Greetings from Prairie du Chien, located on the banks of the Mississippi River and just north of the mouth of the Wisconsin River. I just ventured up the Wis. River yesterday, 01 August, for the first time this year. I love to fish there for catfish. After maneuvering around new sandbars and obstacles brought in by recent flooding I found some good fishing spots and ended up with 18 pounds of fish. The biggest one was 5 ½ pounds. Getting that one in the net was a work out. I love the beauty of the area as well as the quiet. I saw only one other boat while I was there. That doesn’t happen on the Mississippi.
For the second time in 53 years I did not come home alone. In 2001 I came home with my Administrator Stefano Mabula. This year I came with Sr. Anna Nchama of the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa who was invited by my good friend Fr. Gappa to celebrate her 25 years of profession as a Sister that took place in 2012. I also came with my faithful secretary/treasurer and assitant administrator Illuminata Mashalla. She has been a great help to me for 20 years now, can you imagine that!
Preparation for coming to the States is a daunting task especially getting a Visa. We prayed a lot and thanks be to God we succeeded. Coming to the States was what seemed an impossible dream for them. They have met a lot of people and have seen a lot already. We started in Chicago where cousin Bob Brutvan took us up 96 stories to the top of the John Hancock Building. Hard to believe. I have enough trouble designing one story buildings! Then on to Janesville, WI, Oregon, WI and finally to Prairie du Chien. Today they are in Brown Deer (Milwaukee) with cousin Jan who sends out these news notes. Her brother Bud Bailie took them there. They are going with me on all of my weekend church dates. They each read a short talk and then amaze everyone with a church song in Swahili followed by one in our local Sukuma language. The Sukuma songs are very different in their tones and melodies. They have stayed with welcoming folks in several places and have been happily pleased at the wonderful hospitality they have received. They also are delighted to see so many trees, flowers, good roads, a clean cities, big bridges and wide rivers. Of course I love them too.
I still have a lot of work to do before we leave on 19 Sept. The call of the rivers is very strong and tempting as well as visiting and relaxing but the challenge of building a hospital is so great that other things have to give way. We are moving along slowly on the hospital project until we find major funding. Still we do have the best laboratory in the Simiyu Region and Bariadi district and are well along in constructing what will be the biggest and best operating suites building in the area. We now have an excellent ultrasound machine and we are the first medical facility in the Region to install AfyaPro, a Health Professional computerized system that will follow a patient from the time they enter the Outpatient Dept./Inpatient Wards until they leave. We need much better control of our patient records, medical supplies and money. As a hospital it will be even more important. The other thrilling news is that the District Medical Officer said that we will be a Designated District Hospital, that is, we will receive help from the government such as personnel, salaries and some equipment. Of course we still have to build some major buildings first. We desperately need to finish the operating suites building, more wards ( we only have 33 beds), x-ray, and many staff houses. We can’t get personnel without staff housing!
I will try to keep you updated on our progress. Right now it is slow and I will need much more funding than I have been able to raise so far this year to get through the coming year. Any help or leads on possible funding agencies would be appreciated. We have so much going already and have saved so many lives that it is obvious that it is in God’s hands as it is more than could be expected of us little folks! We continue to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily and the prayer that Jesus said must be on the Divine Mercy Image “Jesus I Trust In You”