Long drives on scary roads
| Sep 24, 2012
We drove 7 hours to Mbingo this morning and afternoon. Through the city and into the country on narrow 2-lane roads most of the way, people driving in both lanes in both directions, lots of motorcycles with no helmets, buses and cars overflowing with passengers - very chaotic. Security stops every so often and a lot of markets along the road where people stop traffic and sell fruit, just trying to survive. Through banana plantations and papaya and pineapple orchards up into the mountains. The roads were pretty dangerous- my son Luke would not have enjoyed this.
Finally got to Mbingo and the hospital. Beautiful surroundings in this isolated area. Steep green mountains with waterfalls surrounding the hospital, eucalyptus forests, cloud-covered peaks. Nice and cool - actually cooler than back home! Mbingo was founded as a leprosy hospital in 1952 by North American Baptist Missionaries -hence it's isolation. The hospital is actually quite amazing - 4 surgery "theaters", 5 wards for patients, training programs for internists (CIMS - Christian Internal Medicine Specialist program), surgeons (PAACS - Pan-African Assoc of Christian Surgeons), CRNA's, and other support staff.
The patients stay in group wards without any walls or dividers and must have a caregiver stay with them to provide food and care to get admitted. The care givers sleep outside on the ground--true dedication.
People travel from far away to get here, which is very difficult due to the isolation, because the medical care is too costly in the city. One of the wards is called the "ulcer ward" because it used to be for the lepers, who developed neuropathic ulcers from the leprosy bacillus invading their nerves. It's for diabetics now because leprosy is rare. HIV is not. 80% of the medical patients have it, and TB is common too.
God will protect us. We are covered by the blood of Christ. Desperate need is everywhere here, where suffering is great.