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Dear family and friends,
Greetings from Music City, USA. We are on our annual leave here for the month of February, seeing our children and grandchildren; and seeing to business matters (e.g., getting a new CPA for our income tax and selling our 2003 Ford Escape that has been with our daughter for the past several years). She recently got a new car and has no place to keep our old one. Also, Rick got to have a repeat colonoscopy due to polyps found 3 years ago (yuck).
We have had great times with family, despite the fact that stomach flu has made its way through every member of our son’s family (all 4 boys, ranging from 2 to 8 years in age, Faryn, Jess, and Nonnie-Deb). Rick thought he had escaped it but finally did come down with it. L Jeanna and Ryan were able to avoid it. Some of the fun we’ve had with our grandkids includes-pottery painting, kite-flying, great games of hide and seek and tag at home and in the park, playing Twister-can’t remember the last time we had done that! Have been able to attend some school events and Caleb’s 8th birthday!
Work in Mbingo continues at a strong pace despite recent strikes in the country which inhibit public transportation and business activity on some days. During 2016, the hospital welcomed 87 visiting faculty who taught in the areas of internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, and their subspecialties, plus the related areas of pathology, radiology, psychiatry, ICU nursing, etc. That same year the faculty supervised twenty international residents for clinical rotations of four to six weeks each. These residents came from many different American and Canadian residency programs including the Mayo Clinic, Mt. Sinai Hospital (NYC), University of Colorado/Denver Children’s Hospital, University of Minnesota, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and University of Toronto.
In the pathology lab we processed and issued reports on over 5,000 specimens in 2016. This is an increase of approximately 20% over the volume of 2015. We have recently added a new staff member, Mr. Mainimo, Godlove, a laboratory scientist with masters in hematology. He helps Rick a great deal by screening the peripheral blood smears that he is asked to review and by doing initial counts on the bone marrow aspirates. Rick continues to meet with Mamoudu for Bible study, and leads a small group discussion on the weekly Bible study lesson with several CIMS residents. He also enjoys providing a twice weekly devotion for the pathology lab staff.
Update on Pathology Training- After finally getting approval for the visa for Dr. Mbanga to go to South Africa (came through in December) to start his residency program, the South African government changed its laws regarding visas for families of persons in training. It is a new decree that the families are not granted visas to reside in SA. Since this is a 4-year training program, it is not feasible, in our opinion, to send Dr. Mbanga away from his wife and children for that amount of time. We are now exploring a program in Kenya. If that doesn’t pan out, we will keep looking. There are several possibilities in Africa. We will update as things become more clarified. God has a plan. Pray that it becomes clear to us.
Debbie was able to travel to the farthest outreach clinic that her department covers, that is to the village of Akeh. The roads can be unpassable in the rainy season, but in December’s dry season they were better. Deb says, “It was good to see patients I had not seen in a year since we started the Akeh clinic.”
Thank you for your prayers and ongoing support!
In His Matchless Love,
Debbie and Rick