Saturday, July 31, 2010

World Cup

There was great interest in the world cup held in South Africa. Our school teacher friend Seppo Pandeho completed an adventure single handedly. He took local buses through Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, to South Africa and then spent two weeks returning. We’ll post more when his documentary is ready. We lost contact with him for two weeks and had prayer groups around the world praying, as well as the Finnish Embassy in Johannesburg searching for him. He was returned safely to his family and we all were relieved.

    Alexander Kiplisund, a young teenage Norwegian student, challenged me to a “Coke Challenge” on the cup finals. He chose Spain (I think he had some inside skinny), and I chose the Netherlands. Since Spain won the world cup, I had to pay up. The next day he just showed up out of nowhere to claim his prize. I haven’t heard from him since. That’s the way those guys are you know. They take you to the cleaners and then skip town!
-- Don

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fourth of July

A highlight of our return was celebrating the Fourth of July. We brought some patriotic decorations, which we had on our front door and on our table as a centerpiece. We also brought stars and stripes paper plates, and napkins back with us. Don bought real Frankfurters in the airport grocery store at the Frankfort airport. We had thirteen guests with us on the night of the 4th, serving our German hot dogs, hamburgers, sauerkraut (couldn’t believe we found a can), baked beans (with a bit of improvisation), pasta salad, a 22-pound watermelon that Phil bought, and two desserts from the Sheraton Hotel, which the guys contributed. It was a special evening as we expats shared together the birthday of our wonderful country. For some, it was their first time away from the United States on July 4. We sang "God Bless America," and I know of at least one set of eyes that had a few tears. Several of our guests said they would never forget this particular celebration as we were bonded together in a foreign land.
    Ted and Phil have accomplished culinary skills, and we all enjoyed their surgical talents in the kitchen. Scott and I have accomplished eating skills. We watched. It was great fun preparing to have guests over for this special occasion. The Park family joined us as well as  Stephanie, Rick Hodes, and Richard Usatine, an academic dermatologist from the University of Texas, and Mr. Kim was our honorary American. 
Rick mesmerized the medical folks with his prodigious cases captured on his computer, and Richard did consults and eagerly joined in the festivities. There is nothing quite like celebrating the birth of our country abroad with other Americans. (See slideshow in sidebar.)
-- Barb & Don

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kee Park Family/CHET DOL

Kee and his family came as returning volunteers. He is a neurosurgeon and does volunteer work around the world and has been here several times working with the residency program. Kee comes from a medical family and grew up in New Jersey. As a Korean-American he speaks fluent Korean, as does his lovely wife Susan, who grew up in Philadelphia. Sophie is 12, Camille is 10 and Isabelle celebrated her first birthday with us. This is a beautiful family and they won the hearts of everyone. They are special friends to Barbara and me, and we’re anxious for them to come back for a longer assignment. Kee, Phil, and Ted are all spine surgeons and rendered a lot of teaching to the neurosurgical residents. Kee also did extensive brain surgery. He was a busy boy.
    Korean tradition has it that the first-year birthday (called the CHET DOL) is worthy of a big celebration, at which time the future profession of the child is predicted. Guests come with gifts to honor the child. The young Koreans here made arrangements at the Rainbow Korean Restaurant on the other side of town for the event, where approximately 50 attended. A wonderful buffet meal and music and song by the young Koreans preceded the celebrated ceremony. An array of items was placed on the table and the item she would choose would predict what she will be when she grows up: a spool of thread (seamstress/tailor), pencils (a scholar), microphone (a singer), a Bible (a preacher), stethoscope (a physician), money (a rich investor). Traditional Korean dress was called for. So they dressed Isabelle in the traditional Korean dress with bonnet and held her close to the presented items. With a lot of cheering from the audience and several attempted reaches by Isabelle, she chose the pencils. She follows her sisters, Sophie and Camille, who had chosen the pencils at their Chet Dol. It looks like we’re going to have a lot of intellectual ladies in the future. It was a special evening and we felt honored to be included in their celebration.
    Their trip was cut short when Camille became ill and had to be air-evacuated home for evaluation. The report is that she is doing well, and the prognosis is good. We are all relieved and look forward to their next visit. (See slideshow in sidebar.)
-- Don

Phil, Ted, and Scott

On July 1st two Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons, Dr. Phillip Meinhardt and Dr. Ted Belanger, and an Othopaedic Distributor, Scott Winn, arrived. What a wonderful boost they were. They all worked extremely hard and provided wonderful medical care to patients who were in need of spine surgeries.  Scott offered invaluable assistance as he inventoried orthopaedic equipment and supplies that were here, having been brought in by volunteers. This was a much needed help so the Orthopaedic physicians can know what equipment is on hand and then have it available when in surgery. This is a major problem in working with donated mismatched supplies. The result is that at the time of surgery they are not available, and this is a great loss for the patient and the surgeon. Scott’s contribution in organizing equipment was greatly appreciated. Many, many thanks Scott.
    Our guests from America have a great sense of humor and adventure. They were all willing to venture out, seeing the city, eating new foods, and giving us some hours of fun. In a span of about eight days we either ate out in a restaurant or hosted at  home every night but one.  We have never had such a full social calendar. I think the Orthopaedic volunteers never dreamed they would have so many dining invitations, expecting to lose weight while here, but probably picked up a pound or two. They all want to return. (See slideshow in sidebar.)
-- Don

Sunday, July 25, 2010


In June, we were delighted that Stephanie Dietz, a rising senior at the University of Miami, came to spend a month at the hospital. She plans to attend medical school after graduation and wanted to "shadow" Don. She has been a huge help to Don, and I think is having some great experiences as she spends time in the clinics and in the O.R.  She is seeing patients with medical issues that she may never see in the states. We have kept her busy both with work and trying to see that she participates in the social and cultural life of this great city.
-- Barb

Stephanie has a priceless "can do" attitude. Along with an inquisitive mind, she has endeared herself to everyone, and has been embraced by the Ethiopian and Korean staff as a colleague. She has participated in morning conferences, grand rounds, ward rounds, clinics in the outpatient department, surgery, c-arm technician, completed a research database, and spent time with Dr. Rick Hodes at Mother Teresa’s rehab center. She has ably functioned at a level beyond her years of training.  She will have a bright future in medicine (Orthopaedics, of course).
Many thanks for your help this summer Stephanie. We all will miss you and wish you the best. (See slideshow in sidebar.)
-- Don