One of my all-time favorite movies is “The Nun’s Story” with the late Audrey Hepburn who was Sister Luke in the Belgium Congo.  As a young woman I could have fantasized about serving God as she did with her nursing skills and her kindness toward the people.

Jessie has given you a good description of our two days in Manyoni in the Diocese of the Rift Valley, that in itself is an amazing sight to see ~ the Great Rift Valley as it is known.  The journey was fun, interesting, inspiring but as always with heartbreak in the mix.  On our way into Manyony we passed a hospital.  We took a picture of the sign so we could remember only to find out that the sign was mispelled.  We asked our driver and our friend Joseph if we might visit the hospital on our return from Manyoni.  During the conference we met a nurse/midwife from the hospital and her husband who is the chaplain at the hospital.  He was very interested in the information that I shared about hospital ministry.  After lunch at the bishop’s home (he was wearing a cross that I had left last year with Canon Jonas which surprised me) he offered to drive us to the hospital.

I’ve hesitated to write about it ~ I needed to let it sink in and I am cautious about writing anything that would offend the diocese as they are quite proud of the  hospital and I was told last night that it is one of the better hospitals in the area.  The exterior looked as I suspected,  the buildings were solid and the grounds (dirt) were swept.  A few trees offered a modicum of shade where expectant mothers gathered to talk  and share their stories.  The doctors referred to them as “waiting ladies,” not “Ladies in Waiting.”  Some have to come so far from the villages that they come early so as not to have to wait until the last minute for that long trek.  If you will read:  “Half the Sky” you will see that women all over third world countries often walk days while in labor, deliver in the bush and sometimes die from infecitions, loss of blood and fistulas.  Once I was asked to walk to the labor room and I thought the doctor’s had lost their minds!  I believe that Jessie sent some photos of the interior ~ the scrub room, the OR, the wards.  There are no sheets on the beds; the women cover themselves with their own kangas and there are no husbands around for moral support.  They may be back in the village caring for their other children or working.  One woman had had a C-section and she was still flat on her back but someone was with her holding her wee and beautiful baby ~ever so tiny.

The operating room was far less equipped than the old field hospitals in Mash but the doctor who was giving us the tour said:  “We save lives” and I am sure they do.  It’s such a far cry from Moore Regional or Duke University Hospital.  I think we have said over and over that this is a very different world.  We see these things and instantly want to so something to improve life here.  At the moment I am still ruminating on the situation at the hospital, knowing we cannot take on every needy project in Africa but for some reason God has put us here and I have to believe that we have to carry out whatever our mission might be.  I’m looking for money, grants, anything, and I know these things go slowly but it may be the way I spend the rest of my days.  The people that we have met along the way are amazing.  Pray for Africa ~ pray for Tanzania.

I’ll try to write more when I am not feeling so emotional about the hospital.  We need a Sister Luke.

Asante sana for reading our blog and being with us in spirit.

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