Since our latest post explaining our big change to all of you, it’s been quite a journey!
Josh has essentially been doing two jobs – on-boarding and training with LifeNet International and continuing our work at Shammah Health Center. We have been working together at the clinic every week, and each Thursday afternoon, Josh has been driving to Bujumbura for LifeNet training and I have been following behind on the bus every Friday evening to spend the weekend together and try and relax…although the relaxing part has proven difficult with all the things we have had to do and switching off our brains has been quite a challenge! The bus rides have made for quite an adventure but I find the two hour ride by myself has given me some much needed alone time as I put my ear phones in, listen to my music, and spend time with the Lord. I have looked forward to those times at the end of each week.
Last week we were able to attend a staff retreat with LifeNet International down south in Nyanza Lac, a village close to the Tanzanian border. It was a great time of learning and getting to know the Burundi LifeNet staff. It was also a special time of commissioning Josh as Uganda Country Director and Elin, the new Burundi Country Director. As a staff, we surrounded them in prayer and officially commissioned them out. We are so blessed to part of this organization!
We have been able to spend some precious time with our Shammah staff over this past month. We have tried to spend as many spare moments together as possible among the busyness and have had some good laughs and made some great memories! We were able to take them out to a nice restaurant for a special staff dinner and all enjoyed a good meal together!
There are a couple changes on the staff front! Our receptionist Grace is moving back to Uganda in mid-December for medical school. This is sad for Shammah as she has been an integral part of our success and a joy to work with! However, for Josh and I this is exciting as we will both be living in Kampala and have become such good friends! Grace is currently training the new replacement who will be volunteering with Shammah Health Center for a few months and then he will be training a new person to take over for him. His name is Patience and he is a bright, hard-working, kind young man and we are very happy to welcome him to our team!
We have been busy preparing our staff for our departure. They are doing an amazing job and the day to day operations of the clinic already run very smoothly without our presence. Dr. Zenon has become the new medical director and is doing a good job leading the team. Our accountant/financial manager, Jean de Dieu, is taking over many of Josh’s roles and we have been working hard to train him on pharmacy management, accounting for the clinic, and computer training. Thanks to the Segal Family Foundation, we have received a new laptop for Shammah Health Center which will be used for tracking finances, medications, e-mail, etc. This is a huge blessing for Shammah!
I have been providing our staff with extra medical teaching and making sure that all of the “behind-the-scenes” jobs are sorted out and taught so that things can continue to run smoothly without us around. It has been a lot of work but everyone is doing really well!
On the medical side of things, Shammah Health Center has been performing many successful dental extractions since we began providing that service. Patient numbers are still fluctuating but starting to increase again.
One of our patients, Jacqueline, who’s foot was so infected and eroded when she arrived that we thought she may need an amputation at some point, is now healed to the point where we can send her for a skin graft and her foot will be as good as new! This is due to the diligent and high quality wound care and dressing changes that our new nurses have been providing her. Shammah Health Center is going to help Jacqueline pay for the surgery as she will not be able to afford it otherwise.
The malnutrition project is continuing to grow. More seedlings have been planted, vegetables are growing, and more land is being farmed. Claude (a BYFC staff member) is very passionate about this program and is doing an amazing job setting it up! He is in-charge of the program and will continue to build it up as we leave.
As many of you know, Josh is planning to ride in the Tour du Burundi this upcoming January. His goal is to fundraise $8000 to put towards the malnutrition project at Shammah Health Center. Please consider supporting him in this as we believe that this program will impact the lives of many people in our community in such a tangible way. It will also allow farmers from surrounding areas to come and learn better agricultural practices to increase their yields and improve their health and the health of their families.
Last Friday, our last “official” day at Shammah, was one of the most stressful days we have experienced in a long time, getting everything ready for our departure. However, we got everything accomplished that we needed to, finished strong, and spent some time with our staff before we left for the month of December! When we return in January, I will spend a few more weeks at Shammah overseeing the operations, doing some more teaching, and finishing up all of the little things that need sorting.
Now we are ready for a much needed rest! Josh and I are really looking forward to “disconnecting from the world” for a bit and spending some time away just as husband and wife. We have lived communally for more than two years now! We have had very little time to spend just the two of us, so we are really looking forward to this down-time and directing the focus back on our marriage. We plan to adventure in Ethiopia and South Africa…it will be a great time to re-charge before entering a totally new and exciting phase of life!
Thank you so much for all of your encouraging responses to our news! It has really meant a lot to us and has kept us going through stressful times. We really appreciate all of your prayers and support for the work that God has called us to do, both in Burundi, and now in Uganda. We also want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Years! Stay tuned to the blog as we hope to announce the official launch of the Shammah Health Center website!