Today is day two of two full days of required security training. The team that has come to provide this training for us has done this for many organizations and our training includes both classroom time and hands-on scenarios meant to teach us how to respond in high-stress situations. I don’t think any of us are unaware of the dangers and threats that exist doing what we do and living in the world we live in but it’s still not fun to be reminded of what could happen…
Happy Thanksgiving! We have much to be Thankful for… We love working here in Mango and the team of people beside us in this work. While today was a somewhat normal day for the hospital and clinic, we got together as a team this evening to enjoy a meal together followed by a movie for those that wanted to hang around.
Today one of the hospital chaplains and I took a few moments to meet with a family that lives just a few kilometers from the hospital. They’ve asked to have someone come and study the Bible with them. We visited today in order to find a time that would work for everyone. They were eager to begin so we’ll start the Story of Hope with them this coming Sunday afternoon at 3pm. There has been much loss in this family. The grandfather passed away a while back and within a couple of weeks his son also passed away leaving 6 children. Shortly after that the momma of these six children left because her grief was too much. Four of the children remain with the grandmother, two were sent to live with other relatives, and the uncle moved back from Ghana to help raise crops and take care of the children. The neighbor boy was also here today and his mom was diagnosed with liver cancer a few months ago at our hospital and passed away a while later. Pray that from this brokenness comes new lives in Christ…
Today Grant DeKryger (who volunteers in the lab) and I went with a number of our employees to a wedding for Rodrig (one of our Lab Technicians). It was held in Kara (a town about 2 hours away). I drove our van and offered rides to a bunch of our employees. It was a fun afternoon and I enjoyed being a part of this moment in Rodrig’s life and seeing our employees celebrate with him. I especially enjoyed listening to the conversation in the van on the way back from the wedding. The employees in my van were mostly from southern Togo and arrived to work in the hospital without knowing the local language or culture (it is very different from the south). It was fun to hear them kidding each other in Anafo the local language as this is a great sign that they are trying to become part of our culture and desire to be missionaries here in Mango.
Melissa has been helping out in triage at the entry this week. Most days this week we’ve had between 60 and 80 patients that are waiting at the gate at 7am to be seen. Since our Togolese PA Pierre who usually manages this process is on vacation this week, I asked Melissa to come by and do a quick assessment of the patients to pull out any urgent cases so they can be given priority before we choose the patients for the day.
Every morning seven days a week patients line up for dressing changes. Normally there are between 15 and 30 patients that need their dressings changed. This young man came to us a few weeks ago walking with crutches because a broken bone in his lower leg had never healed despite the attempts to treat it at another facility. He was left with a foot that he couldn’t put any weight on and two bones that had never fused back together. He had a surgery here a few weeks ago and things are healing well and it looks like he’ll walk normally in not to many weeks. In the meantime, he’s staying here at the hospital in the Cuisine area, hearing the story of hope and seeing compassionate care modeled each day.
We are so blessed to have a number of short term helpers at any given time. In fact currently we have two short term providers that are seeing patients in our clinic. Without the sacrifice of these providers we wouldn’t be able to see nearly all the people that arrive at our gates. Dr. Ken served as a doctor and missionary for years in Thailand and his son and soon-to-be daughter in law both served with us as nurses and are in the States where they’ll be married in January and begin the process of joining our team as long term partners. It’s always fun to see how God provides the workers needed to keep things rolling.
Ezra sure does love his buddy Grant…
The cuisine is a large building that houses many people in stalls for free who need to stay at the hospital for either daily dressing changes or some other type of follow-up. We seem to nearly always be bursting at the seams and needing additional space for these folks so we’re beginning plans for a way to expand the housing available for these patients. We’re also giving our cuisine area a bit of a facelift with plastered walls and painted surfaces that will better allow us to clean and sterilize this building periodically. There are so many ministry opportunities in the cuisine as there are patients and family members who spend lots of time here. At any given time there are a number of languages that are spoke and people of all ages that are living in the cuisine. The hospital’s chaplain team does visit the cuisine folks regularly hearing their stories, offering Bible studies, and showing them films. The current renovation project is a gift from one of our short-term workers who had a burden for the people of the cuisine and recently gave a gift to the hospital to be used for the families that live here.
Here’s a photo from this weeks kid’s club…
Some Saturday’s after breakfast Miriam offers to take Aden and Ezra to “help” her in the pharmacy. These boys love helping Miriam, but it might be because they usually get a piece of candy after “working”.
We went country for the first annual Togo North Team Whammy Awards (lip sync contest).
Yesterday we also stopped by the clinic at Nagbeni. We’ve stopped here before so it was fun to drop back in. They were quite excited about an anti malaria campaign the government is doing in the area where they’ve been going door to door and passing out medications that help protect children under 5 years old from getting malaria. Due to this campaign in the area this government clinic and the children’s hospital we visited yesterday have both seen a steep decline in the number of children with serious cases of malaria. This is great news because this is malaria season and honestly seeing the very young children die of this disease is always difficult.
Melissa and I have enjoyed visiting a number of clinics in the villages we’ve passed through when we are able to take our Saturday morning moto rides. Today we were impressed as we visited a children’s hospital in the town of Bogou. This small hospital was clean, had functioning equipment, and generally was a cheerful place. This hospital is run by the Catholic church and we had a nice visit over cold drinks with a nun who is a nurse from Italy. She has been working in this area of Togo for more than 20 years and has been at this hospital since it was built just over 10 years ago.
This morning I went along with one of the counselors to a village where we did weekly Bible studies earlier this year. We stopped the study for the past two months as everyone seemed too busy with working in their fields to continue, with the promise that we’d be back when the work in the fields was wrapping up. Today we arranged to begin meeting again and we’ll meet each Thursday morning at 7AM. Since this village is about 40 minutes from the hospital, we’ll plan on leaving around 6:30 each Thursday morning. Pray for the people of this village and the young man that will be helping us lead it with the intention that he’ll eventually take over this work.
The man working on the chair in this photo is the reason we have the opportunity to this visit this village. Todd did a surgery on him that saved his life and gave him the ability to once again work in his fields. During his recuperation at the hospital he began studying the Bible, watched the Jesus film, and talked with the counselors. When he was released to go back to his village, he wanted to make sure that his family had the same opportunity to be freed from a belief system based on fear and uncertainty and have hope and joy in their lives so he asked if a Bible study could be done in his village. What a joy it was to hear individuals from this group give thanks to God for things in their lives and to see their desire to continue to learn and listen to the Bible in their language on a radio we left with them almost a year ago.
As a side note… The chairs he’s making here sell for 1,500CFA equivalent to a bit less than 3 US dollars.