We are getting into the Christmas spirit here. The standard expression here is "Happy Christmas" instead of "Merry Christmas". We start each day at chapel where two groups sing a couple of Christmas songs each. It has been fun to see all the nursing wards, hospital administration, different doctor groups, and even the carpenters and metal workers up front singing. The whole month is together called the "Christmas Singspiration".
This picture shows Irene (head nurse), Norah (medical resident), and Alex (nurse practitioner student) on the men's ward. Irene was inspecting the medicine cart which is used to carry the medicine around to each patient. As you can see, it can barely make it down the narrow middle aisle when we are rounding.
This is Kamdem, one of the medical residents, working in one of our newer clinic rooms. The residents round on the wards in the morning and see patients in a clinic room like this for the rest of the day. The residents all have interesting backgrounds of school and work. For example, Kamdem did medical school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then worked in Cameroon for almost 10 years before joining the residency. There are very few doctors in Cameroon that have had any training beyond medical school as it is not required. This is why the CIMS program at Mbingo is such a great resource to improve the level of medical care in Cameroon. Kamdem is halfway through his 3rd year and he will be quick to tell you how much his medical knowledge and patient care have improved since he started the residency.
This is Keith Streatfeild (anesthesiologist) with a nurse anesthetist student on the female ward. Chuck was caring for a young girl with severe hypoxia and was unable to give her enough oxygen with our basic oxygen concentrators. Keith had recently been home to Australia and built a homemade CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that requires no electricity and runs off the oxygen concentrators that we already have. This was the first time we used it and it improved her oxygenation from the 40% range into the 90% range.
This is a Fulani man that lives near the hospital. The pediatricians recently took care of his son and we saw him on a hike towards his house. He is always thanking us for caring for his "pekin", which is pidgin for child. Now that we have been here over 10 months, we often see many local people that we know on walks to the market or hikes through the mountains.
With Christmas comes the dry season. This is good if you don't like rain, but bad if you don't like dust or the color brown. In thinking about this, it gave us a chance to remember how our yard looked when we first arrived and the changes that have happened since. This first picture shows Angela hanging up hand-washed diapers (before our washing machine was installed) on our falling down clothesline in our dirt/rock yard.
And this is how are yard looks now. Grass and plants have been planted and thrived during the rainy season. The clothesline was repaired and moved behind the house to allow for a bigger yard. You can even see Isaac's swing hanging from the side of the clothesline.
We also wanted to give an update on the NICU renovations. The incubators have been built and this picture shows them. The carpenters built the top part and the metal workers the bottom. Then the electricians installed lightbulbs below the baby's bed for warmth and a thermometer to control the heat. They really did a nice job. The NICU room is almost done and we look forward to showing you the finished product soon.
This picture is from the Christmas Singspiration at chapel when the missionaries sang. We were led by Kaye Streatfeild and also benefitted from JR Young's parents being here to visit and willing to sing with us.
This is a typical load of fruit after going to the market on Saturday. Isaac likes to help unload the bags and pass them to us as we wash them all in dilute bleach water. All part of the routine here at Mbingo.
We are also getting excited about Christmas because we will be going back to the US to visit our families over the holidays for a few weeks. We look forward to seeing many of you while we are there.