Today's post starts on a much better note than my previous. First off, the main compound generator which tripped off-line the night we arrived has been found to only be low on oil. With the addition of the oil the generator seems happy again. This is important to hospital operations because the doctors cannot not perform surgery without power. When the generator tripped they were performing surgeries but fortunately had just finished one and were only about to start the second so no patient was endangered. For us PCC volunteers it means we can continue two important luxuries. Lights at night and showers.
Surgeries are being done here every day so that is an encouragement for us to see. We have had a good chance to interact with both Dr. Rossi Shamir and Dr. Gai Abraham the surgeons. We toured the hospital complex with them and last night Shirlene assisted in a surgery. Despite the rugged conditions here medical care is being accomplished. Shirlene had a lengthy interview with Dr. Rossi and I am sure will report his thoughts to the PCC board later. Dr. Rossi is leaving today and we will miss him badly. A hospital team meeting occurred last night in which I believe they discussed his thoughts on how they could improve.
The second bit of good news is that Thom's suitcase has been found in Juba and the other remaining missing parts for the solar system can be found locally.
In Werkok, when you see a bull tied up in the compound it is not good news for the bull. Todays big event was the dedication of the newly constructed women's and children's ward and the preparations began the night before. The Sudanese here have their own ways to slaughter and butcher such things which is admirable given that is must be done on the ground. I was too tired to attend but I understand from those that did that the deed was done with quickly and efficiently. There is no refrigeration here so it must be prepared immediately. This task fell to the women in the area, assembled in our compound who proceeded to work through the night, on the ground, rainstorm not withstanding. The meal was ready by 6AM and guests began to arrive around 10AM.
We were advised that the schedule would run on Africa time which meant that no one really knows when it would start and when it would end. At around 2PM a delegation from Samaritans Purse arrived with some local dignitaries on tow. Sufficient important people present the speeches began including one by my father Dave (pictured). Things wrapped up and the meal consisted of the customary rice and beans but with the with the addition of the meat. The first meat we have eaten since we arrived, very tasty. After an hour or so the Samaritans Purse delegation departed and life returned to normal. I would estimate around 100 people attended and enjoyed the meal afterwards.
As stated previously there was a rainstorm last night. This caused excitement first of all because we were sleeping outdoors and needed to move quickly. There are scorpions here and I had already seen one on the porch of the dining hall and been warned by Dr. Rossi that the species was a particular nasty one and to be avoided. So when I saw a creature on the interior of my sleeping tent the words of the Dr. caused some panic on my part and a rather ungracious exit from my bedding twisting my knee in the process. The Dr. and my father sleeping near came to my assistance only to discover the creature to be a praying mantis, which in the dark looked and moved like a scorpion.
Thom Day needs to get the backhoe operational, one reason being that new latrines are sorely needed here. There were two issues, first it would not start and second a large colony of honey bees taken up residence in it. New batteries and some cycling of the starter solenoid got the engine started and we managed to get it backed out of storage with only four bee stings between us. Now we will have to figure out how to deal with the bees. We sealed the apparent holes to their nest and will wait for the result in the morning.
Work on the solar system, my main objective, is progressing. The land for the solar array got cleared and some obstructions moved in the power house. I also fixed new connectors on many of the panels which had been removed, a rather tedious but necessary job.
There is a battery power supply in the hospital which is used for lighting when the generator is not running. This system failed last month and the reason is that one of the large solar batteries has failed. The system was heavily used and its repair a top priority for Deng. The container just shipped has eight new batteries in it but since it will not be here for many months I was planning to use these batteries in the new solar system until it does. So for lack of batteries, power when the generator is off is going to be limited here.
As mentioned previously Shirlene assisted in two surgeries last night, hernia on a female and appendectomy on a male. Surgeries are done here at night since that is when the generator runs. I heard from Dr. Rossi this morning that Shirlene was a big help and he requested me to ask her to attend the remaining surgeries with Dr. Gai Abraham since he is now alone and could use the help.
Praises -The heat seems more manageable, hopefully we are acclimating. -The generator is running -The backhoe is operational -Everyones health and spirits continue to hold.
Concerns -The airstrip is not use able and must be cleared. -Bees in the backhoe -Hawks that are swooping up the juvenile chickens here. -The loss of one of our two doctors. Paul Bixel