Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to Work

We had a great vacation and have been back to Mbingo for almost 2 weeks now.  The volunteers covering for us did a great job and we really appreciate them coming and working and allowing us a much needed break.  We feel much more refreshed and energized to serve.

 This is the current NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Mbingo.  Improving the state of this unit is our current big project.  There are 2 old incubators in the NICU and only one works correctly.  Often there are 2 babies in the one incubator and 2 more that could benefit from incubators as well.  We have already started having 3 wooden ones built locally that could be used for larger babies.  The hospital is working to buy another one like the ones in the picture because this type is needed for the tiny babies.  We are also going to completely gut the room and hopefully have room for 5 incubators and a nurse and a mother in the room.  There are many babies that would have a better chance of surviving here at Mbingo if our NICU was better equipped.  We are using some of the money that many of you have given towards our account for this project and we once again appreciate all the generosity that you all have shown.

While we were in Kenya, we were able to visit Kijabe Hospital.  It is also a missions hospital, but is more advanced than we currently are.  They just bought a CT scanner and have a much nicer NICU.  While we were there, we gathered information on how to improve our NICU and the care of the newborns.  We also got tips on how to improve the utilization of bubble CPAP.  Bubble CPAP is a way to easily and cheaply deliver pressurized, oxygenated air to a newborn baby.  Kijabe has been doing it for years and the staff there was helpful to help us troubleshoot our system here at Mbingo.

For our vacation, we first went to Kribi, Cameroon with the Youngs.  It was a grueling 10 hour drive to get there, but we had a nice relaxing time at the beach.  We were able to spend a week there and see a completely different and beautiful side of Cameroon.

Isaac loved playing with the kite that his great aunt and uncle gave him.  The only problem was when it was windy, he did not always see the need to keep holding onto the string tightly.  This is Chuck and Isaac running to get the kite started on a calm day.

 Isaac and Cathen had a great time in the "big sandbox".  We built sandcastles and went swimming and had a nice chance to spend time together as a family without the pull from the hospital.

We took multiple walks a day on the beautiful beaches that we had mostly to ourselves.  It is the rainy season here, so the other visitors were at a minimum.

 After our time in Kribi, Angela and Chuck went to Kenya for a week.  We saw the "Big 5" and enjoyed seeing so many animals in their natural habitat.  This is a large male lion warming up in the early morning sun.  We feel blessed to have been able to do this truly African experience.

 This is a group of young hippos playing in the water.  We were surprised how close we were able to get to the hippos given their reputation for being one of the most deadly animals.  It seems as long as you are not in the water with them, then you are ok.

 We also saw many elephants of all ages.  This was a large herd passing past our jeep just before sunset.  It was surreal to have these large animals completely ignore us most of the time and go about their business.

While we were in Kenya, Betty (Angela's mom) was kind enough to come to Cameroon and keep Isaac at Mbingo.  Isaac had a great time with his Nana.  Betty has also been able to stay with us for a couple more weeks since we got back, but sadly, she will be leaving tomorrow.  Please pray for safe travels for her.

Thanks for following along and we look forward to giving you more updates of some of the projects that we are trying to do around the hospital like the rehab of the NICU.  If you are interested in supporting us and these projects, please look to the right side of the blog for information on giving.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ready for Vacation

Things have been especially busy this past week at the hospital and we are happy that vacation time is here!  We are going to Kribi, Cameroon for a beach week and then going to Kenya for a week.  The Youngs are joining us for the week at the beach.  Other than the 8 hour drive to the coast, we are looking forward to the much needed break.

 While we are gone, the residents will be carrying more of the workload.  Francine (a recent residency graduate) has been functioning as an attending on the female ward for the past couple months.  This is her rounding with her team. She will continue this as well as lead morning report and deliver the weekly quiz over the reading from Harrison's internal medicine textbook.

This is Angela giving a lecture on malnutrition to the residents and other trainees.  While we are gone, there are volunteers coming to help with the teaching and patient care.  They will be giving lectures, rounding on the wards, seeing clinic patients, and generally trying to cover any gaps that we leave while we are gone.  We are thankful for them coming and allowing us to take a break.

This past Sunday was the end of the Spiritual Emphasis Week for the CBC (Cameroonian Baptist Convention) in Cameroon.  There were special services during chapel each morning this past week and on Sunday the Mbingo missionaries all went to different churches in the villages around Mbingo.  We went to the CBC Church at Lih, a small village church that you can see in this picture.  Their building is actually quite large, but it is just an open room with dirt floors, mud brick walls, and a metal roof.  It was great to get out and see some of the areas that our patients come from and worship and pray with them during church.

 Marching ants are a problem here.  They are interesting to watch, but deliver a stinging bite if they get on you.  They march in lines with soldier ants to the sides guiding them.  They travel in such numbers that they carve a path into the red clay as you can see in this picture.  They have even been known to pass through a house, but we are thankful that they have not chosen our house yet.

This is Isaac with his friend Godlove.  Godlove had rheumatic heart disease and was very sick with mitral valve disease.  He was able to have a heart surgery at another hospital in Cameroon (Shisong) that specializes in pediatric cardiology.  Now he has a mechanical mitral valve and is living a much healthier life.  He does have to take blood thinners (warfarin), but is blessed to be alive. Isaac loves when he comes to visit and they like taking turns riding on the scooter.

Gigi and Dodad had a great visit with us and now they are safely back home.   The trip was uneventful, but they are missing a few bags, which has become the norm.  They should get them soon.  I guess if you travel to or from Africa, you should pack anything you don't want to lose in your carry-on!

Thanks for following us here on the blog.  We look forward to coming back to Mbingo after vacation energized and refreshed to continue serving God here at the hospital.