The sun is shining brightly this Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. 11 March. I find it hard to believe that three months have passed since I wrote (quote) “Hello this Friday afternoon, 02 Dec. 2016 from a soggy St. Peter Parish in Nkololo. My intentions at that time were to write a short note monthly and attach pictures that would show our activities. I failed the writing part but I do have a lot of pictures and will send them to cousin Mary Ruedinger Shellander via my Samsung Galaxy. Right now I am off to check on a new building. The workers are welding purloins to the steel trusses they put up last evening and this morning. Will continue this letter tomorrow, Sunday, as I have Mass right here at the parish. I love not having to drive on muddy roads.
(6 days later) Sunday was a busy day as well as the days that followed. So here it is Friday, March 17, 2017 St. Patrick’s day. He will be remembered this afternoon at Bubale outstation where I will have Stations of the Cross and Mass.
We had lots of inspectors, evaluators and other health related people visit our Health Center this week. Nine in one group, two and three in other groups. Happy to say one group came with two booklets/reports from a very thorough evaluation they did several months ago and we got good marks. We thank God and all of you for your help. We are very pleased to get good reports along with suggestions on how to improve our health care. As you know we are working on a very limited budget. We spend as frugally as possible yet we have to come up with top notch buildings and equipment. There is no room for error when dealing with people’s lives. We have to aim high and will continue to do so.
We have finished building our Mother Child Health Clinic (Now known as Reproductive Child Health) and put in the furnishings. We have a good refrigerator and it is stocked with vaccines from the Ministry of Health. We are now open for clients Mon. to Fri. We have spread the word and people are coming in.
I will also have pictures of our CTC (Clinical Testing Center). Workers put the roof on yesterday, now we are preparing the structure for the ceilings in the rooms. This is the first time that we have gotten this far along in 6 weeks on a 53’x35’ building with various rooms and running water toilets. We are in a hurry because we have an Italian Doctor living here most of every week and he is ready to begin a Test and Treat Program for HIV AIDS. There are new approaches and new medicines now being used that will save thousands of lives. We will be in the front line on AIDS treatment here in our area. We have been registered by the Ministry of Health and have begun receiving the medicines. The program is sponsored by Doctors with Africa. Their home base is in Padua, Italy. They also have the acronym CUAMM. You can find them on the internet. One of their major sponsors is Gilead from Foster City, California. Anyone out there know or have connections with them. We have come a long ways but we still have so many needs that we can use all of the help we can get. Prayers and friends have gotten us this far. We have faith that they will help us reach our goal of being a fully equipped hospital as soon as possible. The needs are so great. I find it difficult not to move at a faster pace.
The fish farm is doing well. I have 2 pools with125 tilapia in each pool. It is amazing how quickly they have grown on their diet of corn flour, broken rice, garden greens and algae that grows in the water nourished by chicken manure. Some fish are 3 or more inches long already.
The chaplain’s house is moving along. We may be able to put the roof on next week sometime. We had to slow down on that in order to get the CTC building done as quickly as possible. There is also some urgency to finish the chaplain’s house as I have 15 guests coming from Wisconsin the end of May and I will need some extra rooms.
In 1994 we opened a small one room dispensary in Nkololo where the present parish of St. Peter’s is located. For 22 years we had to carry people by ambulance to a government or private hospital a long distance in order to have an operation. The majority of the patients were pregnant women in need of a c-section. In the last 3 months, January to March, 2017 we had 42 major operations, 26 of them c-sections, some of them being a matter of life and death. They would not have survived the trip to any hospital. Since 1 June 2016 we have had 191 major operations and numerous minor ones. Thanks to the help of hundreds of people many women and their babies are alive and getting well. One of many dreams has come true. There are still so many more on hold!
Please check our website roadstolifetanzania.org and The Songambele Hospital on Facebook. I also have a personal Facebook page. Would love to get an email from you.
May you all have a blessed Lent, Fr. Paul
8/9 July - Spooner, Shell Lake and Sarona
15/16 July - Rhinelander and Pelican Lake
22/23 July - Waunakee
29/30 July - Bloomington, Patch Grove, Cassville and Glen Haven
The following parishes exchanged dates:
5/6 August - Lodi and Dane
12/13 August - Sun Prairie
19/20 August - PdC
Our immediate need is to build a new structure for our X-ray. Our Atomic Energy Commission just inspected our facility and told us we need to build a different building for our X-ray equipment even though we are well within standards. Tanzanian rules so we comply. This was unexpected. With this newsletter we send out a request for prayers and ask for your help in letting the news out that we now need to raise 45,000 to build our building. Please share our story with friends and any potential donors. As always Mary Ruedinger, Tom Shellander or I are very happy to provide details about this new project.