Although we have been using the new academic building and auditorium since the start of the school year last September, the official ribbon cutting was finally held at the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program here in Fayetteville. Congressman Mike McIntyre was present. He led the strong bipartisan support from our area to obtain $876,000 in legislative grants for construction and equipment. The remaining portion of the $2.5million was obtained from University fund-raising efforts. The two buildings are state of the art. The 7,000 ft2 medical lecture hall has a 165 seat amphitheater and four breakout rooms as well as a catering kitchen. The new human anatomy lab has stations for 13 tables (expandable to 17), lockers rooms with showers, storage space and my office. It is very advanced technologically with high-definition flat screens at each station, an area that can be used for lectures, ceiling mounted video cameras at my dissection station and so on.
I was pleased to be able to attend at all, given my screwy schedule and more honored to give the invocation for the dedication ceremony. It was a pleasure to be there for the culmination of 2 years of planning and work.
Trip to California: The annual Christian Medical & Dental Associations conference is being held at the Mt. Hermon Conference center in Santa Cruz California April 28 – May 1. Thursday, I gave the report on PAACS to the House of Representatives and am enjoying the conference and continuing education. The redwood forest is such a wonderfully beautiful setting and the speakers are excellent.
Bound for the Mercy Ship: Micky, Sean and I leave Wednesday for Sierra Leone and 13 weeks of service on the Africa Mercy. We will have three of the PAACS residents coming a week later and each of them will do three months of service on the ship – one month each on general surgery, anesthesia and maxillofacial surgery. One residents is from Kenya, one from Ethiopia and one from the DRC (Congo). We will maintain the full PAACS training program on the ship with conferences, didactic sessions and Bible studies. They will even get to take the PAACS annual exam the last Saturday in June – how lucky they are!
We were pleased to hear that the water restriction on the ship has eased. One blogger on the ship said they had turned off all the hot water to the showers during the shortage so people wouldn’t take too long of a shower. At that news, Micky wasn’t sure she was going! Sean, in nine-year old fashion, considered the lack of showers a true plus. I sure hope it is back on. I vote with Micky on this.
Sean has finished his standardized testing for the year (the first time that Micky was an authorized invigilator) and will continue his home-schooling on the ship. He has already been given permission to join the academy on the ship for the summer camp program and has, in the past, joined in on classes like language, computer and so on. He is eager to make new friends and loves living on the ship. He will be celebrating his tenth birthday on May 23 and is eager to celebrate the tradition of ringing the bell in the cafeteria and hearing everyone sing birthday greetings to him.
You will be relieved to know I squeaked by with a passing grade for my Master’s course. I will be taking one more course during the first 9 weeks on the Ship. I have really enjoyed the in-depth Bible study. Micky has planned ahead to keep busy too. She is gaining expertise in nail art and has all of her equipment and polish ready to bring some attention and caring to the long-term female crew on the ship. I can just see it now – “Push off the lifeboat!” “No, I might break a nail….”
Returning to the very serious, the Mercy Ship has a short video that gives you an overview of the need in Sierra Leone and it may give you a clue as to why the volunteers on the ship are there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf17tN9LD0g. Pray for us all, please.
Follow-up on Shipment to Impfondo: The saga continues. Joe Harvey, missionary physician to Impfondo, Republic of Congo writes, “Over a month has come and gone since our container was released from port, but still only 1/6th of the contents have made it to Impfondo. We still have 8 ½ tons of donated supplies and equipment sitting in our warehouse in Brazzaville (900 km to the South), with no way to get them here. (Thank God for the warehouse). For 2 months we have had 1 ton of medicines that we ordered from Europe (and paid for) back in September, sitting in a storeroom in Bangui (200 km to the North). (Thank God the medicines have made it thus far). No boats are coming to Impfondo, because the river is too low. The humanitarian flights that are supposed to bring our stuff for free have begun charging $2 a pound, or are alternately cancelled or too full. (Thank God a commercial airline has agreed to start bringing things a little at a time for 50 cents a pound, and 118 boxes arrived yesterday). Every day at the hospital, many times a day, people tell me “we are out of suture” or “we are out of bandages” or “we are about to run out of IV fluids.” We are also out of fuel and natural gas (which we use for refrigeration and cooking). I don’t know what to tell them except “they’re in Brazzaville” or “we bought some 8 months ago that hasn’t arrived yet.” I try not to get discouraged.” Pray for them, please.
Eager to get back to Africa and patient care,
Bruce for Micky and Sean