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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Student Hopefuls

What a year we have had moving our family from Angola, to America. Now I'll be writing you all from Portland, Oregon, but a part of my heart stayed in Angola. Like we've stated before, a huge problem with the developing world is lack of education. Now that Angola is going on 11 years of peace, the schools are growing more reliable and available. It is John and my great passion to assist young people in getting through college.  Even though we cannot live there right now, doesn't mean we cannot help. And it doesn't mean you cannot help! We met many underprivileged, responsible young people that will not go to college unless we or someone else decides to give. John and I have personally committed to getting three students through four years of college. Perhaps that was ambitious, but I think the Lord will provide for us to continue taking students. The school year, in Angola, starts in January. So here are 9 students that are asking for our help. Each one wants to start college in January. If  you are interested you may contact me to support an individual student and see him or her through one year, or even all four years! Or you can just give to our scholarship fund and we will help as many as possible. 
Another wonderful feature of this scholarship fund is that we can communicate with our students. You may send e-mails that I will translate and pass on to them and visa-avers. We are very excited about the possibilities, yet a little nervous that we will be needing to choose certain student and not others. Anyway, that is in God's hands and we can only do out part. Thank you for reading and considering the following students. 
At the end you can read how to give!
(Note: High School in Angola is similar to Europe, in how they must specialize in high school, so when they say they completed a basic coarse in something, it would be like graduating from High School with that focused education)

1- José Domingos Pinto Catumbela
Age: 29 years old, single, born on 17 December 1985 He lives in Benguela, Angola, he was separated from his parents when he was one year old because his disabled father, living in rural Angola, can barley support him and his wife (who also works in the fields). So they decided to send their baby to live with family in the city, hoping that they can give him an education and more opportunity. Like many families that receive relatives children, they can only really get their own children through high school and hopefully college. So at this point, Jose, is dreaming of becoming a nurse. He has shown great resilience by getting through high school. We think he is a good candidate and will take his studies seriously. He understands how to overcome against the odds.  He had already completed a basic coarse in Biological and Physical Sciences and is hoping for help with tuition for the local nursing school.  

 Institute of Benguela Polytechnic budgeted at $ 3,750 for the first year.

2- Jovette Carlos Miguel Neto,
Age: 20 years old, single, born on 25 March 1994 
Jovette is one of 7 children, his mother died and his father can no longer work and receives a small stipend from the government to support Jovette and the 3 remaining siblings that live at home.  Jovette finished high school with a focus on nursing, his dream is to continue his studies in higher education in either medicine or physical therapy. He hopes to help people.  But being unemployed,and unable to come up with the mean of paying he has written us pursuing assistance for education. The school he would like to attend is $ 3,750 for the first year of his 4 years. 

3- Hercílio Domingos Cadivonga
(Notice we have three Cadivonga Children) 
Age: 25 years, Single, born on May 5, 1989, in Benguela, Angola. Currently u
nemployed. Concluded the regular high shcool education in the Informatics Institute in Benguela in 2009.  Hercilio is one of 8 living biological children of our wonderful pastor, who has a soft spot for abandoned children and young people, so they actually as of today have and  are rasing 19 children in their home. Only 4 of which are married and living in their own homes now. Imagine what it takes to simply feed a household like that!  Hercilio hopes to pursue a degree in computer engineering here in Angola and is budgeted at $ 3,750 for the first year of a four year degree. 

Age: 25 years old, married and has a 1-year-old daughter, her husband works as a police officer, and both of her parents have died. She currently stays at home with her daughter. In high school she specialized in physical-biological sciences and took a basic nursing course. She has always dreamed of going on for higher education, but for lack of finances it is not possible to do so, I wish to study nutrition at the Institue of Superior Education in Benguela, whose course is budgeted at 3.750USD for the first year of a four year degree.

5- Marcia Elizalete Manecas Cadivonga, (second Cadivonga!)

Age: 20 years old, single, born 17 of June 1994, Parents: Pastor Domingos Bernardo Cadivonga and Joan Belinha Paulino Manecas Cadivonga, born in Benguela, Angola, unemployed. Finished high school in 2014, in the course of technical computing in Benguela. Marcia hopes to pursue a higher education in computer engineering in Angola whose value is $ 3,750 Again she is a daughter of the Pastor with 8 children and nineteen dependants! I admire her father, because with 8 children, he could probably take good care of them and maybe send the boys to college, but as he and his wife continue to take in children off the streets or from deceased relatives or deceased church members, their financial situation has become very tight. What an amazing and faithful family that continue to live as Jesus called us to live and care for the orphans.    

