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Dear family and friends,
DESPARATE TIMES, DESPARATE MEASURES
As most of you know we continue to be in a crisis situation here in Cameroon. We keep thinking that this will go away and it hasn’t. We are learning to live in it, and see what God is doing in it and through it. Let us share some amazing stories of how God has been at work.
- Many have lost loved ones during this time for one reason or the other. The problem has been getting the deceased body to the family burial ground in that person’s village. The roads are often blocked with trees and stones and not passable. Sometimes there are days or weeks of “no movement” declared. Here is a picture of a friend trying to get her deceased mother to the family burial ground about 2 hours away. A few went, risking their lives going by bike by very dangerous, bad roads. Our chaplain led all in prayer before they left and people were praying for them all along the way. (See photo below, left).
- In areas of conflict, persons and property are in danger, especially near roads. Houses can be looted or burned and people injured or killed. Some friends of ours live close to the road in an area where blockages occur. To cope with the situation, they store belongings in the bush. (See the photo above). They sometimes come to stay in our house during particularly dangerous days.
- On a lighter note we had an uninvited visitor in our house while we were gone. This little critter made himself at home and our workers couldn’t catch him. My hero, Rick, got him in no time and here is the proof.
In November-December we continued to work and have a much-reduced patient load. Rick was getting
pathology cases from many of the other CBC hospitals, so he kept busy. In my HIV clinic we have had to learn to be creative in getting drugs to our HIV patients. So
me have been able to get to the hospital by trekking through the bush for several kilometers, and some days vehicles do move. The government has also developed a system that each patient now has an ID card that will allow him to get drugs at any facility that is supplied in country. We are able to track the coming and going of several of our patients, but there are still many who we have not seen in many months that we have not been able to contact and not sure where they are. We celebrated Christmas with only 6 of us here. At times we’ve had almost 40!! But it was a sweet fellowship.
In January we were in Franklin, TN, with our two kids and 5 grandkids. We tried to make the best of the 3 weeks and 2 days we had there! We got to celebrate 3 birthdays and a belated Christmas. Poppie (Rick) played a lot of chase, some trampoline jumping, and board games. Nonnie (Debbie) did more calm activities like reading books, drawing, and building Legos. We got to see some long time friends and also Rick’s sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Lanny, drove from Abilene, TX, to visit us and treated us royally to a couple of nights in a condo nearby. We are looking forward to our next long furlough, December – March 2020, when we can see our Colorado family too!
Another thing that happened in January, for which Rick is very happy, is that the Lord provided a new telepathology system for the lab! With this, our staff scans the slides using a microscope with special camera and a computer with special software. Once scanned, we can send a link via email to any willing pathologist and they can view the case on their own computer. The virtual slide can be manipulated (move, change magnification, etc.) by the person viewing it. This makes it possible for cases to be read even when Rick is not present in Mbingo. We thank God for many fellow pathologists who are willing to read these slides voluntarily. See following photos of slide being scanned.
In February we have experienced a ‘shut down’, meaning no movement from region to region. In our area there are road blocks on both sides of the hospital, so there has been almost no movement except for walking wherever one could. This is supposed to be from Feb 4-14. Please pray for roads to be open for patients to be able to get the care they need and the hospital to recover financially. We are one of the few hospitals functioning well in our region in the midst of the crisis.
In His Matchless Love,
Rick & Debbie Bardin