Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rainy Season

Maybe you are wondering about the weather here at Mbingo?  We are here during the rainy season.  Cameroon has 2 seasons, rainy season (April - October) and dry season (November - March).  When we were planning our trip here, I was expecting us to be in some really hot and humid climates.  Little did I know that the weather here right now is actually cooler than in East Tennessee.  The only place here at the hospital that I have seen air conditioning is in the operating room during surgery.  Where we are staying, we keep the windows open at night while we sleep, and some nights it even gets a little chilly.  I never expected that in Africa!  Today as I write, it is a consistent rainy day.  We have not had a day like this until now.  We have had rain throughout our stay, but it comes and goes quickly, but today it hasn't stopped raining much at all. I returned to New Hope Village this morning to give a devotion and sing for the people.  We also said farewell in chapel this morning to the Ipsen family (orthropedic surgeon and family from the states).  I couldn't help but think during chapel that this time next week it will be Melissa and me saying our goodbyes.  It kind of makes me sad to think about it, but that is a part of life that the ministry brings to the table.  Someone said to me today in reference to our departure next week, "I wish next Wednesday will not come." So, we know the love is definately mutual! My prayer before we came was that God would allow our hearts to be "peeled back" for these people, and I think that He has allowed that to happen.  Everyday I go to the surgical ward to pray for the little baby that had the shunt placement.  Today I noticed a sign on the nurses station door.  It read "If you have a vision for a year, plant wheat. If you have a vision for ten years, plant trees.  If you have a vision for a lifetime, plant people."  This quote has a lot of truth in it.  What are you investing in today? Think about it.  Thank you for your prayers! We love you all!

 Chaplaincy Department

 Medical Student that Melissa is teaching (left) & Hilda, a Nurse Practitioner student (right)

 At New Hope Village

The Ipsens, Stephanie (nutritionist), Lauren (nutritionist)
The group of people we eat meals with here...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday In Bamenda

Yesterday Melissa and I along with our friends Lesslie and Theresia went to Bamenda, a bigger city nearby Mbingo.  Lesslie is my good friend that works in the Social Services Department and Theresia also works in that department with him.  On Saturdays, some of the hospital employees work until around noon, then have the rest of the day off.  We have heard stories about taking a taxi in Cameroon, but nothing could prepare us for our trip to Bamenda, which is about a 45 minute ride.  Melissa and I were told to get up front, so we at least knew that we would be sharing the front passenger seat.  My friend Lesslie got in the driver's seat, so I thought maybe he had rented the car or something.  When I asked him if he was driving, he said "No, I am passenger." So after everyone was finally in the taxi cab, we had 4 up front (2 in the passenger seat and 2 in the driver's seat), 5 in the back seat, and one riding in the hatchback of the little Toyota we were in.  The guy riding in the hatchback part of the car had to hold the door while we rode swiftly down the road to Bamenda.  I wish we could have gotten a picture, but we just couldn't move after we were situated.  It was an experience we'll never forget.  After we arrived in Bamenda, we went to the market to buy some fabric for someone to make Melissa and I some traditional African clothing by hand.  We shopped for alittle while in the market and a craft store, then went to eat at a place called "Dreamland Restaurant".  They served hambugers and french fries here, so we were pretty excited about that.  After our meal out on the balcony overlooking Bamenda's shopping district, we said goodbye to Theresia, and got in another taxi to visit some relatives and friends of Lesslie.  We stayed in Bamenda until dark, then caught another taxi back to Mbingo.  I told Lesslie to tell the driver that we would pay him if he didn't let anyone else in the taxi with us! Haha

Shopping District of Bamenda

 Theresia, Jeff, and Lesslie

Melissa, Lesslie, and Theresia

 Dreamland Restaurant

 Lesslie & Jeff

 Melissa & Theresia

 Lesslie's family in Bamenda

 3 week old baby girl and Melissa

Uncle Lesslie

Friday, June 17, 2011


Hello all!  I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the C Ward (what they call the Pediatric ward here).  We are booming that is for sure.  Lots of very sick kids coming in daily.  Right now I have a 7 year old male who came in yesterday evening with bacterial meningitis.  Worse case of neck stiffness I have ever seen which is a hallmark for meningitis.  If I even placed my hand on his neck he would scream out in pain.  He is currently receiving IV antibiotics and I am hopeful that he is on his way to recovery. 

