Today I left the southern hospital and drove south to Togo’s capital Lomé (a two hour drive), where I picked up groceries we can’t get up north. After getting stocked up on butter, cheese, and meat, among other things I left town around noon to begin the nearly 350 mile drive to Mango. Of course along the way there are many trucks broke down or wrecked. Thankfully this one which happened just a little ahead of me left a bit of road and some shoulder so that we could still get around it.
Well I spent 3 entire days working at ABWE’s southern hospital learning their finance and accounting practices and asking lots of questions. There are currently a number of Hospital of Hope employees who are currently training at this hospital. This includes two guys I will work very closely with in the business office at the northern hospital when it opens. I am also very appreciative of the help and insight of Jerry a visiting accountant from the States who has worked hard to make sure I get as much information as possible packed into my three days here. While I’ve been staying at HBB (the southern hospital) I’ve been enjoying the hospitality of great friends who we grew very close to at language school in France. This evening Jason gave me a tour of the hanger and airstrip which is located alongside the hospital compound. I’m looking forward to seeing how God uses this ministry in Togo.
Today I (Ethan) left Mango at 8am for the drive to the southern hospital where I will observe the financial processes they use and meet with a gentleman who came out from the states to help work through setting up Quickbooks for the Hospital of Hope. I will be gone for nearly a week. With one stop for fuel the trip took right at 8 and a half hours with the last 2 and a half hours being over a very slow rutted dirt road. Two hours after I left Mango some of our teammates had to head to the southern hospital due to a medical situation. In the nearly two months we’ve been in Mango there have been other teammates that have had to take this nearly 9 hour trip for medical reasons. We will be very glad when the Hospital of Hope is up and running as it’s hard not to think of how far we are from medical help at times. We are happy to report that Aden is doing well and seems to be nearly back to normal.
Mom this photo is for you! I remember growing up thinking the treadle on the old Singer sewing machine was fun to play with. But this lady just sewed a bunch of curtains for our house with her Singer treadle sewing machine. Plus, she made the material that you sent along into the skirts.
Thank you for your prayers and notes! Aden is doing much better today. Hours after his first dose of the malaria meds his fever broke and he was even interested in eating a bit today and was almost back to his old self at times. However, a lower fever has come and gone during the day but nothing like the high fever he experienced yesterday. We are continuing the three day treatment for malaria but hoping the worst is behind him.
In other news: The container that we packed and shipped from Seattle on August 20th arrived at the port in Lomé yesterday. We are praying the process to get it through the hurdles at the port go smoothly and we see the container here in Mango in the next few weeks.
Despite being constantly medicated today, Aden’s temperature has remained around 103 and he’s miserable. We have a great team here and after Melissa consulted with another doctor on our team and made a phone call to a pediatrician at our southern hospital, it was determined that because of his symptoms it would be good to treat him for malaria. We’re praying he recovers quickly and that we’re able to get enough liquids down him to keep him from becoming dehydrated.
The medication for malaria was equivalent to less than $2 and includes medication for three days. With a phone call to the pharmacist in Mango he was waiting outside the pharmacy with the packet despite it being after hours. It was impossible not to realize our privileged position. Here in Togo many children die of malaria in part because their parents wait too long to seek treatment and/or don’t have the funds to purchase the malaria medications.
I snapped this photo of a painting on the back of a truck we were passing. It was interesting to see a painting of the pre 9-11 NY skyline on a truck in Togo.
Today the leadership conference wrapped up at noon and we began our journey home with many ideas on building an effective team, creating goals for our team, our desired team culture, and much more. The Togo North Team (TNT) will more than double before the opening of the hospital in just a few months.
Questions about the Ebola virus are very common when we communicate with people back in the States. So far, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Togo or any of the three countries that surround Togo (Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso). We pray this remains the case, but our team has worked to create an Ebola Response Plan with varying threat levels and required actions for each level. While Ebola has not yet reached Togo, it has had an impact on the construction of the hospital. We’ve had at least one two-week construction team that cancelled, and many teams have been smaller than originally planned because of concerns over Ebola. Pray with us that this devastating virus would be stopped and that Ebola would not enter Togo.
Today I (Ethan) and about half of our Togo North Team (TNT) arrived at a leadership conference put on by ABWE for missionaries from 3 or 4 neighboring countries. This conference is being held in Ho, Ghana and for our team requires about a day and a half of travel. We left Mango a little before 7am on Sunday and arrived at the Togo southern hospital around 5PM. We spent the night at the southern hospital, had breakfast and were on the road by 7:30am in order to make it to Ho by noon. Melissa and the boys stayed in Mango.
She’s back at it… Melissa has begun running again. For now she just runs a few miles of back and forth on the roads inside the compound. This morning Aaron was determined to go along and insisted that Melissa wake him up when she got up at 5:45 am.
Adjo comes several times a week to help Melissa with housework and food preparation (since everything must be prepared from scratch and all market produce must be cleaned well and soaked in bleach water). She will be an extra big help once the hospital opens and we get busy with the tasks there. Adjo has a son a little younger than Aden so she doesn’t mind his “help” with the peanut sorting and cleaning process (we buy the peanuts raw at the market and then they must be sorted (moldy/bad peanuts removed), roasted, most of the skins removed (as they are slightly bitter) before being ground into peanut butter.
Here is an excerpt from an email that Melissa recently sent…”I recently began seeing patients unofficially. What a joy and a privilege! Even though my new “clinic” is comprised of simple wooden benches on the ground behind the guard house at the hospital compound entrance, I am able to meet with hurting people, offer whatever help I can and pray with them. I was thinking recently as I sat on the red dusty ground in the heat with sweat dripping off me in a most unladylike way holding a baby who appeared to be slowly dying for unknown reasons (but in part, due to malnutrition) and praying with his grandmother, that this was how Jesus practiced medicine. In the heat. In the dust. With the people. One-on-one. My heart broke as I looked around at the others waiting to be seen. Most were from one of two tribes…the Fulani and the Tchokossi. Both primarily Muslim. Both have been very closed to outsiders and to Jesus. But they are beginning to open up as they see us ministering to them physically and as we build relationships within their communities. The little baby’s grandfather (the grandparents are raising him and his twin sister) is a Muslim but he has seen his grandson improve a bit over the past few days and has said that a miracle is happening. We pray that God will heal baby Foussini in a way that brings glory to Himself and points this family towards “Isa” (Jesus) who is the One who can provide eternal life. We pray that we will have many similar opportunities to minister to the people here and to share Christ.”
Today Melissa met up with Myriam (the French family medicine doctor) and they biked over to visit baby Foussini. Per Melissa, it isn’t easy biking in 95+ degree heat in a full skirt along the rutted paths and roads with occasional areas of soft sand while avoiding black plastic bags (which are used to wipe after going #2 and then released to blow wherever the wind will take them), all kinds of animals and small children which tend to dart right in front of the bikes, and the ever-present motos. It was worth it for her to see
Foussini doing so much better and to build relationships with families in Mango.
Careful! Running on wet sidewalks can be dangerous! But it will stop hurting when the pain goes away.
It’s hard to capture the size of this project, but it’s hard not to be blown away at how this huge project has taken shape and moved forward despite so many obstacles. While there are local workers that work on the project, and career missionaries, much of the work has been done by work crews from the states. In the last month we’ve had two different work crews come through and some of the men on these teams have been here 3 or 4 different times. Each of the work crews stay for 10 to 14 days. There have been 100s of different people that have put time on this project.