Still working hard…

The October 2016 team is still hard at work! Dr. Carol will celebrate the first successful cervical cancer screening/prevention program in Sierra Leone with a ceremony tomorrow morning with certificates for the graduates! It is such an exciting time to be here!
We had a successful medical outreach to a remote village last Friday where we assisted the Mercy Hospital staff with the nutrition program, malaria testing and treatment, and Dr. Carol performed ultrasounds on the pregnant women there. It was a very busy but rewarding day, as there was a very large crowd of mothers and babies to be seen!
On Saturday we went into Bo and bought some African fabric, and then the tailor came and is making us some custom fit African clothing. We also watched the boys play a competitive football (soccer) game until the thunderstorm rolled in ending the game early.
On Sunday morning we split up for worship with about half of us worshiping at Leader UMC with the CRC children and the other half worshiping at Centenary UMC (I’m sure I spelled that incorrectly!) for their 56th anniversary celebration. Both services were wonderful worship experiences! On Sunday afternoon, those of us who sponsor children here got the best treat of all: we got to go and meet the children we sponsor in their homes! It was an amazing experience–one I will certainly never forget. And if you get a chance at some point, ask Minister Jackie about her meeting with the child she now sponsors–I’m sure she will be just a little bit excited to tell you all about it!!
Members of the team are continuing to work on developing protocols for home visits for the children in the foster care program, and the feasibility of eventually having home visits by nurses for post postpartum women and newborn infants will be explored. There have also been many school visits made to the foster care children.
The team is still enjoying vespers every evening with the children; it is such a blessing to see and hear them singing. We will also get to read them bedtime stories tonight.
It is hard to believe there are only a few days left until we return home. I hope and pray we are able to accomplish all that God has intended!

It’s Thursday Already!

I’m enjoying a little bit of downtime ( of which there has not been much) AND the internet is working right now, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to post.

The medical team has kept busy with the cervical cancer screening/training.  Cryotherapy was used on 2 patients yesterday, potentially preventing them from developing cervical cancer! It was an exciting time, and many praises go out to all of the people involved in getting the supplies necessary to make that happen!

Other members of the team are working hard on developing protocols and procedures for the visits to the children in the foster care program here, and that seems to be going quite well.  The staff here really wants to do what is best for the children.

Story time with the children at bedtime last night was a hit! The kids are so appreciative of anything we do for them.  And all of the staff here are amazing as well–I love that meetings typically start with singing, devotions, and prayer!

Next it’s off to family fun time…

 

We made it to Bo!

After and early breakfast at the Lungi Airport Hotel, we made our way by bus to Bo! I wanted to post a picture of the mass of excited beautiful children that crowded around the bus as we stopped at the gate to get our temperatures checked prior to entering the CRC compound, but the internet is not working well enough for me to be able to do that.  But what a wonderful welcome that was!  After we got settled in to the MTC took a tour of the campus.  I got to witness the loving reunions between the staff  and the members of our team who have been here before.  The caring they have for each other certainly spans the time and distance that has been between them! We then attended a celebration with the staff of the Children’s Rescue Center and Mercy Hospital to mark the end of the ebola epidemic.  The staff here really pulled together during that time, and the hospital never closed its doors.

Some time was spent getting everything set up for Dr. Carol’s presentation tomorrow to teach doctors and nurses here how to screen for cervical cancer using acetic acid (vinegar).  The hope is then that they can use this technique to know when to treat precancerous cells before they have the chance to turn into something more serious.  She will start screening patients tomorrow afternoon–I hear that we will be very busy.

After a scrumptious dinner prepared by Fudia, we attended vespers with the children who reside at the CRC.  They are full of  much joy when they sing that it fills my heart! They are some of the most loving children I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and their Aunties are wonderful too!

It was a full day. I am tired. But I can’t wait for tomorrow to see what God has in store for this team.

Leaving Tomorrow!

The October team is leaving tomorrow to head to Bo! It is my understanding that this will be the first medical team to go to Bo in quite some time, and I am feeling blessed to be a part of it.  While several in this group have made this trip before, there are a few of us for whom this is our first trip to Sierra Leone (myself included).

This group has been working hard planning projects (although I’ve been warned that plans often change quickly once teams arrive in Bo), treating clothes with permethrin, packing supply trunks, as well as packing our own luggage.    I hope and pray that God is able to use us to do His will in serving the people of Bo at Mercy Hospital and the CRC!

There will be more to follow after we actually arrive in Sierra Leone!

We’re here, we’re fine, and the kids are wonderful

After a 3-hour delay sitting on the tarmac at Dulles waiting for thunderstorms to clear, we finally took off and were grateful that we had originally had a long layover in Brussels, meaning we didn’t miss the flight that would take us to the children since it’s not like flights to Freetown are all that frequent. We may have been on the wrong side of the chocolate in the Brussels airport, but we were grateful our flight was on time, and we had an easy time getting through Lungi airport to our bus.

After a long ride to Bo in a lot of scary darkness, we finally made it to the CRC and unpacked. The next morning is what made the trip worthwhile: we got to meet the children. For those of us who have been here in the past, it was a reunion with some children we remembered from years ago. And in many cases, those children are now grown and are working at the CRC. There are also many new children who greeted us with the biggest smiles and warmest hearts. This is by far the best part of the trip, getting to know the children and reuniting with those we remember from years ago.

Since we’ve been here two full days now, we’ve been working closely with our assigned classes, enjoying Fudia’s wonderful West African food (including fish with the heads still attached), getting to know the Aunties who care so deeply about the children, and participating in as many of the children’s activities as we can. Every day, we look for God and discuss where we saw Him working. At the Child Rescue Centre, this is not a hard thing to do.