Also, a 4 month old male baby was admitted two nights ago in respiratory distress.  The baby was transferred from an outlying hospital when they said there was nothing more they could do.  I have been very concerned about this baby because he simply has not been improving, but today I believe God gave us the answer as to why the baby has been so sick which is that the baby is what they call code status positive.  That is there way of saying HIV positive.  The mother had said on admission that she had just recently been tested and she was negative but she must have converted during pregnancy.  Now that we have this answer I have placed the baby on the appropriate antibiotics for a type of pneumonia patients with HIV get and I hope that in a couple of days the baby will be doing much better!  I thank God for this answer today I have been racking my brain trying to think of why this baby was not responding to the treatment I was giving and then God handed me the answer!!  He is so AMAZING!!!  Please pray for this family as I was counseling this family about the code status being positive the mother asked that Jeff and I please pray for them even after returning to the states so I ask everyone that reads this blog to please pray for this family that they will find encouragement in GOD.

On Thursday night I received a 9 year old male with cerebral malaria.  He was unconcious and had seized multiple times after admission.  I was pretty convinced he was not going to make it even with the best malarial treatment that could be offered.  However, this morning God showed me the power of prayer because last evening at the prayer meeting I had prayed for God to give this boy a healing and I believe we are on the way.  When I walked onto the ward this morning I found him responsive to touch and opening his eyes in response to his name being called.  Needless to say we still have a long way to go but I believe God is performing a miracle right before my eyes!!

I am going to include some photos taken on the ward.  As you look at each child's face please say a prayer for them and their families. 

Prayer and Praise Meeting

Thursday night Melissa and I were invited to a weekly bible study held at one of the missionary doctor's homes.  Dr. Bardin is a pathologist for Mbingo and his wife, Debbie, is a nurse for the treatment center.  They are a happy couple with the joy of the Lord on their faces everytime you see them.  They have been medical missionaries in South Korea and Nigeria before coming to Mbingo.  Debbie asked me to lead the music for the prayer and praise meeting.  The group usually meets for a bible study, but this night they had a prayer meeting with music throughout the evening. We heard people pray in English, French, German, and Pidgin. We prayed, then we would sing back and forth. It was an awesome time of fellowship!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Football & Clinic

A couple of nights ago, my friend Lesslie, asked Melissa and I if we wanted to go watch a football game.  When I say "football", I mean soccer, but like most of the world, Cameroon calls soccer "football".  It was great to see some of the hospital staff in this kind of environment.  Usually they have to be so serious, but during football, they have a great time and the spirit of competition is fun to watch.  I appreciate Lesslie inviting us.  It's good to have found a friend here who is a native that can guide you through your visit. 

