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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Need is Great.

This past weekend, we went on a trip to Lubango, a six hour drive to the mountains (more like hill country if you live in Colorado). We met with another Ophthalmologist who wants to take John on a village trips, where they are making lists of patients waiting for surgery. At this particular meeting, we learned of two specific villages with over 180 people waiting for surgery. Steve Collins was saying that he would like to go next week, but they are out of surgical material and post-op medications. Even in his Lubango clinic, he is using out of date madeications.
Supposedly, there is a shipment that is stuck in the "system" somewhere. It was expected last month, we have run into many troubles trying to send these kinds of materials. Since ther eare no meds at John's clinic either, they are only able to do durgery on people who can go purchase their own post-op medications, which is expensive. Therefore, only those with some money and resources get surgery at the moment. This is not an option for the villagers. They must wait.
We need your prayers! Please pray that the shipment arrive soon. We need this miracle.
Many of you have also asked what you can do. If anyone out there would like to take a trip to Angola, we welcome you! It would be quite helpful for someone to bring over medications and equipment in their luggage. That's right, I'm asking you. We are currently looking for American donations, when they come together, we will need someone to bring it for us.
Other things you can do is to send your old frames. The glasses deparment of the clinic is also lacking in resources. If any of you would be interested in collecting frames at your respective church, I will find a way for them to get over here when visitors come. Let's work together, to help restore sight to the Angolan people. Please respond to this message if you are interested in helping in any of these areas. May the Lord meet these needs by using us! His body!
 Roman is standing Grandparents!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lubango Visit

                                                Oliver enjoying swing at our base in Benguela.
The road to Lubango.
    These trees are called Baobab, very common, so are the stick Huts you see to the right. I was amazed at the presence of people all along the road. It seemed no matter how desolate they road, if we stopped we had a crowd of folks gathered around.
 This man was blind before our simple cataract surgery restored his sight, he is pointing with joy at his family members. He has just had the patch removed from his eye the day after his surgery. His wife was praising the Lord and singing with joy.
 O Cristo Rei statue depicts Jesus spreading his hands overlooking the city of Lubango.
 This view depicts the beauty and pain of Angola. This beautiful mountain overlook was used as an execution tool during the civil war. Rival soldiers would bring prisoners to the top of the overlook and tell them to run or be shot. People say you can still see human remains at the bottom of the cliff.
Serra da Leba, Lubango. Angola
The man on the left is Dr Jose Afonso de Moraes, he has been at Boa Vista for 10 years. He will be leaving for Brazil in January, I am his replacement. The man on the right is Dr Steve Collins. He is 74 yrs old and still going strong performing cataract surgeries in the Angolan Bush. He was here during the war and has not left. He gave up his Canadien citizenship and owns a house in Lubango, he plans to remain here the rest of his life.
We made a home visit to one of the pastors of a local church in Lubango. This tight, twisting, maze-like alley led to his humble home. It was a mud, block hut with a tin roof.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Culture Shock

 Fish Market

 These fish are drying out.
 Typical Angola Dish.
 Beautiful Church that we visited
It's my birthday! Thanks for the cake Geisa!

I am enjoying life in Angola; John is happy in the OR, and I'm figuring out how to run a household "Angola style". I went shopping at the fish market for the first time this week, and I can safely say that we won't be having fish for a couple of months, until I get over that experience. But then I'll have to go back. eek!
Then, there is the other market that they call the Plaza, where you pretty much can find all necessary items new or used. This is an outdoor experience with many people running individual booths. Let me talk you through this experience:
 As I parked the car, I had to be careful not to knock over the boys waiting for business, whether it be to guard our car, wash it, sell me bags to carry my produce, or carry my bags. About four of those boys will follow me throughout my shopping experience. Then I'll pass a shoe booth, then jeans, then hair beads, then a pig sty full of squealing wiper-snappers. They don't even bother to cage the chickens, they have embraced their roll here in the food chain. Then I go through my favorite part, but sadly very small part, the hand crafted items reflecting the artists African roots. (One must always be careful not to bump into a lady carrying twice her weight in merchandise on her head, or the baby on her back.) Now we come to the grain, in huge open bins, that if you want to buy any of that they just scoop it up with their bare hands into the bag. We have all kinds of fruit and vegetables, beans, dried fish (don't ask me how to cook that), laundry soap, music, furniture, cell phones. . . as long as your willing to elbow your way through the crowd, you can find it here.
I like the plaza, but I haven't gotten up the nerve to go with the boys, and probably won't. I have much more to tell, but will save it for another day. Someone go enjoy an air-conditioned grocery store for me.