Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Random Saturday- Part 2

This guy his on his 3rd week of being in the hospital from a severe leg infection and a broken arm after a tree fell on his house while he was sleeping. 
4 days later he came to the hospital for help.
Our nurses are doing a great job on dressing changes on his leg wound, and he is now infection free.
This poor guy is 12 (weighs only 50 lbs) has sickle cell anemia.
He is here for a perforated gall bladder,
 and now he has bone infections and is severely malnourished. 
Here is another child with sickle cell anemia and persistent fevers.
Without basic tests like blood cultures its hard to know the source of the fevers.
We do a lot of waiting, ultrasounds to look for abscess, and praying.

This guy his completing treatment for a type of malnutrition called kwashiorkor.
This is where he gets enough calories but not enough protein. 
It's been a tough start for this 6 month old.
Mom has HIV and so does this little one.
She's here because she has a fungal infection in her mouth,
and now she is unable to eat very well.

This little girl is on the way to getting better. 
She came in with severe diarrhea and dehydration.
This guy came in shock from probable malaria and is getting better now.
This little girl is another example of how life is hard for kids here. 
4 months ago she drank lye, now has severe esophageal stricture (can't get food down) 
We put in a tube in her stomach to get her back up to her weight.
She will probably have the stomach tube for the rest of her life.

You can see why one is never bored here in  Impfondo.  Overwhelmed? Yes.  At wits end? Yes. Grateful for prayers from people all over the world for the work here? Absolutely.  Thanks again for praying, more pictures to come.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Random Saturday- Part 1

Here's another look at the struggles and random joys here in Impfondo.
This a 11 month old who has severe malaria in his brain.
He's alive by God's grace
and the fact that we are the only hospital in the region that provides extra oxygen.
He also benefited from 2 blood transfusions.

This young guy also has severe malaria
but also severely low blood counts complicating his care.

This elderly lady needs surgery for twisted bowels.
There is no surgeon here.
She is now trying to recover from our efforts at surgery.
This kid is happy, he was able to get blood for his anemia and malaria.
It took him 3 days just to get to the hospital.

This poor guy has a diarrhea bug and is very dehydrated. 
He also  has cerebral palsy from a neonatal infection. 
We're trying to keep the mom encouraged to give treatments and not give up hope.

Never mind the prints on the sheet,
this lady is here for abdominal pain but is happy to go home.

This guy is a muslim who wrecked when he hit a pig. 
He was heard to say "what the halal?!"
Actually he illustrates (a) trauma is a major issue in Congo and
(b) you have to make your own  stuff a lot here.  Notice the homemade c-collar
There are more pictures to come on yet another random saturday post.  Thanks for praying for us and giving to the work here.


Sunday, September 28, 2014


Stephen preached this Sunday. Before he started the sermon, he gave a public health announcement. The best way to avoid Ebola is to wash your hands, don't touch dead bodies, etc. He also told people that a false rumor is going around that eating raw sheep meat along with some instant coffee and milk will keep you from catching Ebola.  Don't try it!
 I bet this is different than what you heard in your church service!
Dried beans and vegetables for sale at the market.
With the border closed between the two Congos, it is more difficult to find meat.
Good thing we like beans and rice!

It takes a village to make frappachino for Stephen!
The five of us managed to do it together!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Biking out of town

If you go north from the hospital, you leave the main part of town.
The views are quite different.

Stephen and I have been trying to go together a couple of times a week.
We've even managed to do a little off-roading.
Biking in the jungle- that's a first!

Sometimes the paved road is rougher than off-roading!

Another off road trail

Where's the trail?
The trail seemed to disappear a few times into tall grass.
More of the "paved road" and local traffic
We passed through this village
Local fruit (or vegetable?)

Safou tree

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rainy Season

 With the coming of rainy season, we have had more storms.  It has been nice to have the cooler weather, but it makes transpiration more difficult.  Most people walk, bike or ride a motorcycle- not much protection from the rain!

Our front yard becomes swampy during the rainy season.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Around the Web- From Millie

Millie has written another heartfelt blog post about caring for people here in Impfondo: 

It is impossible to describe the intricacies and roots of a culture where death is such a common part of life, where
children are sometimes deemed not worth the financial cost and/or time of treatment by the parents and nurses alike, where families are accustomed to facing a decision to treat one child at the risk of taking away resources from the other children at home. I could live here a thousand years and perhaps not even scratch the surface, but with time, little by little, small glimpses of understanding are given to us. Insight begins to bud, judgement begins to fade away and humbleness sneaks in and grants you grace for a group of people that are forced to face decisions, make sacrifices and experience loss in a way so foreign and unique to us in the western world that we can't possibly understand. The ethical struggles here are so detailed and extensive and I am sure there are amazing books written about all of it explaining everything... But to experience it first hand and care about the people as unique individuals and friends, can often prove to be quite the challenge and perhaps not as clear cut as it would appear from an outside standpoint. The other day a small child passed away from severe malaria. In the hour before her death we did everything possible for her with the resources available. When her heart stopped we continued to fight for her life with CPR, meds and bagging. Normally at a regular government hospital here in Congo, unless the family paid up front for all treatment she would not even receive the basic care, much less a team of people giving her everything possible. While talking to the dad after and expressing my condolences he simply said (in French) "it is life in Africa, but you did all you could, you did so many things, thank you." In a time where after seeing this scenario time after time, day after day, week after week, and watching death after death, it is often too easy to get discouraged, wonder why we do any of it, question if ignorance really is better than this pain, this dad's statement really made an impression on me. Maybe we were not able to save this child's life, but in fighting for her, in caring, in doing all we could, a value was placed on her life and the father recognized that. I thought back to all the children that have passed away these last few months and I had a vision of them in heaven already, but watching us fight for their life, and realizing that just this in itself makes everything worth the fight. The value in playing a role to place meaning on someone's life is immeasurable.

Read the rest at Nurse Millie Goes to Africa

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Around the Web and a Quick Update

Saturday morning, Stephen was able to confirm that the samples from Bongandana tested negative for the strain of Ebola that is in the other outbreak.  They do not have an alternative diagnosis or results for the other  Ebola strains yet.

Our family will be staying here.  The idea was that we would go if the tests were positive- meaning the outbreak had spread- or we could not get a result in a reasonable amount of time.

According to “Relief Web,” who has been monitoring the situation, the outbreak is considered under control.  (

Our hope and prayer is that the outbreak will die out.  We will remain attentive to the changes in the situation, and we will keep the same triggers for evacuation.  Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement during this time.

We were shocked to learn this week about the murder of eight people on an Ebola education and prevention team in Guinea, including national workers with CAMA services from Hope Clinic.

It Will Cost Your Life: Testimony of Moise Mamy, one of the men killed, CMA church planter and evangelist in Guinea

Here are some other interesting articles about Ebola in Western Africa:

(It preys on family and caregivers.)