Yesterday I had the honor to go with a medical team on a clinic visit a little less than 2 hours away.  Pastor Simon, the head of the chaplaincy department, and I represented the chaplains on the trip.  The road was fairly smooth until about 30 minutes away from the clinic, then it got alittle bumpy.  We bounced our way up the mountain on the dirt roads to the clinic.  I told Pastor Simon that people in the U.S. pay money to ride rides like this at amusement parks, but in Cameroon, it's free!  When we arrived at the clinic, the manager gave a tour of the small medical campus.  After the tour, we had bread and tea for our breakfast then headed over to the crowd of patients for singing, devotions, and prayer.  Pastor Simon gave a wonderful devotion from Isaiah, and then we went over to a private ward to meet with a man that had fallen out of a tree.  After our session with him, we went to the chaplain's office to counsel people one on one.  The people that we met with were mostly people with high blood pressure, anxiety, and anger issues.  One woman was harboring anger towards her brother, because he poisoned her grandchild and killed him.  Another woman had anxiety issues towards her son who is still living at home with her (she has 8 kids and is a widow) and everytime she asks him to do something, he says he doesn't have time. The worst cases that we dealt with were HIV cases.  The first HIV case was a woman, who has been infected for two years, and hasn't even started her first treatment yet because she can't afford it.  She could barely hold her head up when she talked to us.  She has three "pickens" (children) by three different men.  Her husband, the one that she has the first child with, passed away a few years ago.  The third child is by a married man from Douala.  It was a very sad situation.  She told us that she was a Christian and went to church, so we had prayer with her and tried to encourage her to work with the clinic to start treatment as soon as possible.  Pastor Simon talked to the manager about possibly getting her to Mbingo, but she still has a debt with the clinic.  Her name is Cecila, please pray for her.  Pastor Simon will be doing some follow up with her. The next HIV case was Judith, a shy young woman that seemed embarassed every time she opened her mouth to talk.  She wasn't infected with HIV, but her husband is positive.  They have six kids together and she has decided to sleep in a seperate bed.  The problem is that he doesn't like their sleeping arrangements, and wants to have more kids.  So we counseled her on bringing her burdens to the Lord, and casting her care on Him along with some other personal issues.  I talked to her about her communication with God.  I told her that when we pray to God and communicate with Him, we must also read His word to see what He has to say to us.  The problem is that she doesn't know how to read. My heart just broke.  Compassion just fills your whole being when you see these situations and you just want to take the person out of the situation and give them a better life.  Since she said that she and her husband were believers, we encouraged her to pray with her husband and ask God to give them direction for the marriage and family.  The last woman that we met with was Christina, who was probably between 50 - 60 years old.  When you ask someone older here what their age is, sometimes they just don't know because there is probably no record of their birth.  So you see alot of 50+ or 60+ on their medical records.  Anyway, Christina was struggling with hypertension (high blood pressure) because of her issues with being a widow, having many "pickens", and using tobacco.  After counseling her, we discovered that she did not know the God of the bible that we spoke about.  Pastor Simon, through a tribal interpreter, talked to her about who "Papa" (their name for God) was and how she needed forgiveness of her sins.  He asked if she wanted to pray to Papa, and receive Him into her life.  I couldn't understand all of the Pidgin and the other tribal language, but I noticed that the interpreter was talking then Christina would talk.  Before she left our office, she gave her heart to Papa and asked Him to forgive her sins.  Pastor Simon made sure that she knew of a church that is close to her home to go to and encouraged her to attend.  Christina's conversion made the bumpy trip up the mountain worth it! God is still in the saving business. Praise the Lord!


The clinic

Clinic Staff

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Precious Children

Yesterday was another sad day on the pediatric ward. Most of the patients actually are doing quite well, however, late on Friday afternoon I got an admission of a 9 year old child who couldn’t even stand up he was so weak. When you looked at the poor child’s face you could see how sick he truly was. His eyes were protruding from his head. After obtaining some lab work and doing an FNA of a liver mass that was seen on ultrasound he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkett’s Lymphoma. The mother reported that she had been to many doctors before coming to Mbingo Baptist Hospital, however, when she says many doctors she means a lot of traditional African medicine had been tried and local hospital clinic visits made. The people here wait to come to Mbingo until the illness has progressed so far that it is hard to do much because of money. They simply don’t have the money to afford much in the way of any medical care and every time I order any test I have to think can I get by without this because I know it may mean going without food for these people. After the diagnosis was made, the little boy was started on chemotherapy. On Monday, I had just finished rounding on the Pediatric ward patients when I was called to the bedside of this child. He was passing away and there was no human medicine that could be done to save this little boy. The family grieved both his mother and his grandmother however, they had an idea from the beginning that the little boy might not make it. After the initial mourning, the mother and grandmother became very concerned about how they were going to get home. They live about 2 hours from Mbingo and they had to figure out a way to get home by a cab. The catch is that here according to their customs the deceased must be buried in front of the home that their father has built. Therefore, the mother and grandmother were going to have to hire a taxi to take them as well as the mother’s deceased son back to their home. Can you imagine having lost your son and you have to ride back to your home village in a hot taxi cab with strangers in it and your deceased son sitting beside you? Words can’t even describe what these people live!!

