And so it begins . . .

After another short meeting with Steve (the hospital administrator) this morning, we broke into teams to start collecting the information we need.  Curtis and Mitch went to walk the site with the maintenance guys, Mark and Kaylin did some of that too, and then measured the building exteriors (I think Kevin was involved in that too) and Ian and I were dispatched to the OR block to measure out the existing building.  After almost walking in to a surgery in progress . . . or perhaps just recovering . . . we found an alternate entrance and started the process.  Partway through, we pressed Dr. Chris into service . . . as we asked him about measuring out the actual operating rooms, he figured we really shouldn’t be in there unscrubbed, so he measured them out for us.  (Suddenly our measurements changed from metric to inches . . . and we used the 12 inch tiles on the floor to rough measure some of the areas . . . ).  Now the work table is set up back here in the guest house, and the guys are hard at work, while I’m spending a bit of time updating you before lunch . . .

Today is a public holiday in Niger, because it is election day.  That made it easier to get our measuring done without throngs of people around and with the OR only in use for emergencies.  We were told yesterday that Galmi treats 200-300 outpatients each day . . . I can only imagine what the place will be like tomorrow.

Yesterday was pretty neat.  We divided up between two different Hausa churches in the morning.  There was lots of singing (I even managed to sing along a bit using the Hausa hymnbook).  There was congregational singing, and the little kids sang for us, and the big kids sang for us, and a special music group sang for us one of the songs we had sung during congregational singing, and the choir sang for us, and the women’s group sang . . . I recorded a bit of it, but the internet is way too slow to upload anything like that (though hopefully I’ll be able to get some pictures posted at some point – we’ll see).  Our service was Hausa and French, but unfortunately, the French was really hard to hear – I caught bits and pieces, but definitely not enough to make sense of the sermon.  The women and the men sit on separate sides of the church (and the kids sit in the middle) so I got to overlook a sea of gorgeously tied head coverings in front of me.  My head covering tying skills definitely need some work!

We came home for lunch, and then toured the hospital facility with Steve.  It’s a big place with an even bigger vision.  It’s hard to imagine what they can all accomplish even in these (compared to North American standards) very outdated facilities.  There’s obstetrics, and the OR, and the surgery ward, and the outpatient area, and the CREM (which I still haven’t figured out what it stands for but has something to do with community eduction), and and and . . . we also got to see the construction progress on the building that the last eMi team designed . . . we don’t always get that privilege, so it was neat to see so much of it up.

I got to sneak away after the tour to join Carol, Steve’s wife, as she reads with a couple local kids.  They come over Sunday afternoons to read and to work on puzzles (that last one is a pretty foreign concept around here . . . but they’re catching on quick!).  Carol could use more French easy readers, but apparently they’re hard to find around here – especially ones where the illustrations aren’t all “little white kids”.  I’ve volunteered to look for printable booklets on the internet – so if anyone has a good link for French easy readers, please let me know!

In the evening, we had another church service, this time with the Galmi staff.  It was a short service, and due to jet lag I was fading fast . . . but it was so neat to be part of.  During the singing, we stopped for a bit to do “popcorn prayers” just naming the names of God.  What a great way to focus on who we serve!  Later in the service, they put up pictures of some of the patients currently in the hospital, and prayed for them by name.  There are so many sad stories . . . and a few very happy ones!  Pray for a baby that was born over the weekend . . . he’s not nursing well, and just isn’t doing so good . . . there’s others, of course, but that’s the one that tugged at my heart, especially because the mother has already lost several babies.

Then, after supper, our team started sharing testimonies.  Kevin and I were first, so I’m looking forward to the coming nights when I get to hear everyone else’s story . . .

This morning I woke up tired and a bit stuffed up.  I think it’s allergies rather than a cold or anything, but I’m hoping it doesn’t get any worse.  Pray that we all stay healthy and that we’re able to work through the jet lag to get done what we need to.

Lunch just arrived, so I’d better go see if I can help.  Thanks for praying . . . pray for the team as they try to make sense of all the different priorities and how to create a workable solution (that keeps the hospital running in the midst of construction!).  It’s a God-sized challenge . . . pray that they find a God-planned solution!


3 thoughts on “And so it begins . . .

  1. Nancy

    Hi Michele Thanks for sending the blog address. I am happy to read about your trip/adventures. I have your team prayer schedule on hand and look at it daily so I can remember what you are doing and what you have asked for in terms of prayers. It is nice now to have names (beyond Mitch) to pray for. Speaking of Mitch — please tell him I send my love and a Big Hug. Mum

  2. Jennifer

    Hi Michele:
    Just wanted you to know I am following your progress and am praying for you and the team.
    Stay healthy, my friend! Hugs,

  3. Tammy Upchurch

    Thanks, Michele, for giving us a window into Galmi. I found out about your blog from the bio that you and Kevin sent to the team. I know your days will be very busy the remainder of the trip. Thanks for what you’re doing! We’ll be praying for the team. Give Curtis a hug from his family!


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