 6-  Silveira Mitange,
Age: 34 years, Married and unemployed, serving the Lord's work as an evangelist. (traveling around Angola to teach at the churches) He has always wished that he could go to college and pursure a higher education in psychology, and can not. He is asking for support to study Psychology in Angola. His school also is asking for $3,750 USD for the first year of a four year education.

7- Manuel Armando Cadivonga
(the last Cadivonga on our list this year)
Age: 22 years old, single, born on January 29, 1992, He is unemployed. Finished high school in 2012 in the course of legal economics in the College Henrique de Benguela. Manuel would like to continue to continue his tudies outside the country, to study architecture.
It is budgeted at $3,750 USD for the first year.  His lack of financial conditions made school not possible, again because his parents who pastor a church are not only caring for their 8 children but another 11 kids as well.

8-Eremita Madalena Amélio Epuca,
Age: 18 years old, unmarried, was born on April 4, 1996; She is unemployed. Graduated from high school with a focus in teaching in 2014. Ermita's parents do not have the financial capacity to continue her training. Her greatest longing is to have a Masters degree in Christian Theology in Angola. Valued at $ 3,750 for the first year. 

If you have any questions, you may comment on the bottom and I'll get back to you, or e-mail me directly at

If you would like to support our USA to Angola Scholarship Program or maybe a specific student, this is how you can:
Go to
Then go to Support INMED then to Support an INMED Participant 
 You will then choose to give on-line or by mail, at this point it is crutial to make the space labled:
Gift on Behalf of. . .(then you will mark either USA to Angola Scholarship Fund, or the name of your student/ Angola
for example: Manuel Armando Cadivonga/Angola

A huge thank you to INMED for continuing to handle the money for our cause, that way each donor can still receive a giving receipt for tax purposes. At this point John and I are not equipped to give receipts. 
In light of being totally transparent, INMED will need to take 5% of all donations as a policy for the organization to continue in ministries, which John and I will make up for the difference that the students need as well as the wiring fees. Again Thank you so much for your participation! I trust that the Lord will bless our efforts.

From Portland With Love,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Future of Angola

We only have one more month left in Angola. Our time here is coming to an emotional end, with exciting adventures to come. We will miss the beautiful relationships that we've made, and the amazing tropical climate with it's luxuriously underpopulated beaches. We will miss being used by God in such a tangible way. 

  We are excited about our new adventure ahead in Portland, Oregon. If you are wondering how missionaries just decide to go back to America and enter the rush of the working world with all of it's taxes and insurances, luncheons and golfing. We are wondering the same thing. What will it be like? I know this will sound arrogant, but here, we are important people that get things done when no one else can. We have means of changing lives, that others do not. We have the education that people here only hear about. (all of this by the Grace of God, not by our own powers)  In the U.S., we will blend in, and be regular Janes and Joes. Being a "light" to the world will be a little more challenging in some ways. I do fear settling back into the norms of life, with all of it's commercialism and keeping up with the Jones. You, my readers, know exactly what I'm talking about.
But one important thing that I've learned here is that being a missionary is not defined by having churches support you financially , or by being in another country in the name of Jesus. Being a missionary is depending on God for all your needs, for emotional stability, for the love and means to reach out to other people and love them like God Himself. Being a missionary means waking up in the morning and dedicating that day to the Lord, every encounter, every moment with our family, every frustrating endeavor. We will remain "missionaries" in Portland and encourage you to also be a missionary where you are. Go out and love somebody in the name of Jesus. It may be cheesy, but is that not what we are here for???
Here are some pictures from our latest cataract surgery outreach in Angola.

Cautery with Fire
Teaching Angolans
Making lasting friends

As we leave, we want to continue to help develop Angolan leaders. One major issue that we see with the developing world is a lack of education.  We know so many good young people with no means of higher education. In order to help them receive an education we have decided to start a scholarship fund. The Committee that will help choose our students has now been established. And our project leader is also the pastor of our local church. This year we have already sent three students to University. 