Yesterday I also got an admission of a 6 year old boy who had finished his chemotherapy for Burkett’s Lymphoma in April. He came in with acute respiratory distress. After some initial assessments, I found that he had a huge pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) that was leading to his respiratory distress because his whole right atrium and right ventricle (chambers of the heart) were compressed. Last evening a pericardiocentesis (drainage of the fluid around the heart) was performed which helped him tremendously. Right now I am waiting on a pathologist to look at the fluid to see if possibly the Burkett’s Lymphoma has relapsed or if it could possibly be tuberculosis. Please pray for this family and that an answer will be found as to why this happened and treatment available!!!!
I am including some pictures of some of the children on the pediatric ward as well as pictures from the NICU (the one baby a 28 weeker I see in the Nicu for right now is doing quite well). Please continue to pray for Jeff and me as we try to make the most of every opportunity we have while we are here that God would use us for His glory!!!

Chemsi a little 2 year old

Favour a little 2 1/2 year old

Ngong 6 year old boy with pericardial effusion and probable relapse of Burkett's Lymphoma

28 weeker baby Delphine he is so wrapped up you can hardly see him:)  It is a male baby they clothe in whatever they can find hence the pink.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Fulani Hike & Chapel

Yesterday, after lunch, Melissa and I along with our Swiss friends, Christoph and Sara went on a hike to visit with the Fulani Muslim tribe that I met the other day.  As I mentioned before, these are a somewhat isolated people that do not mix much with other people of Cameroon.  I have to say, that they are very polite people.  Christoph and Sara have a burden for these people, and yesterday was an open door for them to hopefully begin a relationship with these particular compounds (each man has his own set of huts/dwellings with his wives/children and they call them compounds). The first compound that we came across was a man who would be considered a spiritual leader of the tribe, because he has been to Mecca, Saudi Arabia twice which is a Muslim pilgramage.  When we arrived, one of his children greeted us and then went into his dad's room to let him know that he had visitors.  I observed that the little boy took off his shoes and knelt down when he approached his father.  I am guessing that it is a sign of respect.  When the father came out, he recognized me and Christoph from the other day and eagerly invited us into his mud house.  We made small talk, had tea together, and he showed us photographs that people had given him.  While we looked at pictures, I asked him if I could "snap him" (that's how people here say take a picture).  He was thrilled about it, so we went outside and took pictures together.  After our "photo shoot", we went to show Melissa and Sara the views from the compounds that Christoph and I saw the other day.  The views from the Fulani compounds are some of the best mountain views I have ever seen, and living in East Tennessee, I know a good view when I see one.  We then headed over to the fish pound to see the progress of the water project that will give the compounds running water someday.  At the fish pond Christoph asked me to pray for the project, so it was nice to pray for these people with one of them right in front of me! When we were done looking at the pond, we said goodbye to the first man, and proceeded to the compound of "Uguda", which is the name of the man that we intended to go to in the first place.  When we approached Uguda's compound, he was sitting on a rug facing Mecca and praying, so we queitly approached him.  He looked up at us and didn't say a word.  He just pointed at one of the mud houses, so we went over in that direction. One of his wives greeted us and invited us in to sit down.  We took our shoes off and went inside and sat down on the side of the bed.  When Uguda was done praying, he came over to greet us.  As soon as he saw me, he said "Docta!" (doctor) which is what native people call the white men here.  We sat in the house and talked with him and his family for awhile.  We asked if we could snap him, and he was happy to hear that.  Melissa and I gave him some candy as a gift, and then we all went outside to take pictures.  When we got outside, one of the other wives came out of another mud house with an elderly woman by her side.  Uguda told us that the woman was 106 years old.  I couldn't believe it! Here was this elderly woman living way up on top of this mountain in a mud house with no electricity or running water.  We took pictures together then had prayer with the whole family.  I noticed when I mentioned the 106 year old woman in my prayer that Uguda pointed at her to let her know that I was mentioning her in my prayer.  Does this all sound unreal? I still can't believe it happened.  It's surreal standing there with a primitive Muslim family in Africa praying for them!  We are coming back next week to bring them the pictures that we took so they will have pictures of themselves and another chance to make more contact.  After our hike to the Fulani compounds, we were invited to The Sparks' (Dr. Sparks is chief of surgery) house for pizza and a movie.  This is a Sparks family tradition for visitors of the hospital.
This morning I spoke in chapel on Joshua 7:7-12 about the battle of Ai.  I also sang a song and had prayer. Thank you for your prayers for us and the children here in the pediatric ward.  God is opening up doors for us to minister in different areas across Mbingo.  Melissa wanted me to let you all know that Jennifer (who you have been praying for) got to go home over the weekend! Praise the Lord! We were so worried about her, but her condition started improving because of the power of prayer!  This week, on Wednesday, I will travel 2 hours outside Mbingo to do chaplaincy work at a clinic, so pray that God would prepare us for that.  Then on Thursday, I will be doing some music for a bible study at one of the missionary's house.  We love you all!
 Jeff and Melissa with the first Fulani (spiritual leader)

