We are at Mbingo and it is great to be back. This is an update on what has been happening here.
This is Nora's first trip to Cameroon and she has been fully welcomed. Many of our Cameroonian friends prayed hard for her when she was born unexpectedly with Transposition of the Great Arteries. She had successful surgery at 6 days old and it was great to be able to share with our Mbingo friends how God provided healing for her. The picture shows her with with some of the Cameroonians that came to our house for a party for the CIMS program (Christian Internal Medicine Specialization).
Malnutrition is a serious problem that is encountered often on the children's ward. It is closely linked to extreme poverty and often requires a long hospital stay to get the child back to health. The children require close medical care and nutritional supplements. Education is also given to the parents on how to improve nutrition. These WHO supplements are F-75, F-100, and F-150 (pictured) and are made here at Mbingo for the patients. One of the problems is that these long hospital stays lead to bills that are difficult for the already poor families to pay. There is now a dedicated Malnutrition Fund that seeks to raise money to lower the their hospital bills as a way to show God's love to these children and their families. Donations are tax-deductible and are given through CHEF (Cameroon Health and Education Fund). There is information on their website (http://cameroonhealthandeducationfund.com) on how to give, but make sure you designate the Malnutrition Fund as the recipient of your donation as they have other projects in Cameroon. If you have interest in donating towards this much needed service and have questions, please email us.
Jane Murry Bryan is a high school student from our church in Charlotte. She traveled with us to Cameroon this year and has been helping us a ton. She watches our kids part of the day and then volunteers or observes at the hospital in the afternoons. Our kids love her and it has made it easier for both of us to work at the hospital more. She has really been part of our family here! She leaves today to get back for school and we are all going to miss her.
Jane Murry, Angela, Isaac, and Ben are in this picture giving small gifts (crayons, coloring books, toy cars, etc) to the children on the peds ward. Isaac and Ben helped pick out and buy some of the gifts before we left Charlotte. Jane Murry has also been coming some afternoons to read to the children on the ward from the Jesus Storybook Bible. We brought enough copies that she can give them away after she reads as well.
This picture shows the first child at Mbingo to survive surgery for a tracheoesphageal fistula and esophageal atresia. Angela helped take care of the baby after surgery in the ICU. This condition requires a large surgery for repair and careful support of the child after surgery. Yes, the child is in a Britax car seat. One of the surgeons thought of this idea to help with positioning of the child and it seems to have made a big difference. This was a car seat from one of the missionaries here at Mbingo, but Nora has decided that she will leave her old infant car seat here at Mbingo to help with future cases like this.
Dr. Nkweta (2nd year resident) has been rounding with Dr. Nyanga (CIMS graduate and now faculty) in the ICU. Chuck has been rounding on the adult wards and also helping with more difficult cases in the ICU. It is excellent to see the Cameroonian faculty like Dr. Nyanga teaching and mentoring the younger CIMS residents. We continually see challenging cases and high volume, but it is encouraging to know that the future of Cameroonian healthcare is in the hands of doctors like this.
Just a few miles from Mbingo in the town of Bambui there is an orphanage that we knew about, but had not had the chance to visit until this trip. The Schilinskis are the missionaries that helped found it and along with some Cameroonian staff, help run the orphanage. It is a loving, nurturing, compassionate, Christian environment for the kids to grow up in.
This picture is out front of one of the orphanage houses. Helping Hands Children's Home (HHCH) is set up with individual houses where the kids can have a family-like atmosphere. Each house can hold 10 boys and 10 girls with a house parent as well as a house aunt/uncle that lives with them. They currently have 38 kids at HHCH with the possibility of expanding to as large as 120 kids in the future as they expand their infrastructure. We had a great visit and look forward to stopping by again.
It is rainy season here which means beautiful green mountains and clean air, but a lot of water. Nora is checking the rain gauge and says it has been averaging almost an inch/day. It usually comes for a period of time in the afternoon/evening, so we have plenty of clear weather too.
One of Isaac and Ben's favorite activities is drawing maps on big banana leaves. Certainly one of the things that you don't get to do in Charlotte.
Dr. Tumi, a recent CIMS graduate and old neighbor of ours, recently came back to Mbingo to visit and stopped by our house. Barry and Isaac seemed to remember each other and both families have added 2 more kids since that time. The kids loved playing together and were sad when they had to leave. It is great to hear how the CIMS graduates are working at different hospitals around the country and the difference they are making.
Jane Murry with our crew at the "Back Waterfall". It was a great hike with a powerful waterfall given that we are in rainy season. We will miss Jane Murry these next couple weeks. You are welcome to come back with us to Cameroon anytime!