Greetings from Tanzania! But it isn’t for long, since we leave this afternoon for Egypt.
We left Fayetteville mid-day Sunday and arrived in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Monday evening. We broke our usual rule of not traveling at night in Africa and took a cab 45 minutes into Arusha. We were greeted by our host, Dr. Wendy Willmore and were eager to get some sleep!
We are here in Tanzania to visit a new PAACS program. Arusha PAACS is largely based at Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (ALMC). This is a relatively new hospital, opened December 2008 under the authority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. It was built to serve as a referral hospital for the North Central Diocese to bring competent and compassionate medical care and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the burgeoning city of Arusha and its surrounding countryside. With its older sister hospital, Selian Lutheran Hospital (SLH) which was the first mission hospital in this area, they are an important part of the medical care in the city.
The first day, we dragged our jet-lagged minds and bodies to a small national park nearby. Much smaller and more intimate than it’s more famous sister-sites, Arusha National Park is spread out upon the back of Mt. Meru, the second largest volcanic peak in the country. Kilimanjaro is the more famous but even Mt. Meru has some snow on its flanks. We had a pleasant time and were near the end of the day when we had two flat tires within two minutes (four holes in one and two in the other!) We had only one spare tire and limped down the horrible road to a point where a passing safari van loaned us a spare to get into town. That experience proved to be like the advice to eat one dead frog each morning – anything that came after that was pretty good by comparison!
Arusha is the home of the College of Surgery of East, Central and Southern Africa. Frank Madinda and Wendy Willmore, both co-Program Directors, arranged for a meeting with the administrative team of COSECSA. They are an amazing small organization like PAACS and right now there is only the CEO and a part-time administrator. Bruce had met Francis Kaikumba, the new CEO, in Zimbabwe and had promised to stop in and take him to lunch. Micky has been communicating with Judith Andrews, the administrative assistant, and they wanted to meet. We had a wonderful meeting with Francis (who is a fellow believer, originally from Sierra Leone but who had grown up in the UK). Arusha is the home of COSECSA but ironically Tanzania has not recognized COSECSA. The two residents at ALMC are the first two officially registered COSECSA residents in Tanzania, so all eyes are on this new program. We are excited about the possibility of working closely with COSECSA here in Tanzania. Bruce has been very impressed with how well the program is beginning and how much unanimity there is here. There are issues and problems to be solved as is expected, but it is a very promising start.
Praises and Prayers:
- Please pray for these two residents and this fledgling program. May they bring honor to Christ while they are under the close scrutiny of COSECSA.
- Please pray for traveling safety to, in and from Egypt.
Yours, for the people of Africa,
Bruce, Micky and Sean