 Us with Uguda

 Uguda with one of his wives

 106 year old woman and another wife (we think)

 Melissa and Sara with some of the ladies

 Jeff helping cook at The Sparks

Jeff speaking in chapel

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hiking in Africa

Today, I went into the hospital and did my rounds.  All of my patients on the pediatric ward seem to be doing okay for now.  I think God has blessed me with a calm day because He knew I needed it.  After rounding Jeff and I went down to the market and bought a liter of coca cola (yes they do have some:))  We then went and ate lunch.  After lunch we went on a hike for the rest of the afternoon.  I wanted to post some pictures of our journey today.

Jeff and me on the trail.  If you look really carefully you can see a waterfall behind us.  There are many waterfalls here.

Some friends I made while on the hike:)

The top of a Fulani hut and quite a view.

                                                         Looking down at the hospital valley.

Some of the beautiful terrain.

Game Night & Fellowship

Well, it's Saturday morning here at Mbingo. Melissa just got in from checking on her patients and we are getting ready to go to the market as well as a hike with some friends.  Last evening we were invited to The Palmers home for dinner along with some other visitors that happen to be here at the same time we are here.  There are two girls who are studying diet and nutrition from North Dakota and also a young surgery resident from Singapore.  After a nice meal, the missionary Tom, who took me to see the Fulani Tribe the other day, came and picked Melissa and me up for game night at his house.  We had a good time playing Farkle, which is a new game to us that we were taught by The Ipsens (a visiting family from Joplin, MO). Brian Ipsen is a talented young Orthopedic Surgeon, he and his wife Amy, and their three kids along with Amy's mother are here for a month.  We had a good time with Tom, his wife Ellen, and another young couple who are from Switzerland, Christoph and Sarah.

At some point this weekend I will need to prepare for a "sermonette" for the staff chapel on Monday.  The chaplaincy department has asked me to speak on Joshua 7:7-12.  I have been really moved by the acceptance of my services here by the chaplains.  They have been so embracing to me, it's amazing how the family of God, when operating like Jesus wants it to, is like a real family of brothers and sisters that no matter the background, orgin, or skin color, we love and want fellowship with one another. Speaking of the chaplains, one of the chaplains who works in the afternoons, named Ephesians took me on a complete ward tour the other night.  We went to every ward (except maternity and TB) and greeted all the patients. Some would want prayer and some just needed a friendly smile.  One woman called us over and wanted prayer for post surgery nightmares that she was having during her sleep. The next day, Ephesians and I were in the chaplains office and he said, "You know dat woman having de nightmare in her sleep? She called me over today and said Pasta (Pastor) Pasta, de nightmares stopped!"  It's amazing to see how God is working!

