In Krio, one of the many languages spoken here in Kamakwie,
one way to add emphasis is to repeat the word.
Fayn Fayn! Ad ad! Very beautiful and very hard is how we would describe our time here in this community and at the Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital. We have been surprised at how quickly we have come to love people we work with, and at how critically needed and difficult their work is. We have learned many things we did not know about peaceful and supportive relationships between Muslims and Christians, and about how many children die of malaria every day. We have been impressed with the passion and excellence with which many do their jobs and their desire to learn, and dismayed at the meager salaries, staffing and administration problems, and the physical condition of the hospital buildings here.
We knew when we came that three months would not be long enough. Three months is too short a time to understand all the dynamics and certainly too short a time to give much advice. As in Haiti, our goal has been to come alongside and encourage. We hoped to grow in understanding enough to connect those with great need with those who have compassion for the poor in a place with few material resources. So, we’ve prayed and wrestled—in another great place for wrestling with God about our response to a world that groans with illness and death and need. Kamakwie Hospital has given us heavy hearts, but with great hope for God’s way to come, for things to be made better, for Christ in us to help make all things new!
We certainly have been made aware of and have been approached with many needs. Opportunities for charity/love are everywhere, and so we ask how we can love well. What is our role in the future here and in Haiti? How do we look to the needs of others and not only to ourselves? We can’t tell you how important your support, encouragement and prayers are to us and to our coworkers here and in Haiti. Knowing you are not alone and that someone is praying is huge. Every day they literally come to work with the resolve to make a difference and a sense of the importance of the work with little material reward.
We have five weeks left here. When we return to the US, we plan to meet with Global Partners to talk about options for returning to Haiti and/or for returning here. Feeling a draw to both places now, we are praying and trusting that the way forward will be clear. We look forward to talking with many of you for you impressions of what we have passed along to you as our partners.
Several of you have asked how you can help the hospital and people here in Sierra Leone, and we would love to be part of an active love project, done in a way that will encourage. When we’ve asked about their greatest needs, here’s what they’ve said: (Warning: It’s an overwhelming list of pretty basic things!)
- Fuel for the generator (Repair of the solar system could help.) We've had no electricity at times and been unable to give oxygen.
- Funds for medications Having money for basic medications is an issue monthly.
- Mattresses and covers for 120 beds including the pediatric ward. Many that they have are falling apart and unable to be cleaned well, stained with...well, we don't need to go there :-).
- Lab equipment—Digital Xray machine This would be a game changer for good X-rays. (We've asked the government health system to help with this and are waiting a response, but we're not holding our breath.)
- 4 Computers --for the Finance department, Pharmacy, Lab and Director of Nursing
- Repairs for the KVA generator
- Bulbs for the Operating Room
- Fencing for the Hospital Compound—300 meter perimeter wall. With so little control over people and things crossing back and forth from the hospital to the street, this seems like it could be a major help.
- Training for 10 more staff
- Solar Battery replacement (24) within 1½ years
- Increased funds for the Indigent Fund through Global Partners (click the link to give)
- (our addition) a paint job for the whole place!
And, constant prayer for the
administration and staff. For example, Chaplain Michael
(pastor of a new local church) is functioning as the temporary administrator,
working very hard in a job he's not trained for while continuing in the daily
chapels to encourage the staff, both Christian and Muslim, to follow Jesus
Christ. And for all of us, discernment about how to come alongside the poor
with compassion and respect.
Please let us know if you are feeling nudged to help in any of these things. We're working on specific ways to give financially for these items, but in the meantime you can give support through the link above or giving via our Paypal account (firstname.lastname@example.org), just like many of you have been doing for Haiti) and letting us know what the gift is for.
We continue to receive news from Haiti about the violence and warfare of the gangs and continued kidnappings in Port au Prince. Two ministries (we know of) have had their work disrupted and found the people in their areas endangered. La Gonave remains calm, but there is an ongoing need for food assistance as prices rise and hunger increases. Please pray for God's mercy! Meanwhile, the plans and fundraising for renovating and improving the medical work there, spearheaded by World Hope (click the link to give), are pressing on and the actual projects should begin very soon. Please pray for this to succeed and to be done well.
Your faithfulness in Partnership is amazing to us and spurs
Thanking God for you!
Marcia and Bob