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Learning African Lessons Posted 9.12.2014

I’ve been back from Africa for a little over a week now.  Normal sleep patterns are showing hints of returning.  The exhaustion of a week of medical clinic is being replaced with a sense of calm and perspective.  It is amazing what some sleep and some rest can accomplish.  These are the days to look back at the clinic and learn some lessons.  To figure out what went right and what went wrong.  That process can be painful, but valuable.

 

I want to let God have His full work in me.  I want to listen to Him. Of course, there are logistical issues to rehash.  And medical ones too.  Like, what equipment should we have available next year to improve the quality of medical care we offer?  And, what can we do to promote continued access to medical care and pharmaceuticals year round in Bombo?    Those are the issues that must be addressed.  They are all “where do we go from here” questions.

 

And then there is the personal struggle we who went to Uganda face.  How will the sights, sounds, and smells of our time in Africa translate back into our life here?  We saw people struggling with physical issues that could be solved with better medical care.  We saw true joy in the midst of pain.  We experienced more dust and smoke than we have in a year.  Now what?  How does all that change our lives?

 

And then, how do we keep the focus on growing the church on both continents while raising the level of healthcare in Bombo?  It is a tough challenge.  This year, we did head up north to Gulu (five hours in our vans, the last three of which were spent dodging potholes) to provide some limited medical care for the children attending Mercy’s Village Primary School.  That was an eye-opening trip.  The bottom line was that the children up north were actually much healthier than the children of Bombo.  I would argue the rural setting and regular meals provided by the school promote better health.  It is the smoke and pollution of Bombo that breeds skin rashes and eye irritations and lung infections so common during the clinic.  With clean air and an even more rural setting, the children up north enjoyed better health, even though they were farther from regular medical care.

 

This morning I raise more questions than answers.  I obviously haven’t sored out all the lessons of the 2014 clinic.  But what I think I’m trying to say is this:  if we are going to keep doing this (and I have no doubt that we should) then I need help.  Logistical help.  You don’t have to go.  If you can administrate, I need you.  If you can plan, I need you.  We saw 5,739 patients in the week, with 7,844 doctor visits.  That doesn’t just happen.  And it can be overwhelming without proper planning.  Hours of it.  Want to use your spiritual gifts to change the world?  Here’s an opportunity, because the time to start planning for 2015 is….yesterday.

 


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