Another cool thing that I did yesterday was getting to stand in on two surgeries with Dr. Steve Sparks, the chief surgeon here at Mbingo.  He asked me on Wednesday at tea time if I wanted to come watch, so we set it up to come in on a shunt placement for a baby and a mastectomy on a breast cancer patient.  The shunt placement was actually on a baby that is in our children's ward, so after morning devotions as I was leaving, the mom asked me to pray for the baby's surgery. I prayed for the baby and told the mom that I would be in on the surgery as well.  During the surgery there were a couple of complications, but it was a success.  It's amazing to watch Dr. Sparks work, and when he gets to something that is risky, he says "Father, we need a little grace on this one right here."  You kind of hold your breathe and just whisper "Jesus".  There is power when we call on His name. As soon as the surgery was done, he looked at me and said, "Jeff, let's go to tea!" I knew that the mother would have been waiting, since the surgery went longer than expected, so when we left the theatre, I looked over and there she was with a worried look on her face.  So, I looked at her and smiled with a big thumbs up.  The relief that came over her face will be a picture in my mind forever!  After tea and watching the mastectomy I went to the surgery ward, and checked on her and the baby and they were doing just fine.

Melissa and I are feeling pretty tired from all the running around here and there, but God is helping us.  We made a choice when we arrived here that we were going to go full throttle and try to make a difference while we are here.  So, when opportunities come to us that seem alittle out of our comfort zone, we just say "yes" and ask God for His help.  A big part of that extra boost that we are feeling is coming from your prayer support that we can sense each day that we are here! We love you all! - Jeff & Melissa

 Jeff & Lesslie (Social Worker)

 Singapore Resident and Melissa

 Dinner at The Palmers

                                                                    Game Night at Tom and Ellen's

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Patients in Africa

Hello, all!  I apologize I have not been able to blog more, however, life has been very busy for the past week.  On arrival to Cameroon I jumped straight into my work on the pediatric ward.  The first day was quite an experience.  As soon as I walked through the door I got confronted by the nurses wanting me to help them with a very sick 9 year old female.  She had come in at the end of May after falling while at school.  After the episode she lost the ability to walk so her mother brought her to the hospital.  On arrival imaging was done and it was found that basically she had a brain bleed that had been present for many months and other underlying neurological problems.  After evaluating her I knew it was not going to be a good situation.  Later that evening God had me walk past the ward and I could hear wailing so I went in and I saw the little girl lying there lifeless I tried everything I could think of however God simply wanted her home.  After that first day I was not sure I was going to be able to do this, however, God has since shown me that HIS hands are on mine and has helped me every step of the way.
Medicine here is quite challenging.  There are no specialists, there are limited medicines and the medicines that are available are not in pediatric dosages.  The people wait to bring their children in until the illness has progressed so far that it is hard to help the children.
Today, the clinic staff rushed a little 6 year old girl over to me.  They said that this little girl had a 1 year history of cough and shortness of breath.  On evaluation I found that her oxygen saturation (which is basically the measure of her blood carrying oxygen to her body) was 42% and normal is 92% and greater.  I placed oxygen on her and could only bring the oxygen level up to 60% (we could intubate however there are no ventilators here).  After asking for a stat Echo (picture of her heart), I found what I suspected she has been living with a congenital heart defect since birth.  Right now I am trying to work on getting her to a medical center where they can do heart surgery.  Please pray for this little girl.
I have had several children admitted due to burns.  You may remember Ruby (the cutest little girl) she had burns for which she was hospitalized due to infection she got to go home yesterday or so I thought.  I actually was walking to the hospital this morning and I saw Ruby and her father lying on the ground outside of the womens ward and found out that Ruby's mother had to be hospitalized for an illness as well.   
I had another little 2 year old girl come in yesterday for severe burns.  I was actually sitting in morning report which is a meeting where residents and attendings get together to talk about 1 case that the on call team had the night before when a nurse practitioner ran in and said Dr. Melissa we need you.  I went running.  This little girl had been at an outlying facility and was discharged that morning comatose.  The doctors at the other hospital had said there was nothing more they could do.  She had been playing at her house a week ago when her brother accidentally pushed her into a pot of boiling of water (all of there cooking is on the ground).  The mother walked 2 hours with this child in her arms to bring her to Mbingo Baptist Hospital.  When I saw the child I was very concerned I was not sure she was going to make it.  However, God allowed me the wisdom to check a blood sugar on her and it was 32 which is very low.  IV access was not obtainable due to the burns so we placed an NG tube and we were able to give glucose to the child.  I am serious when I say within 5 minutes of giving the glucose the little girl began to move and I have never appreciated the sound of a cry as much as I did when she started screaming it was music to my ears.   Today this little girl is doing okay, however, her burns are still infected for which I am concerned.  Please pray that God will heal this childs skin.
I have seen tons of Malaria which I am not accustomed to in the states.  Most of the children do really well with treatment however we had one case yesterday that the family had taken to another healthcare facility and when the child wasn't getting better brought to us.  It was to late though and the child passed away yesterday evening. 
I am having a life changing experience!  It is hard at times when I don't know the answers or I know the child may not make it but I am leaning on God and HE is guiding me every step of the way. Please continue to pray for Jeff and me!
The NICU.   There are 2 incubators in the NICU and the one on the left doesn't work.  If you look closely you can see that there are 2 babies in the incubator on the right.  They say that sometimes they have to fit 3 babies in.
This is the 6 year old little girl admitted today with the congenital heart defect that was just found.
5 year old little boy who has a rhabdomyosarcoma (a type of cancer) in his nasal cavity that the mother just brought him in for.

