The Team!

The Team!
Collin Miller, Dr. Lamarr Widmer, Dr. Ray Norman, Sarah Finney, Nate Kamban, Dena Steiner

Monday, January 23, 2012

Answered Prayer

Cereal and milk, for the first time this trip, greeted us this morning as we awoke to visit the World Vision center and PROPHETE center. A meeting was arranged to meet with Albertine, a woman receiving knee surgery Sarah had met on her last trip, to see how she was recovering. Meanwhile, Nate and Dena made their way to the PROPHETE center to see if she would be allowed to start research that day. A brief meeting made it clear that no, starting without the express permission of the doctor and director would not be possible. But, there is significant hope for tomorrow.

So, rather than spend the day at the prophete center, Dena and Nate joined the rest of the group to visit Albertine. After, of course, the taxi was pulled over for license and insurance verification by the police. Often, tourists will hire the cheapest (though uninsured) taxi driver for their vacation. When caught, the police man will ask for a bribe to let them pass. This supplementary income encourages their vigilance. Their low salary barely covers the cost of living.

Once we arrived, we saw that Albertine was in a secluded compound in a room with one other bed, a TV and a nightstand. Her upper thigh was surrounded by metal scaffolding holding screws and supports in place inside of her leg. She seemed to be in good spirits and welcomed our visit. The only thing that disturbed us was the movie airing on general TV in the background--monsters were emerging from the sand and killing people with blow darts. After bidding goodbye we returned home to lunch.

The first bite was very telling. Salty. We had noodles and meat and vegetable sauce, but all of those ingredients seemed secondary to the salt content. When the cook arrived, a quick explanation unveiled all: the cap on the salt container had fallen off when she was pouring it. The special eggrolls Nate bought to surprise us ended up being a God-send.

Speaking of God-send, several other miracles quickly followed the eggrolls: Collin confirmed recovery, and a phone call from the PROPHETE center announced the choice of the physical therapist in charge of Dena's research! The physical therapist was to visit that evening. The communications director was extremely apologetic for the unexpected bureaucracy.

The visit of the therapist was extremely encouraging. He told story after story of how he had implemented things like appointment times (in all the other centers, people come when they please and simply wait), private doctors (other places do not have private examination rooms), and research (a new concept to most here). All had been successful. Having trained in Maroc, he had been trained in a much more Western style and hoped to develop a sustainable humanitarian rehabilitation center free from corruption in the Cameroon. Here, often the highest paying customer is treated first and doctors give bogus prescriptions for physical therapy in hopes to get a cash 'thank you' from the therapist with increased business. His strong commitment to integrity, empowerment of the poor and sustainable medical care was refreshing. He is the first West African I have talked to that embraced, respected, and understood the concept behind 'informed consent'.

After several mosquito bites and amazing stories, dinner of fried plantains, quinoa, and meat sauce awaited. Devos and an overview of the next day finished off the day. Tomorrow will be early for Dena and Nate as they pray and head to the PROPHETE center by 8:00 to try to convince the doctor and director to consent to the research project. All the workers are ready--we just need the green light.


Praise: recovery of Collin, physical therapist for research, and beginning positive feedback from the PROPHETE center
petition: Permission from the PROPHETE center for research, safe travels (Mali and Burkina Faso Collaboratory Site teams), quick learning and cooperative children for research, fruitful processing of the trip

1 comment:

  1. Praising God for the good news, especially my grandson Collin's recovery! God continue to be close to all of you as you return.
    Millie Maust