The trip here was unremarkable – just too long. Since I had to leave Tuesday at 6:00 AM from RDU, Micky and Sean drove me to a motel near the airport Monday night and the next morning, I caught the 4:30 shuttle to the airport. The layover in Addis was not a long time, but I made it comfortably and arrived a little ahead of time in Blantyre. We were met by health officials who asked each passenger whether they had traveled in West Africa in the previous three weeks and they glanced at the yellow fever certification. A visa was a mere formality and I was pleased that all my bags had arrived. The missionary surgeon, Ryan Hayton, was a little late, but that wasn’t a problem since I knew that Ed Bos, the founder and president of Worldwide Lab Improvement was coming in an hour later than I was. Ed was coming to install the PAACS module at the hospital and would eventually convince them to sign up for the entire software package for use in the rest of the hospital.
Ryan and I had a chance to talk before Ed came out the swinging doors pushing a large pile of boxes and trunks on a luggage trolley. He had no trouble getting the computer equipment through customs once he mentioned the hospital. It was good to see him again. The conversation carried on as we drove about 90 minutes out to Malamulo SDA Hospital near Makwasa, Malawi. The last portion of the drive is through the tea country and it was beautiful scenery.
Ryan and Sharlene (his lovely Australian-born wife) and their three active boys, aged 2, 4 and 6, greeted us with a nice meal and a lively evening until we crashed, desperate for a night’s sleep in a horizontal position.
Ed was able to go ahead with his plans to work with the IT person to install the server and computers, but the plans of Ryan and I went awry. During the first conference of the morning, word was received that the Malawi Medical Council was making a long-anticipated but totally surprise visit to the hospital – and they were there! Fortunately, Jamie Crounse (another native-born Michigander, Medical Director for the hospital and family practitioner) and Ryan were able to dust off their month-old presentation prepared for the COSECSA visit. After the presentation and a time of questions, the team split into three teams and each were led on a tour of the hospital, concentrating on a different part. Two of the inspectors were surgeons (who had been on the team for two days) and this was the first such inspection tour the team has ever done apparently. At 1:00 PM, they had a working lunch to consolidate their report and then they held a debriefing session with the Malamulo team. Some of their questions and recommendations left the team here shaking their heads in wonder, but most of them were reasonable suggestions and if followed, would improve the hospital considerably. It was rather ironic at times to hear suggestions that the team here knew were not being met at any hospital in the country. The hospital team expects to hear the final report from them sometime next week.
Seventh Day Adventists celebrate Saturday as their Sabbath. Ed Bos, Arega Fekadu (a 2012 PAACS graduate from Tenwek and now a faculty member here) and I were the guests of the hospital CEO, Jason Blanchard) for the Friday day meal and then we had a large group potluck for both lunch and supper on Saturday. We attended the early morning English-speaking service at the local church. We had some good conversations in the afternoon and the evening was a get-together of games and laughter.
Today, I will leave mid-day for the airport and fly to Nairobi via Addis Ababa. After a too-short night at the Methodist Guesthouse, I will drive with a team from the IMCK hospital in DRC to Tenwek Hospital. Thursday, I will go to Kijabe Hospital.
By report, Sean has truly enjoyed his first week of school. I hope that his enthusiasm continues.
Praise and Prayers:
- Pray for the approval of Malamulo from both the Malawi Medical Council and COSECSA.
- Praise for the traveling safety for me and protection for Sean and Micky while we are apart.
- Pray that I will be open, receptive and wise in all my interactions and meetings for PAACS at Tenwek and Kijabe.
- Please pray for the back spasm to go away – it is slightly better but still annoying.
- Praise that Jeri Steffes has returned home from Duke Medical Center and that the surgery went as well as could be expected. Please pray for her cure.
Yours, for the peoples of Africa,
Bruce for Micky and Sean