Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mothers and Chickens

Happy Mother's Day.  Cameroonians also celebrate Mother's Day at least as much as Americans.  In fact, here in Cameroon we celebrate American holidays, government holidays, church holidays, and quite a few more.  It seems they have time off for a holiday about every few weeks.  We guess this explains why there is a 6 day work week here.

Isaac made this card with a little help from Chuck on Mother's Day morning.  Chuck and Isaac let Angela sleep in and made breakfast for her.  

 We then went to church and noticed that many of the women were wearing the same pattern of material for their skirts and headdresses.  It turns out that it is the "official women's cloth".  Angela and Lindsay will need to buy the pattern soon!

 After church, Lindsay, Angela, and Jayme went to deliver the cookies that they had baked to all the missionary moms here at Mbingo.  Jayme is the physical therapist who has been here for over a year.  She teaches a course to train physical therapists for multiple hospitals across Cameroon.  All the moms enjoyed the treat.

  The hospital continues to be challenging and rewarding at the same time.  One of the most consistently rewarding things we do is teach the residents.  This is Stephanie and Joel.  Stephanie is a first-year resident and Joel is doing his house officer year (one year internship after medical school).  They have been rounding with Chuck on the wards and based on this picture, seem to be having a good time.

Although there has been a lot of sadness in the children's ward, we recently had a huge blessing in the survival of these 2 infants. JR, Lindsay, and Angela have been caring for 2 premature infants born at 31 and 32 weeks. This is baby Lillian and baby Ernestine with JR on the day they were discharged from the hospital after staying with us for 6 weeks. They both survived several rounds of infections, jaundice, trouble breathing, and other problems that go along with being premature. In our setting it is difficult for premature infants to survive, and we know that God has his hand on both of these babies. We really grew to love these little girls and their mothers. 

 We also have an amazing story to share from the men's ward.  Chuck was called in by Dr. Jam (on the left) late one night for a 25 year old boy who was incredibly swollen.  He was so swollen that they could not get a blood pressure, draw blood on him, or give him IV medications.  In fact, when the nurses tried to draw blood, they only got edema fluid in the needle.  Chuck went to the OR and found a central line kit (a small miracle there was even one there) and put in the central line in the ultrasound room with the assistance of Darko (visiting chief resident from Arizona).  As far as we know, this was the first central line put in a medicine patient at Mbingo Hospital.  The amazing thing is that this boy lost 70lbs of fluid over the next few days and was discharged with significant improvement in his cardiac function.  For the medical people out there, we believe he had myocarditis and his ejection fraction improved from 5% to 20% with diuresis.

Our family is growing!  We are now the proud owners of 4 little chickens.  Chuck built a chicken coop and picked up the chickens this week.  This picture shows him putting the final touches on the coop with a little help from one of the hospital workers.

Welcome home chickens!  Isaac is still learning how to care for them, but he likes to check on them each morning.

As always, thanks for all of your prayers and support.  Please continue to pray for the challenges at the hospital.  Please also pray for safe travel for Angela's parents who will be here to visit in less than 2 weeks!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mountain Views

 Mbingo is an incredible place to hike.  This photo was taken from the top of Mbingo Hill looking down on the hospital and surrounding houses in the bottom left.  JR and Chuck hiked up the hill to get a view early in the morning.  This panoramic really captures the setting where we live.

 This is the start of the hike and it takes you directly up that hill to the left.  You can also see a thatch roofed house at the base.  There are no switchbacks so it is pretty steep and was slippery on the way down, but we made it safely.  If you remember from an earlier post, this was the same hill that was lit on fire just 2 months ago and now is bright green.

 As we got to the top of the ridge we had beautiful views in both directions with just the right amount of cloud cover on the back side of Mbingo Hill overlooking another valley and more mountains.

 This is from the top of the hill looking down on the hospital area.  There is a red arrow pointing to our house.  The front door of the hospital is the roundish white building just left of center.

 This is the view of the mountain range from the Sparks' house just a few minutes walk from our house.  Steve Sparks is the missionary vascular surgeon who has been here for 6 years. There are at least 6 waterfalls in this range, but it is difficult to see them all in this picture.

This is looking down the valley from the hospital area.  Most days start clear and then clouds move in during the afternoon and then we have a late afternoon rain.

This was taken on a hike we did last weekend.  You can see the hospital area in the distance.  You can also see Mbingo Hill (the one JR and Chuck climbed) over Chuck's right shoulder.  The rains have made everything green and the views can often be clear for miles.  We all love the hiking here, but Isaac probably loves it the most.  Who wouldn't want to be carried to these views though?