First is Paulo, he is enrolled in nursing school, and off to a good start. He is a regular member in our church, but when we met him, he was always just in the corner and kept to himself. We found out that his father has nearly nothing. Absolutely no means to send him to school, not to mention his 7 brothers and sisters! So ever since he was chosen for the scholarship, he seems so much more confident and outgoing. He is so proud that he has a promising future.
Next is Levi, one of our pastors 9 kids. He also had given up an an education for financial reasons, at least for the next few years. We chose him because he already had a clear vision of what he wants with his life. He would like to work in the oil industry, a promising field here in Angola.

Our final student for the year is Maria, I know her because her father is in our blind association. He was sharing one day about his stresses in life and that his wonderful daughter will not get to study because he has no means to pay for school. When I met her, I saw a capable young woman with a passion for psychology and a desire to study in the field. She started studying in February thanks to the scholarship fund.
All of our students are expected to keep good grades and will continue to receive the scholarship for 4 years, as that is how long the courses will take.

Philip is a student applying for the scholarship in the coming year. He suffered polio as a young child. Soon after his father left him and his mother and then his mother died. He has been "adopted" by the church leadership. Him and anther young man live on the church property. Because of the church leaders he is in school right now and nicely clothed and taken care of, but next year he would like to go to University. John and I have personally committed to get him through school. He works the sound board at our church and is always very respectful and faithful.
Lastly, I'll tell you about Cumi, a faithful leader in our church. He loves practicing his English with us, and is hoping to go to College next year. We have letters coming in now from students applying for the Scholarship. Exciting and intimidating. John and I will at least be able to have one student a year on our own. But if any of you out there are interested in joining us we will be putting 95 percent of the givings straight to the students and the other 5 will go to the Angolan leader of the project for his time and dedication to this scholarship. I will be posting pictures of hopeful recipients, so those giving can either choose a specific student to help, or just give to the whole scholarship.
One last important note, We are actually collecting old laptops for these students. If any of you have working laptops sitting around your house gathering dust, please make a point of getting it to Nebraska in the next two weeks. John will be able to take them back for these students. Amazingly enough, computers are a must in higher education, because books and resources are limited, the professors give out reading assignments on pin-drives. We have given two laptops and hope to collect many more! If you are at all interested, just e-mail and I will send you the address where we will be able to pick it up as John will be returning to Angola as he ties up loose ends with the hospital for the month of June.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you have been challenged.
With Love From Angola,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Transition time

Life is difficult for the majority of Angolans. If you live in the capital, Luanda, and have money or at least a job, you have a chance of having a “normal” life. But, if you live out in the distant provinces and are born blind, life will be difficult. It is with this knowledge that the case of 3 siblings who showed up at Boa Vista caught my attention.
Josemara (12), Fernando (9) and Juliana (6) live in Lunda Norte, a 20 hour bus ride to get to the Boa Vista Eye Clinic. Their mother brought them all the way to Benguela with the hope that something could be done for her children. She had already taken them to several doctors in the north, all of whom said that the kids needed a surgery but had no way to provide it. When somebody at her church suggested that they be taken to Boa Vista in Benguela, she began saving and borrowing money to pay for the bus ride. This is no small task for a mother of 3 blind children. Once she finally buys the bus tickets, she must pray and hope that when she gets there the doctor will see her children, and be able to do something about their condition and won’t charge a huge bribe to accomplish it. A major leap of faith. The reality of most health centers is they only work for those who have money. The poor are unable to pay enough bribes to receive the “free” government healthcare.
Our team at Boa Vista was able to see the three kids, schedule and perform their surgeries all on the same day. Yesterday, I performed cataract surgeries on one eye for each child. We started with the oldest child, hoping that if he didn’t have any trouble with the local anesthesia he could tell his brother and sister that it was okay. Then the second boy also managed to cooperate and laid still during his intraocular surgery using only local anesthesia. Imagine that! But the youngest, a 6-year-old, was quite difficult, but with the bribery of chocolate she was able to manage. Is there no end to what chocolate can do for a woman?



