Letters From Iraq- Dec.7. Day of the Black Tongue

Day of the Black Tongue 12/7/02
After a bout of "traveler's flu" last night, I awoke this AM determined to take a day off from eating, hoping to clear it out of my system. While clearing my throat, I noticed my spit was black and opened my mouth to discover a black tongue. Fortunately, three of the IPT members are physicians so this evening I had a "house call" from all three at once! They had just returned from a trip to Mosul to check out emergency medical capabilities. Amir checked out my situation and took a photo of my tongue so he could study it more. He said I should take one for my Dr. as well. He is not overly concerned so I am not either.

After his visit for medical reasons, Peter and I were treated to a fascinating discussion with Amir about Islam and the new reform movements growing in Iran. He left Iran when he was 10 because his parents were part of the opposition movement to the Shah. He speaks Farsi, English, and French (and who knows what other languages?) and is very active in medical organizations working around the world. He is very optimistic about the power of this reform movement growing, led in many ways by the women in the culture who have been so oppressed.

I've had my first ride in a Mercedes in Baghdad. The elderly woman who drove Peggy and I back to the hotel from the 7th Day Adventist service told us she had been to the US four times and has 2 nephews living there. Although her car is in good shape, you can see how it is aging, along with the rest of the economy. The service seemed typical with a few songs a few prayers and a sermon. What I enjoyed best was the Christmas carols played by the organist before the service started. For the first time, I felt a little homesick. The front of the church has a fairly large painting of what appears to be the Rapture with a western-looking Jesus in the clouds with some angels with destruction below on the earth. I'm afraid much of the theology in this congregation has more to do with the here-after than present realities. Although we had a translator, I couldn't hear very well since Peggy was between me and him. His English was very good, though.


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