Monday, March 05, 2018

Catching up in 2018

It's March and we've already had 2 visitors from the States this year--wow! We are now wrapping up our work at the hospital and putting in our good-byes; packing up the house; picking our last sweet potatoes from the garden; flying (and losing) our last kites; maybe squeezing in a last health talk or two; and planning for a discussion of our work with the hospital thus far with church leadership. We hope to return in 2019, even with another physician through Samaritans Purse, Dr. Lena Gamble. Thus, a time for reflection and a time to anticipate our returning.
We are anticipating going to a medical missions conference in Greece, stay a few days afterward with Daniel's parents; visit Priscila's parents and grandparents in the Netherlands; then touch down in Philadelphia in April. Daniel anticipates re-entering work at Christiana with his physician group, DFES (which has been generously supporting us while here in Angola) and Priscila with manage the homeschooling, new home arrangements in Wilmington, and be back with Esperanza clinic in September. As plans take shape, we hope to scatter visits to see you and other partners during our time back. 

Naomi enjoying a laugh with a now-cured vesicovaginal fistula patient and family. i am often impressed with how optimistic and positive women with fistulae are. Even those in very difficult social circumstances with very little materials to their names hold to a peace in their situation that puts me to shame. God continues to teach me much about my complaining and discontent through the contentment of others.
Workers of the warehouse posing with donation from US Embassy of mattresses! We will be working on vinyl or other waterproof covering for them, but given the desperate condition of our beds, some have already been distributed and the patients are sleeping better already.

Zeke at the end of his day translating for Dr. Lena Gamble at a rural health clinic. He has mastered questions related to prenatal screening, and can now place on his CV "medical translation" as a skill next to "cooking popcorn over an outdoor fire".

A delightful answer to prayer: J, one of Zeke's friends is here happily showing his scar. He had been sick since October with a necrotizing pulmonary infection, spitting up the same foul-smelling material that came out of his lung space. After an operation in December, he's been gaining weight, breathing better and smiling lots more. It's been a real joy to witness healing here in Kalukembe, especially in one of our friends.

District hospital reality. This baby with cleft lip and palate was born at our hospital. We usually evaluate about 2-3 babies like this a month. If they can maintain growth, then our visiting surgical team will close the cleft lip at the age of 6 months. We do not have means to close a cleft palate at our facility and patients in the provinces of Angola do not have access to any surgeons who perform cleft palate repair.

Dr. Joel Atwood with one of our nursing  seminar participants. Dr. Atwood visited during the month of January and hit the ground running with lectures on neonatal infections the day after he arrived in country. As ever, visitors who have contributed to seminars have helped greatly in educating nurses from area and rural health posts. We usually have a mix of government nurses, nurses from our hospital and ones from other clinics in the IESA denomination. As there is huge lack of medical information available to health workers in Angola, these seminars have been well received. We hope to supplement these seminars with further discussions and visits in the remote clinics in the future. Indeed, there is much work to be done for the health of Angola, and we feel privileged to be involved in a small part of that work.

Priscila explaining the daunting vaginal exam box with nurse Mariana preparing her extra-long glove at our January nurse education seminar. Audience participation was a must during Priscila's sessions!