Today we saw them after the patches were taken off. The family is very happy, but you have to be sneaky to get photos of people smiling here. All three of the kids are now walking without any assistance! No longer totally blind and with good expectations of visual recovery over the next few weeks. I am very grateful that we have been able to be a part of helping so many people here in Angola over the last 2 and a half years, the Boa Vista Project has done over 6,000 individual cataract surgeries since my arrival in late 2011. It is stories like these that I will remember with fondness from our new home in Portland, Oregon.
For those who have not heard, our family will be leaving Angola in May of this year. I accepted a position at the Casey Eye Institute of Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. I will be an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and work in the cornea division (cornea transplants).
We feel like OHSU is the next chapter for the Clements family.  At times I was not sure what was happening in my life or for our future, but we prayed about our families future at every step of the way and felt confident of the steps we were taking. When mentors told me that moving to Angola was a bad idea and I was throwing away my career, I confidently told them that I didn’t see it that way and God had a plan for our lives. Before that when I did not match into a cornea fellowship (my dream since college), and wondered what was happening with my life, God opened the door for me to go to Harvard. Imagine that, Harvard inexplicably had an open spot when I thought the doors to cornea fellowships were closed. Who does that? God does.

I plan on using this new post not to escape the fight against preventable blindness around the world, but to amplify the resources available for the fight. The Casey Eye Institute has a history of international service and has leaders with a global vision. Somebody once told me prior to our move to Angola “John, in the fight against preventable blindness you don’t want to be a foot soldier, you want to be a general”, meaning don’t go to Angola, and dirty your hands living in another country. I replied that I think the best generals were once foot soldiers. Now I have first hand experience treating blindness in Africa. I have insight into the factors that keep places like Angola poor: the craziness and injustices, the cultural practices and beliefs, financial strains, politics and corruption--I have that experience. These will help me in the future develop more effective strategies for blindness prevention in the developing world.
 I could not be happier about the move, but it will be difficult. We will be leaving part of our heart here with the Angolan people. We appreciate your support over these last 2 and a half years. Lori and I both always have received wonderful responses from you, our readers, through prayer, financial support, and projects sending supplies over. Thank you so much for being apart of our journey.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Out with one Project in with the New

Remember Rita's house project? Well, this week Rita and her family finally moved into there new huge house! We are so happy and thankful to all of you that contributed.

This is Rita and all of her kids, plus her niece and her daughter that live with Rita. Her niece stays home with her kids while Rita is working. despite their demeanor they are all super happy. Something weird happens in this culture when a camera surfaces. All faces go stoic. Anyway, we are firm believers in empowering and not just giving things away. So we built Rita's house until it was in a position where she could finish it herself and feel the accomplishment. So our part was done a few months before, and she had it wired for electricity in the event that the community receives electricity from the city. And she also built her own bathroom on the side of the house. I guess that would be called an outhouse, but that gives Americans a negative idea, but here any bathroom is a luxury. So not only is she the owner of a beautiful new house, but she is also the one who saw the project through. Rita is so relieved to have something to pass on to her children that I can see a weight has been lifted from her heart.
Thanks again for all of you who helped.
This is Silva Mocili.
He is a husband and father of two girls, pictured is the oldest girl. The baby went with the mother (Mocili's wife) to the market to sell vegetables to support her newly blind husband. Mocili was a brick layer until three years ago when he went blind. (Non doctor writing today, I don't know why he is blind, but John did confirm that there was no hope as of yet.)

Mocili built his own house a few years ago and then started on a family store which would have been attached to the house, pictured below.
When he went blind the store project went on hold. Last week I was just out visiting blind association members when I came across his story. My heart leapt with joy to know that the lord put him across my path, and I've been given the means to finish this project! So far, the initial estimate to finish the store and make it nice! will only be $1,000. So we are already running with this one. In two weeks, I hope to be filling his little store with things to sell. And now his wife and new born baby do not have to spend the days trying carry vegetables around in the hot sun to sell. She will be able to stay at home with her husband and still make a living.
I still don't believe how this next story works out, but it is working. Pictured below is Jose Pedro.
He and his wife are both blind from a childhood case of the Measles. They run this store together. (His wife was out making store purchases during my visit.) Pedro and his wife received a government loan to build his store, and is paying it back. Normally his 9-year-old nephew helps with counting money, but when he is at school, Pedro's 5-year-old son (peaking over the counter) is his parents only seeing help.
I have no words to write, I'm inspired by this couple. May you also be inspired.
Thanks for reading, From Angola with Love,