We have spent the week at the 56th Annual Conference of the West African College of Surgery. Until Keir Thelander, the Program Director in Gabon and heir-apparent to my position, left for Gabon on Saturday morning, he and I shared a room in a two-star hotel. It was a bit expensive but they made it for it by the lack of amenities, the lack of service and poor food. But at least the air-conditioning worked and the internet worked intermittently, so we didn’t complain too loudly.
I will remember the conference itself best for the many renewals of friendship and the fact that after ten long years of negotiations, we have finally gotten some level of recognition from this august body. I went back through e-mails from ten years ago and it has been amazing to see who God has put in our way and how He did it. The most critical players in this WACS drama presently are all (I believe) solid believers and other men of God through the years have helped us at each critical step. Some (Bode and Mbonu) have worked 9 or 10 years on this. I only pray that PAACS graduates who are eligible will take full advantage of this new opportunity. Our next step is to receive the formal letter and then arrange an inspection tour of the two starting programs, Mbingo Baptist in Cameroon and Bongolo Hospital in Gabon.
In addition to the WACS meeting, I also attended a side-meeting of the local Pan-African Association of Surgery meeting. That group is an attempt to get the various colleges of surgery in Africa to work together.
The elections were held today in Niger. We are praying that the country will remain quiet and that the travel will be safe. We are heading back shortly after midnight Saturday night and I will very much be glad to get home Sunday evening.
My oldest daughter Michelle has received some serious attention about a movie script that she has written and that she hopes to direct. The local executive of a British film company is enthusiastic and a budget and a producer in the UK are being sought. This is still at the stage of great hoping with nothing yet signed, but it has encouraged her. My youngest daughter, Bethany, is also helping Michelle in her script analysis business. Michelle has also has enrolled Auggie (it may go without saying, indubitably the brightest, smartest and most charming grandchild ever) in a “Mommy and Me” swim class. He has cut one tooth and is cruising – and is recovered fully from his head injury for which we are very grateful. We hope to take a quick trip to California in March to celebrate the little tyke’s first birthday.