It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 weeks since we arrived at Hopital Baptiste Biblique (HBB) in Tsiko. It has been a busy 2 weeks full of hard work, sadness, joy, fun and adventures. As I mentioned before, the purpose of our 3 weeks here is for us to experience nursing in Togo and become comfortable treating the common illnesses/injuries that we will see when the hospital in Mango opens. I have cared for patients with malaria, typhoid fever, leprosy, terminal cancer and amoebas and patients recovering from a variety of surgical procedures including hernia repairs, abscess drainage, and bowel resection. This is a far cry from the OB patients I am used to caring for! Though all of us have at least a couple years of nursing experience in the US, nursing care in Togo is very different and the available resources limited. Additionally, the language barrier between us and our patients makes everything more challenging (though many patients speak French, there are some who only speak a local dialect. And even if they do speak French, it is at least their 2nd language so imagine the 2 of us trying to communicate in a language that isn’t the first language for either of us)! My first couple of shifts were quite overwhelming as I learn to navigate this new system. But things are improving as I get to know the Togolese staff and learn from them how to care for these patients. I am extremely thankful for their willingness to take the time to teach me and share what they’ve learned after so many years serving at HBB.
In my off time I’ve had the chance to see more of the beauty of Togo as we’ve taken 2 different hikes. The first was to a huge waterfall located on the border of Ghana. The water was frigid but I still managed to swim out to the base of the falls. The second hike was to a smaller waterfall but our local guide is an artist who uses plants and rocks to obtain his paints. Along the hike he educated us on the native vegetation and showed us how he obtained the different color paints he uses. We also had the chance to see ABWE’s Blind Center where Togolese children with visual impairment are taught braille as well as life skills. And of course the staff also share the gospel with them.
In a week we will return to Mango and continue preparing for the opening of the hospital. February will be a time for team building and orientation, as well as completing all the finishing details to ensure we can safely and effectively care for patients.
Prayer and Praise:
-Several more staff members have arrived safely including our last nurse…our nursing team is now complete! However, we could definitely use more nurses (now and in the future). If you are interested in serving at the Hospital of Hope please contact me! Please be praying that the Lord will provide the staff we need.
-I have been asked to be the nursing supervisor alongside an experience Togolese nurse. Please pray that I will have wisdom as I develop schedules and learn Togolese work culture. And that I will be sensitive the needs of the nursing staff.
-Team unity- Our hospital team in Mango is made of up of Togolese (several different people groups), French, Canadians, a New Zealander and Americans. With so many different cultures it will be easy for the team to split into groups. Pray that this doesn’t happen and we will be able to work together as one team
-French study- Since my arrival in Togo I have been meeting regularly with a French tutor…so far it has been pretty informal since my schedule has been ever changing. I hope to begin structured training again in Mango. Please be praying that I will be able to learn French and be able to communicate effectively to my patients.
-Pray that we will be able to maximize the time we have left at HBB -Safety next week as we travel back to Mango.
-I still need approximately $500/month to be fully supported. Currently I am covering my support shortfall with my own savings.
It’s hard to believe I am finishing up 7 weeks in Togo already.
As always, thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!