We have been here in Cameroon for almost 3 months. Everyone warned us that most people experience a down time after they have gotten settled for a few months. Initially, you are so busy unpacking, meeting people, and learning the system, that you do not have time to really reflect on the fact that you have left your former life behind. Still, we had hoped that we would be immune to this particular phenomenon. There are a few reasons for why we are experiencing this now. One is the continued difficulty at the hospital. Some days it feels like almost every patient has a problem we have never seen before and do not know how to treat. Also, one of the lab machines and the pediatric cardiac ultrasound are currently broken which makes treating patients even harder. Another is that we are missing family and friends and it will be awhile before we see most of them. Finally, Isaac is starting to have a temper and need discipline which can be hard at this age.
Still, when we really stop to reflect, God is doing a lot of wonderful things around us on a daily basis. This weekend we had a “party” to teach some of the pediatric parents early warning signs of childhood cancers. It was Dr. Francine (one of the residents who is specializing in oncology), Angela, and Lindsay who hosted it. We had the parents and children come to learn, eat lunch and cake, and socialize.
This is a picture from the session. The idea is that these parents and families will take this information back to their villages and everyone can learn from them. Then, we can have these pediatric patients present earlier to the hospital and have a better chance at a cure. Even some of the inpatient pediatric patients attended.
This is Comfort (pediatric nurse) and Dr. Francine with Angela. This is Francine's last year in residency and she will likely be heading to South Africa after that for further oncology training. Then, we plan on her returning to be head of oncology here at Mbingo.
We also are happy to report that the new chemistry machine has arrived and is in use. This is a picture from the dedication of the machine on the first day of it's use. This will be changing how we care for each patient and we are thankful to so many of you for giving towards this gift. We are continuing to look for future projects and needs at the hospital to give towards and will let you all know of the next one.
Another thing that we are thankful for is all the volunteers that come to help us. We recently had Adam Houser, a 4th year med/peds resident, come from Cincinnati. He helped in the clinic, attended on the female ward, and gave lectures. This is him with Chuck and Isaac on a hike in the rain. With the rainy season here, you can't wait for perfect weather!
We have also continued to develop relationships with the residents. This past week we had Dr. Jam, Dr. Koudjou, and their wives over for dinner. It is so interesting to hear how they ended up together, in medicine, and learn about the Cameroonian culture from them. It is not nearly as simple as they applied to medical school, got accepted, and attended. It takes dedication from them and their families to make it happen.
Isaac has also begun to make friends. He often plays with children at church, but recently he has begun playing with our neighbor. Javasius is a 2-year-old little boy who often comes over. He and Isaac play in the dirt, pick the flowers, and run around giggling together. It is a joy to see.
All of this is to say that God is good. He did not promise us easy lives, but He does promise to be present and support us in the trials of this world. Please keep us in your prayers. Specifically pray that we would feel renewed and energized to tackle another week at work, that we would have patience to discipline Isaac in love, and that we would seek God in all things.