Sorry -- we know it has been a while since you have heard from us; but I promise....we have been very, very busy. In 5 days of clinics we have already treated well over 15,000 people. We still have Mabuyu to go and historically, it has always been a huge clinic. The people have been wonderful...very patient and just thankful to have a chance to see a doctor and receive medicine. We have exceeded our benevolence budget; but the Lord will provide. How can you say no to a 13-year old girl with club feet? Or a young boy with cerebral palsy? Or the young man whose knee and leg were so swollen, it made it almost impossible for him to walk. We have given out so many wheelchairs! It is wonderful to be able to provide these. And our new program where we are partnered with SightSavers has proved a big success. Already, 45 patients have had cataract surgery with more waiting in the wings. Ellie Hamby, Dr. Jeff McKinsey and I stopped by the hospital before we went back out into the bush to see the patients. We were told that the old women had been singing and dancing. They were so happy to see again. When we walked into the ladies' ward, one old lady smiled and in Tonga said, I see 1, 2, 3 macuas (white people). She was grinning from ear to ear...and so were we.
Thank you to all of you who make this possible. To those who contribute with money, for those who keep us lifted up in prayers, and to our families who make the sacrifice for us to come. I want to especially thank my husband, Bill, for supporting my "habit."
On another note, Ellie wanted me to tell you about our banking experience. We sent Davies Mulamfu into Kalomo the other day to get money for us before we headed into the bush. We needed 40,000,000 Kwacha (around $8,000). Our bank, Finance Bank, did not have enough money to give us. They had to go across the street to Barclay's Bank and borrow the money to pay us. Only in Africa! :-)
For all the folks at home - everyone is healthy and doing great! They are also working very hard and looking forward to a few days of R&R. They've earned it!
By for now! -- LaDonna