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.
Today the Work Inspector and a couple of other government officials put on a training session concerning the safety of work conditions for our work safety committee. While four hours of training felt excessive given my general thought that the conditions here are better than any other place I’ve seen in Togo, I appreciate that the government is making an effort.
Sometimes I really don’t know how our doctors and nurses do what they do. There seems to be an endless supply of sad or at times what appear to be hopeless cases that arrive at our doors. However, there are many of these type of cases that turn out very well. It’s a privilege to see how God uses some of the saddest cases for good. This young man is 19 years old and was playing soccer over a week ago when he collided with someone and broke both of the bones in his lower leg. However, he wasn’t sure what to do and his family had taken a trip to the capitol city of Lomé so he stayed at home and relied on a younger sibling to bring him food and water for a week and was seen by a “village healer”. When his family arrived they took him to a local clinic where they thankfully realized there was nothing they could do and sent him to our hospital. Gangrene had set in and his lower leg needed to be amputated to save his life. Today we paid for a doctor from a rehabilitation facility north of Mango to come and consult on where the best place to amputate his leg would be so that he could have the best results with prosthesis. The consensus of the visiting doctor and our surgeon is that the amputation needs to happen above the knee so he’ll go back into surgery tomorrow or Saturday. Please pray for this young man. He’s struggling to come to the realization he’ll live his life without a leg. Pray that God would use this situation for good.
We have some special visitors from the Northwest and they brought encouraging gifts, and they transported gifts and notes from our family. We are so thankful for the short-term workers that God calls to come be a part of what we’re doing and see how God is working. Julie is a nurse from Tacoma and she’ll be with us for just over three weeks. Melissa R. is a nurse who is originally from Shorline, WA and will be with us for three months. Melissa R. is practically family (her brother is married to Melissa’s sister) and her father is a pastor of one of our supporting churches. Julie attends the same church as mom and dad Lofgren in Tacoma, which is also one of our supporting churches, so we have lots to talk about and had a great meal together tonight.
The nursing class has uniforms for their clinical time in the hospital. This class has been outstanding in their desire to learn and have had great questions after their daily devotions. Please continue to pray that God would use this class mightily in His service in the years to come.
Happy Birthday Aaron! Aaron turned double digits today. We celebrated with lunch and cake with the DeKryger boys.
Aaron was investigating how many holes the large cage has when he may have been locked in by his brother. Aaron’s python is needing to move to this larger cage since he’s now got a second snake he wants to keep for a while which is smaller and will go into the small cage.
Crops are beginning to be harvested and this serves as a reminder that the season of growth and green is almost over to be replaced with hotter and drier times. One of the major crops here is corn. Once the husks are removed from the stalks and dried, many times someone like the gentleman pictured below is called and the services of his machine are requested so that the kernels can be removed and dried for storage.
The Hippo pond at sunset.
Today was the first meeting of a new French Club for children being held each Saturday here at the hospital. This will be a time for games and a Bible lesson, and an opportunity for our missionary kids to have fun and get to know other Togolese children all while speaking French.
First day of school photos…
Today was Tabaski the second in importance of two Muslim holidays. This is the third Tabaski we’ve seen in Togo and it’s strange how different our view of this day is this year verses our first year when we were just a couple weeks into our life in Mango. It’s impossible to drive through town today without seeing animals that have been killed for this holiday. The methods vary… Some burn the hair off so that strong smell of burning hair hangs in pockets throughout town, and some skin the sheep and goats, but at the end of the day there are animal carcasses hung together to be cooked up and enjoyed tomorrow.
The current Togolese nurses in the hospital were all trained for three years at our southern hospital before the opening of the Hospital of Hope in 2015. Most came from families, villages, and churches many hours to the south and most don’t speak the same tribal languages of the patients we see. They’ve left the things familiar to them to be a part of this project.
Here’s a photo of a home another of our nurses is building for his family. Pray that God would protect and encourage our current nurses as they serve and become a part of this community.
Today Melissa and I took advantage of free childcare and an opportunity to get away from the hospital together for a few hours. We rode the motorcycle an hour and a half north to Cinkassé. Cinkassé is situated on northern border of Togo and is the entry point for Burkino Fasso. This town is known for having more motorcycle shops than any other town in Togo except Lomé the capital situated at the opposite end of the country. I stopped and visited a number of the shops. All the motorcycles that are sold and assembled in this town arrive in a wooden crate as parts and need to be assembled. The young man pictured below said he usually assembles six motorcycles each day.
We also have a number of patients that come from Cinkassé and at times there have been entire van loads of patients that have come down. Typically, the people from Cinkassé are strict Muslims and many times have more money than the local people we see around Mango. Even today as we drove around a bit looking at all the motorcycle shops we talked for a while with a past patient who was happy to see us and thankful for the care he received at the Hospital of Hope.