“A” is one of our nursing aides. He has an ever-ready smile that stretches from ear to ear. He is “M” but is asking questions and is quick to let me know if I forget to pray for a patient! Here he is holding one of our littlest patients. I was working in the clinic the day she arrived (she had been born at home but they felt it was too cold to bring her to the hospital so she didn’t show up for 8 hours) and was called out to the reception area to evaluate a “premature baby.” I looked around the room for a baby and then someone indicated a small pile of pagnes (strips of cloth) in a woman’s lap. It was such a small pile that I didn’t think a baby could be hidden in its depths but sure enough…a small 870 gram baby perfectly formed and still pink and breathing. I picked her up and rushed her back to our Pediatric ICU where she has been hanging on to life. If she makes it she will be our smallest baby to survive. She is off oxygen but hasn’t been growing well and is still under 1 kg. She has had malaria and several other infections which have set her back a bit. Please pray for her mother who is only about 12 or 13 years old herself.
Well after a few days off for team meetings and for moving the school, it felt a bit like the first day of school all over again today. The school building on the compound was recently finished so the school got moved from the rented house in town to this new schoolhouse. This schoolhouse is just across the road from our house so it’s very close. There is going to be an attached apartment built on the end of the schoolhouse for one of the teachers but it’s still underway.
Goodbyes are a regular part of our lives but that doesn’t make them any easier… Tomorrow we will say goodbye to Mom and Jim who have spent the past month with us. How wonderful it has been to show them where we live, our life here, and for them to have time to spend with the grandchildren. Brooke leaves us tomorrow too after spending almost 6 months as a part of our team. She’s worked without complaint in the hospital as an aide and helped out with our children when we needed someone and she’s generally become loved by everyone for her sweet spirit, quick smile, and great sense of humor. We’ll be praying for her next steps as she returns to Idaho to begin a nursing program.Also going out tomorrow but not pictured here are the Markhams. Dwayne and Carol have also been with us for 6 months. They are from our sending church near Seattle and we’ve been spoiled having them serve alongside us for the past few months. Carol has been willing to help wherever needed with administrative tasks and Dwayne has been able to connect with his fellow nurses without any French unlike any other short-term nurses. In fact, he couldn’t be found for this photo because he was busy with goodbyes in town with the many Togolese friendships he’d made during his time here.
Believe it or not, my desk was even messier before mom began coming to the office to help me get accounting entries made.
Chaplain DD and I had a great day of village visits today. We did our regular Bible study at first visit and then stopped into another village to discuss with the family of one of the past patients of the hospital the possibility of starting a Bible study with them. When asked if they would like to learn more about the Bible and its story of hope, the grandfather responded in his tribal language saying that ever since he was young he’s eaten what his parents gave him but that has left him hungry and needing something so he’d like to hear of the story of the Bible to see if that would fill him up. We will begin studies at this village next week.
Last week we announced that we are looking to fill 15 positions. Since that announcement there has been a constant crowd in front of the administration building with people waiting to drop off their applications. Please be praying that we will find just the right people in what is becoming a mountain of applications. It’s very sad that so many people are without any opportunity to work. For almost all of these applicants this would be their first job.
Around the time the hospital opened we began offering a waffle breakfast on Saturday mornings. This breakfast time has become a fun time to connect with some of the visitors and regular nurses, doctors, and teachers each week. The regular menu is two kinds of waffles (overnight yeast waffles and regular waffles), scrambled eggs, coffee, fresh fruit when it’s available, and mom’s cream cinnamon biscuits. It was fun having mom here to join the breakfast crowd.
Learning French is a project that didn’t end with language school. Our team has been blessed with a French instructor who will be with us for 6 months so I’ve signed up for French lessons three times a week for as long as she’s here.
I’ve found that recently my heart is not in my work that must be done in the office, and yet I do realize the importance of taking care of those needed tasks. For now, I’m going to be joining one of the chaplains each Thursday morning as we go to two villages where Bible studies have been started due to the contacts from past patients in the hospital. By helping once a week in this new aspect of the ministry I hope to be constantly reminded of why we’re here and that all parts of this project are needed. I’d love to eventually work more in this aspect of the ministry but until that’s possible I’ll do this once a week and pray that someone that loves numbers and administrative tasks will quickly come to help here. This group was recently given a radio that plays the Bible in their own language. What a joy to see the excitement of their hearing an audio version of the Bible in their heart language.
In the early hours of today a bus ran into a mosque here in Mango. Thankfully no one was injured.
While we said goodbye to one set of grandparents, we welcomed another set on the same trip to the airport. Mom and Jim will be spending a month with us in Mango after we take two days to recover from the 10 hour trip south and prepare for the return trip.
Goodbyes are always hard, but we’ve had a great month with Melissa’s parents.