2006-11-03 07:00 Friday Morning

Since Tuesday, our group has divided itself into two teams. The “home” team, consisting of Marshall, Judy, Arlene, Tara and I, has stayed at the hospital in Yetebon each day. The “mobile” team, consisting of everyone else, augmented by a young nurse named Abby (who went to the same college: UVa as Christine) who has been working at the hospital for several weeks already, and either Gary Ifft (the hospital administrator) or his wife Peggy, has gone out to remote clinics each day by bus. Right now, the plan is for the whole group to go out together on Saturday, to have a day off on Sunday, then to reconstitute the teams on Monday.

Last night at our debriefing, the home team reported several positive developments: (i) Dr. Tekle the medical director of the hospital is interested in hosting problem-specific in-services for nurses and physicians in the months ahead. Over time this could significantly improve the care at this jewel-of-a-hospital in rural Ethiopia. (ii) My heart failure patient was doing much better … many thanks to Dr. Tekle’s cross-coverage. (iii) The home team has started walking to-and-from the hospital. Weather has been perfect, the countryside beautiful, the people wonderfully warm and friendly.

The highlight of the day, however, had to be with the mobile team. Dr. Chris reported seeing some severely malnourished infants at the remote clinic site, this time taking place in a government-run clinic in the town of Bui. At his wit’s end, he and others were casting about for solutions. Gary Ifft mentioned that during a previous famine, use of a semi-liquid nutritional supplement developed at Project Mercy had saved many infants. With Sally Marsh’s enthusiastic help, and Marta’s blessings, several 5 kg bags of the ready-to-mix water arrived in the team’s hands for distribution. Undoubtedly this solution will save some more babies.

I am starting to understand what my son Tim sees about Africa. It is a beautiful land, where many things, some simple and some complex, can be done to improve the lot of the people, God willing. Please pray for this, and for our continued protection and good health – as has been hour prayers for you.