when she said, “Oh please keep talking about Jesus!” Made my heart so happy. She and her husband are building a new house and dedicating one room to prayer and study for all the people in the village. We asked if she knew that this is how the first church began – in homes – and she is so excited to read through Acts to see for herself!
The next morning was drizzly and gray. We were not able to put out the word till late that we had a lesson to share, but even so, close to 70 people showed up and listened attentively (standing the whole time!) to the early-morning lesson. Afterward, I told them that this may very well be the last time I get to come to their village, as I am leaving Madagascar in October. They were very sad. One man called out his thanks for everything we have done and told me that, even though I would not be here any longer in person, I have left much behind. Oh how this warms my heart! Another person asked Mirana and I to sing them a song before we left, a request which we happily obliged. My friends, what an honor it is getting to see our awesome God work mightily in the rain forest. He is so incredible to go exceedingly abundantly above all my expectations. (Eph. 3:21).