2 year old little girl with burns.  You will notice the mosquito net around her to prevent flies from landing on her burns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Leper Colony & The Bush

Today was a very interesting day! My morning started off with a morning devotion, song, and prayer in the children's ward. Staff chapel followed that, then we rounded patients. While I was rounding patients with Melissa and the team, one of the social workers, Lesslie (who I have become really good friends with), came and got me and he asked if I would like to come and visit the leper colony called "New Hope Village". I told him yes, and after tea time (at 10 am all the docs and foreigners have tea and coffee together) we went with a health department team by automobile to the village. When we arrived at the village, I saw people with missing fingers and toes. These are all people who are post leprosy patients that because they have missing limbs, they cannot work for themselves so the hospital has this village for them. Some were even blind, but they were some of the nicest people you could ever meet.  The village chief opened up with a song and they all sang together. I gave a short devotion, sang a song called "He'll Find A Way", and had prayer with them. After that, the head of the health department told the people (there was about 17 of them) that I would be in a room over by where they do the wound dressings if they would like to meet with me for counsel and pray for their needs.  While I was there, the chief came and wanted to meet me. He got out his bible and wanted me to show him the scripture that I did the devotion from and he read it to me. It was such a special moment between him and me. I will never forget it. I then watched on while the health staff dressed the wounds and talked with the people. I couldn't help but think of the scriptures that talk about Jesus cleansing the lepers.

After I got back to the hospital, I checked on my little boy Emanuel.  He had his pelvic fracture surgery today. He came through surgery good, and was resting in his bed.  One of the missionaries that works with a primitive Muslim tribe out in the "bush" came and asked if I would like to accompany him in a meeting he was having with the village leadership about putting in running water in their village.  We drove about as far as we could, then hiked the rest of the way to what felt like the top of the world.  The Fulani people are an islolated Muslim tribe that do not associate much with the outside world, but because the missionary Tom, who I went with, does these water projects, it has opened up doors. While we were walking through the bush, it seemed that people would just come out of nowhere.  Everyone was very nice and shook our hands.  They wear the traditional attire that you would think that they would wear including head coverings and dresses for the men.  We were allowed to visit two of the compounds which consisted of mud huts and a couple of nicer yet primitive buildings. Some of the men have more than one wife and there were many kids around the area.  The mountain views from their village were some of the most breathtaking views that I have ever seen in my life! I didn't have my camera with me, but I wasn't for sure how they would feel about me having a camera there anyway.

I finished the day with a short hike with Dr. Palmer, and ate supper with Melissa and some other volunteers.  Thank you all for praying for the children's ward. God is doing some amazing things here, and we are seeing answers to your prayers! God bless you all!

 The village sign as you approach the leper compound

 The building where the people meet

 Post leprosy patients

 My friend Lesslie pushes the wheelchair for one who can't do it himself

 The place where I met individually with the people

 Chief Michaels reading 1 Peter 5:6-7

 Chief and me

 Dressing the wounds

 This is Jennifer...she is the one with the kidney disease and showing some improvement

 Melissa with her team rounding on patients

My little friends in the childrens ward