Monday, July 24, 2017

Namibe and other happenings

Since our last writing we've been reading about Dr. Helen Roseveare... and her being whittled to be used as an arrow in the Lord's quiver. She was an amazing woman living in 1960's war-ravaged Congo who, despite the violence of war, personal threats and attacks, she plodded along caring for patients, building hospitals, setting up nursing schools, and just serving. While in Angola the war ended with the 2002 cease-fire, in someways Caluquembe is a little like the Congo and things can get pretty ugly. The ugly, Helen said, is often our self-righteous blindness to the needs of others... often this ugliness creeps in and interferes with what ought to be a self-lessening work of caring for a patient... in my case this manifests as frustration with being interrupted enumerable times on rounds for questions ranging from when will students get electricity (not thought to be my realm of responsibility) to the urgent need of operating right at the end of the day (as in a ruptured ectopic pregnancy or cesarian delivery). The interruptions force me to pause my self-determined triaged clinical work to talk to someone seeing their own problems as most urgent. In fact, abdominal pain for 10 years is probably not most urgent, but i still struggle to hold back my first reaction of frustration rather than patience and willingness to listen, redirecting and counseling (and of course recommend seeing me during clinic hours). It's an unpleasant struggle that's working on my character, but the greater lesson is God is worth the struggle. As John the Baptist said as his disciples abandoned him for Jesus, "He must become greater. I must become less."

Since May:
Our organization's CEO, Greg Seager, visited us at Kalukembe; we've renewed Zeke's passport in Luanda and now await the renewal of our visas (submitted the beginning of June); we've shared theology of health and specific topics related to men's health in Namibe province in June; we've butchered a couple chickens; we've claimed a cat as a pet; we've collected firewood for the cold season; we've had many warm fires together in the evenings; we've planted seeds for herbs; we've shared in women's health talk at a local church; we've done a few fun science experiments with boats and rafts; the vice-ambassador for the US and colleagues visited Kalukembe in the beginning of the month; we've spent 5 days on a farm in the desert with other missionaries for spiritual refreshment; we've had a two-day nursing continuing education seminar with Priscila and Dr. Nicholas Comninellis speaking (more later).

Keep us in mind and prayer:
Our electrical project won't be able to have the presence of an experienced electrician this year or early next year. In the meantime, there are lots of lightbulbs and basic wiring that need to be replaced and we are using funds given by you and organizations for that. We anticipate having some solar power installed at the hospital to at least stabilize the telephones and perhaps even the blood bank refrigerators. Keep praying our electrical challenges would find sharp minds, able hands, and wise money to resolve.
Our patients: These past couple weeks have had a share of tears for young women and small children who have died from eclampsia, malaria, severe dental infections and burns, respectively.

Zeke and his "ferocious" kitten, Buster. 

Greg Seager at the wheel, driving by fields of Chituto in May. Even though there were some missed communications around his arrival, Greg proved resilient and encouraged us in his time here. Big thanks for your patience with us, Greg!

Daniel sharing why health matters with men from the Namibe area's evangelical churches
Labor of love. Naomi here with Beltazar, one of the hospital maintenance workers, putting cement on what will be refurbished rooms for fistula women to stay in while they receive care at Kalukembe. 

Our kids playing with our friends, the Hoyme children, at a beach in Namibe in June.  Beautiful ocean.

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