Wed. 19 October 2016, 3:40 p.m. I just checked the Weather Channel on the internet and it says that the temperature here in Nkololo is 91’ (my office is 88’) and half of that, 45’ back in Prairie du Chien, WI where I came from a month ago. Of course there are many more differences, though maybe not so obvious, between PdC, WI and Nkololo than the weather. In any case I am back to work in St. Peter Parish and Songambele Hospital. I am grateful that I had an uneventful trip back. I spent a week on the road due to stops in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza to take care of some hospital business while I was in the area.
During my absence St. Peter parish was sufficiently taken care of by priests from neighboring parishes and occasional visiting priests. When I first arrived we had almost daily rains and travel was difficult but now there is little rain. Sunday, 16 Oct., I was finally able to get to our Center Church of Halawa, a village that was inaccessible by car for much of the past year due to serious wash outs that are hopefully being sufficiently repaired before heavy rains come. I had Sunday Mass plus 53 baptisms of children and infants. The planting season has begun so I had blessing of seeds. After a lunch of rice and beans I was able to get back in time for a Sun. afternoon meeting with one of our Small Christian Communities. Along with safari work I have had plenty of meetings so I really know that I am back home. As I write our doctors are performing a c/section on Nkwimba Mangu a lady who was just brought in not long ago on the back of a motorcycle from Halawa village where I just had Mass last Sunday. The stamina and ability to endure difficult circumstances seen in so many women is amazing, some of you might even say “awesome”! Motorcycles are now the most common “taxis” in villages and towns. So often a sick person has to be secured on the bike by a person sitting behind him or her. Not easy! Because of your help in building our hospital and especially the theater, Nkwimba and many others have been operated on right here instead of traveling on another bumpy pot holed 15 miles to the government hospital and then perhaps being told that they had to go on another 20 some miles to a private hospital. This actually happened all too often.
Now, the final stop is right here at Songambele Hospital. Hard to believe, but the dream has come true.
The first operation in our new Operating Suites Building took place on 1 June. Praise the Lord many more varied operations have taken place since by our own Dr. Kidando and Dr. Helena and for one week we had a team of Drs. and nurses from the 900 bed teaching hospital of Bugando, in Mwanza. The head of the Bugando is a member of our Songambele Board of Directors simplifying close cooperation to help us grow and expand.
As usual I have to budget the limited finances that we have available and make some hard decisions as to what we can and cannot afford to do this coming year. Our plans now include a digital x-ray machine that is being prepared for shipment from England. Our plan and hope was to have it flown into Mwanza airport 115 miles from here as we did with our shipment of operating instruments. Lo and behold, the boxed machine seems to be too high to get through the door on any airplane that flies into Mwanza. We will probably have to fly it into Kilimanjaro International Airport 300 miles from here and bring it by truck. Pray that the dilemma will be solved. Other plans are to fulfill a donor’s gift to build a chaplain’s house. I am delighted with that gift as I will have to place to move to when the time comes to dedicate more time to hospital work. We have also begun digging the foundations for a Mother Child Health Clinic. This is a necessary move as we move forward to being a fully developed hospital. Under construction right now is a special incinerator. Without a proper one a hospital can be closed by the government. I hope to send some pictures to go along with this news letter.
When I first began sending e-mail news notes my intention was to simply let all of you know what is going on in the parish and in our development work. It was not meant to be a business letter in which I mentioned financial needs. As is obvious now in my writings I have to mention the financial needs that we now have as we expand our hospital and try to offer services not available in our 300,000 some people catchment area. When it comes to operations, people will travel long distances to a good hospital. Help us be that hospital.
Check us at roadstolifetanzania.org and on Facebook and YouTube at The Songambele Hospital.
Love and prayers to all,