These past few weeks have been busy and have ushered in some exciting changes, but at other times have seemed a little stagnant. It has taken us a while to get back to the blog, so there is a lot to catch up on.
We have been patiently waiting for the rainy season to start. Routinely, the rains begin the second week of March. However, we have been in a severe drought, with our taps often running dry, and having no water for a few days a time. More concerning are the crops that the locals have planted in anticipation of the rains - crops that provide nourishment and a livelihood for the families. However, praise be to God, the rains started yesterday. We will likely still have water shortages intermittently for the next month or so, but with the rains comes a cool breeze in the air, dissipation of the oppressive cloud of dust, and great hope for the new crops.
We have been recycling our water as best as able. This shower water was used for watering the plants.
Work has been steadily increasing. Our numbers have increased dramatically since we arrived. Our ward, which hosts 20 general pediatric beds and 6 oncology beds, is always full, and our clinic workload has tripled since we arrived. Thankfully, we have had great help during these last couple weeks of growing pains. Andrew Kim, a third year pediatrics resident from New York joined us for the past 4 weeks. He was a huge help and great fun to have on board. His patients adored him…Clinton, an 11 year old with right sided heart failure secondary to pulmonary hypertension, told his mother that Andrew was his “best friend.” This is quite sweet, especially considering that we wanted to surround Clinton with family and best friends during the remainder of his life. There is no treatment in Africa for pulmonary hypertension (not even an option for home oxygen) and his disease will continue to progress. He was discharged home over a week ago, but has been living with his mom in the “kitchen” of the hospital because she couldn’t pay his hospital bill. Friends – you paid for his hospitalization so that he could get home to be with his family for Easter. A precious gift indeed - Thank you!!
Andrew & Clinton
The nursery is an area of great opportunity, but currently much frustration. It is perhaps the area where we can make the biggest impact, but it also needs the most help. Lack of supplies and training are making it difficult to care for premature babies; which is heartbreaking when families arrive anticipating better care because of the new pediatricians that are in town. Prayer for space, functioning incubators, appropriate fluids, and teamwork would be much appreciated.
With the coming rains, we are putting our first parcel packages to good use! We have received letters from family back home containing seeds: carrots, lettuce, peas, tomatoes; flowers; etc. We are excited to get our garden underway. In addition to a small garden around the house, we have planted some larger plants in he backyard along the dirt wall, and hope to plant banana trees soon.
Cathen is thriving. She loves her avocado, banana, sweet potato, and rice cereal. Despite the drought, fresh fruits and vegetables still seem plentiful, and she is enjoying her new foods. She is also wonderfully active – crawling, working on cruising, and babbling with the best of them. Having Isaac (Angela & Chucks’ son) next door is a huge blessing.
Cathen has been well-outfitted by her Uncle Rob. Thanks for the NCSU and Duke paraphernalia!
Isaac & Cathen
We are having gutters installed on the house and are building a covered patio out back where we can eat meals. Construction is underway and will hopefully be completed in the next couple weeks.
The back patio is under construction, and our plastic yard furniture is ready for action...
There is plenty happening here at Mbingo. In addition to work, we are getting outside and enjoying the countryside. Specific prayer requests for the upcoming weeks:
- Continued rain
- Patience with the rationed water
- Effective teaching of residents and development of pediatrics curriculum
- Making headway in the nursery: space, equipment, and training
- Wisdom in caring for patients
- Safety and health for Cathen as she grows
Cathen and Daddy cooking
The back waterfall: eating avocado with Daddy
Much love to you all! Blessings.