On 26 Dec. 2018 I “opened up the field”, that is, I got a new letter started. Today 09 Feb. 2019 I’m going to get another letter started. Indoors is not my favorite place but today I’m not going to trim bushes or work in the garden until evening. Our indoor temperature is 90’F. I was out this morning in a very hot sun and that is enough for awhile. I’m not sure but it seems that as the years go by I don’t have the tolerance of heat that I used to have. I never thought that it would do it but now I have a fan in my office and does the breeze ever feel good.
As many of you know cousin Mary Ruedinger Shellander somehow manages to get my email letters out to all of you and includes pictures if and when I finally manage to get them off into cyberspace and to Scottsdale. Along with husband Tom they do untold hours of work to keep our tax exempt corporation Roads to Life Tanzania, INC moving and growing. Please say a prayer for them and for others who are working behind the scenes to keep those of us in the front line “moving forward”.
I just stopped for a bit to go to church to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet that we pray at 3 p.m. every day. Then I took pictures that show the stage of construction that we are in on our volunteer/visitor building and the maternity ward. They may look alike at this stage of construction but they are quite different. The maternity ward is one of our most complicated and challenging buildings. We are very anxious to get it up and running as the need is there.
The maternity facilities are really more than a ward since the building includes an operating theater for caesarean sections as well as a large delivery room. We have followed government directives as much as possible and added a bit more in some areas. We expect it to be one of the best maternity facilities in the area. We will save many lives by having everything needed for maternity needs under one roof so that no time is lost when emergency deliveries come to us for immediate help. I will try to get a break down on the cost of the operating room equipment such as the anaethesia machine, operating table and overhead light, suction machines, diathermy etc. Perhaps there will be donors who can help us equip the OR. We only have enough funding for construction and some equipment at this time.
We have been having quite a few surgical operations especially c-sections. We have had 2 and even 3 in one day. So often c-sections are an emergency and frequently happen at night consequently we are in need of dependable electricity. Although our electrical supply has improved it is still not available all of the time. We have a backup generator that has put in some long hours, even days! Not a day goes by that the electricity doesn’t go off one or more times. Just this week during a night c-section the electricity went off, the generator started and shortly thereafter it developed a problem and stopped. For a time the doctor had a solar light and phone lights then the electricity came on. The generator was repaired just in time to start up when the electricity went back off. A day later a more serious problem shut the generator down. An electrical short burnt out wires in our starting motor. I consider it a miracle that an electrician from Bariadi who came to help us mentioned that he had seen a starter motor just like ours at a shop in Bariaid. Sure enough someone who had worked in the gold mines in Geita district had a second hand starter just like ours. The electricity continues to go off and thanks to a miracle our generator continues to go on. However we are growing and so must our generator.
The hospital has grown and our 10 Kv generator is old and not large enough for our growing needs. Every unit in our hospital is computerized. That means that our computer server must be up and running 24 hours a day. We do have a backup batteries but they cannot compensate for the many hours of outages that occur. We have an urgent need for a larger generator that can handle the present electrical load without being overloaded and straining to keep up as lights and equipment keep being turned on and off. Mary and Tom have available an email copy of a pro-forma invoice for a 45 Kv generator that they can provide for viewing. The generator is available and can be delivered to the hospital. The cost in Tanzania Shillings is 40,446,920/= The exchange rate is going at about Tshs 2300 to $1. That makes a dollar cost of the generator $17,594.00 I pray that someone or a group can get help with our electrical needs. We do have money but it is being used to complete our two major building projects with the exception of equipping the maternity OR. In our dreams and plans for the year we had hoped to put up at least 1 building with 12 private rooms but as of now it will have to wait. Some folks are surprised that people here ask for private rooms. The fact is that some people can afford them or have insurance to cover the cost. We are living in a different world than the one I lived in 58 years ago!
Break time: I need to get outside and do a little work now that it is cooling off some. I have the Center Mass here tomorrow. (We also have 3 other centers, Gasuma, Ng’wasinasi and Halawa – Fr. Mashaka went to Halawa) I will finish this sometime Sunday if all goes well!
Sunday afternoon: 10 February 2019.
We had a full church for our Nkololo Center Mass this morning. Then it really filled up when at least 300 children came romping in after the sermon. They had been in the parish hall as usual receiving instructions, singing, playing games etc. during the first part of Mass. Some are of catholic parents but so many just seem to show up. After Mass I quickly get to a shady spot so that I can shake hundreds of little hands. They are one of our Sunday miracles.
So much for now. It is time to join with one of the Small Christian Communities that are meeting here in Nkololo. Hopefully they are meeting in other outstations in the parish. In my next letter I will mention a gold rush that is changing the area about 3 or 4 miles from our Center of Gasuma. So far it has proved to be very productive. There are already 3 buying stations here in Nkololo where they do the melting, weighing and determine the percentage of gold in the nugget. Meanwhile we continue to pray for a God Rush.