Saturday, September 25, 2021

Preparing for the rain

 Greetings again from Kalukembe! Onjovo (Spring) is here, with many trees shedding their leaves and the sweet scent of flowers in the air. Though the rains usually do not fall in earnest for another month, the world around is growing in anticipation. Even with a dusty covering on all surfaces, it's a fun time of year to look around and take notice of new life. Rather symbolic, eh? But I leave that to you to make connections.

For us in the hospital, we are in a slight lull on pediatrics ward with fewer malaria cases crowding the wards. However, maternity and the adult wards continue mostly above capacity. . . some of that is self-created by the hospital since when mens and women's wards were repainted and floors tiled, about 8 beds per ward were taken away. I don't recommend renovating that way, if you'd like to know. The hospital is used to making do with what's thrown at it, so for now, we will carry forth with patient beds on the floor. . .  again. Our friend once said about our Emergency Department in the States what I often think is the same for here: we often seem to be shuffling deck chairs around on the Titanic.

At times, discouragement can set in when we see the same cycle of problems reappearing: the disappearance of TB medicines nationally; lack of follow through in patient care resulting in worsened morbidity and, at times, lives lost; typhoid fever and perforations as prevalent now as 9 years ago; suspicious cases for COVID keep coming but still no tests provided. The list can go on, and the discouragement is valid (if I am the one validating). But just as real are the small improvements we see, and the cycles of beauty in the lives of our neighbors and in the world around. We witnessed the final metamorphosis of Naomi's tadpole into a frog this week. The trees we missed seeing bloom this time last year (due to no power and poor communication) are in their flowering glory now. Eliel and friend Luis celebrated another year of life! The latrine outside of pediatrics ward has finished and I am stepping in less poop coming to the hospital! And Jesus's promises give us joy--"Behold, I am making all things new."

Oxygen concentrators are needing maintenance, but we were able to get 8 more reserve bottles of oxygen for the hospital as part of a grant from Samaritans Purse. We are witnessing a higher need for oxygen therapy among patients--TB mostly, but also pneumonia (suspected COVID, included), malaria and heart failure patients. If you are wondering, we do not use ventilators at our hospital. In fact, only Central Hospital in Lubango has about 8 ventilators for a province of almost 3 million people.

Celebrating with friends on our Sunday afternoon "club" of soccer play, Bible stories, snacks and book swapping

Precious moments of Priscila with Eliel and Naomi!

Priscila with some fistula ladies, here showing donated Bibles.
Coral tree flowers; a sign the rains will come soon

Relay racing through hospital uniforms at Eliel's 8th birthday party. We did wash the uniforms before!

Celebrating Eliel's and Luis's birthdays!

"Where there is no barber..." Eliel pulling extra duties in hair cutting.

"Where there is no teacher..." Ok, don't blame Priscila for this one. It was my one day of the week helping with homeschool. The boys then did a science experiment with the hair to see if hair melts or burns with fire. I recommend to interested parties doing this further away from the house next time. 

Your generous donations at work. Zeke in front of the new latrine--well ventilated and improved lighting at night! May not become the new hangout spot for young hipsters to pose for selfies, but sure is nice!

No comments: