It's been awhile since we've done an update, so some of you may be wondering what we are doing!
We were able to take some much needed time off for a trip to Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. (January 19-February 2.) We had a great time catching up with our friends in both cities, spending time as a family, eating lots of yummy food, and visiting the beach.
Anna and the kids have stayed busy with school and welcoming lots of visitors. We are trying to stay diligent with school, in order to finish by the beginning of June. This month we welcomed a team of six visitors at the beginning of February, then two more a week later. We have many more coming the next few months. We love to have visitors, and their help is invaluable.
We had some surprise visitors yesterday. Some American missionaries were working to build a church in a jungle area. One of them became quite ill. The village they were in was only accessible by traveling five days, first in a canoe on the river, and then hiking through the jungle. They were able to get to a town, find a ride, and make it to the hospital yesterday evening. Stephen was able to treat the sick missionary, and they are ready to continue their journey tomorrow!
While on the way to the market the Saturday before last, Anna had an accident when an illegal motorcycle taxi pulled in front of her bicycle. Fortunately, she was going slowly, and was not seriously injured. Caleb was riding in a bike trailer, and stayed safe.
Stephen has been busy working with Dr. Laura Foudy, especially with Dr. Harvey traveling and the cholera outbreak in the area. Since June 2011, there have been 327 cases of cholera in the Republic of Congo, with a 2 1/2-5% mortality rate.
137 of these cases have been since the beginning of this year. In the Likouala region, there have been four deaths from cholera in 2012. Other regions have been hit harder than ours.
Stephen has attended planning meetings with the Director of the Department of Health and other government officials, as they work to educate people about health precautions, minimize the spread, and care for those who are infected. The government hospital has a building for medical isolation, and they are the primary center of treatment. Our hospital is the secondary center.
We've only had one case of cholera here at H.E.L.P. The patient was transferred to the government hospital to be put in isolation. There are currently several patients with suspected cholera, and we are awaiting their test results.
1. Continued prayers for health and safety.
2. Computer problems, again! The climate here is hard on all electronics, and our main computer is currently not working. Pray that Stephen will be able to figure out a way to get it working again.
3. Continued electricity problems. Right now we are also dangerously low on the diesel fuel needed to keep the generator and vehicles going. We also are running out of the propane gas for the refrigerators in the laboratory and pharmacy. Unless the river level rises significantly, boats will not be able to travel to Impfondo from Brazzaville with the fuel that we need.
As always, thank you for all of your continued prayers and support.