Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Purpose of this trip. "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."(Unknown)

As this awesome team of friends (from Washington, Colorado, and Idaho) head to a remote region of the Congo in April, we do so because .....

-over 5.2 million Congolese children receive no education

- 38% of children are chronically malnourished and stunted from severe malnutrition

- Malaria kills 400 children a day

-6 out of 10 children die before their 5th birthday

- There are over 5 million orphans in DRC today
Our hope is to establish an ongoing relationship with Samuteb United Methodist Church Hospital with the intent of helping them in their own revitalization of this very isolated outpost and it's neglected people. Samuteb is a referral clinic for about 45 community health workers who live in villages within a 60-mile radius. Supplies come from Lubumbashi, which is about 500 miles away. The trip takes 4-6 days in the dry season but can take up to 3 weeks or more during the wet season. (our team will fly in via missionary plane, landing in a dirt field near the village). There is no electricity. Water comes from about 12 miles away and the delivery system has deteriorated and provides only small sporadic flows. Although the situation appears overwhelming, our team has decided to focus on specific attainable and sustainable goals. We wish to be facilitators and educators while avoiding dependence.

~ The lack of infrastructure (water and electricity) will be addressed by Kurt who will then make recommendations to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which has indicated they want to help revitalize the facility. You can contribute to this effort of infrastructure renewal through any United Methodist Church, by donating to Advance # 00596A Samuteb Hospital .

~ The local Congolese physician, nurses, and community healthcare workers request training and equipment to be able to work more effectively. It is our intent to spend our mornings working one-on-one with the physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers to provide teaching as we see their patients. In the afternoons we will work with small groups at the hospital to teach the requested topics.

~ Samuteb performs about 170 deliveries each month. 10% of the babies and 4% of the mothers DIE! They want to learn how to prevent these deaths.

~ They are very concerned about the high death rate of children between ages 1 and 5. Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to one-third of all child deaths. . We will have discussions with the leadership in Kapanga about the potential of starting a nutritional program at Samuteb, making a fortified peanut supplement composed of local peanuts, powdered milk, sugar, and multivitamins. This has been demonstrated to be a very effective and inexpensive way to save the lives of malnourished children in other parts of Africa.

~ To go along with our teaching we hope to provide bags of essential tools to the staff and community healthcare workers. This will include a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, solar flashlight, tape measure, infant scale, scissor, hemostat, and splinter forceps.

But our main goal is to be with the people.
We will share their laughter and their tears.
They will share ours.
We will be among friends.

posted by jan kaiser, April 3, 2010

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