First of all happy new year!
Just two weeks back in Lubango and it has been a long time since my last blog and of course a few things happened in the meantime.
For example, I have been in the Netherlands for over 3 weeks and I really enjoyed to reconnect with my family and friends! It was also very nice to be in church again. Thank you so much for all the fun and conversations!!! I loved it! I was also able to attend a wedding of a Mercy Ships friend shortly before my visit to the Netherlands, this was a very nice reunion with another friend.
A week before I went on a trip to the Netherlands, we as a prevention team spent a few days in Kalukembe and Caconda. To provide information there about the prevention of fistula to health workers in the communities. We were here at the invitation of provincial midwifery representatives. It was very interesting to hear what they want to pay more attention to, namely the dosing of traditional medicines. Of these, sometimes too much is given, which means that the liver, for example, has a hard time eliminating and causes complications. We have already had a number of women in the hospital who had ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) because they had taken too much of a local medicine in the hope for cure. More and more is known about this in society and that is of course a good development!
One day I was walking through the city with some friends and it was very funny to hear from a passer-by, who later turned out to be one of our students, that I am not only seen as a nurse, but also as a teacher. She called me while passing: boa tarde professora :-) It was a teenager to whom we had taught in one of the secondary schools about the prevention of teenage pregnancy.
The Monday after my arrival I resumed visiting the patients in the "vila". I was welcomed again with many warm greetings! At the moment there are around 25 women, so it's a bit quieter. But in mid- January another surgeon will come to perform fistula operations for 2 weeks, so then it will be busy again. In the week before Christmas, we also celebrated Christmas with them, with which they also received a gift, namely a cloth full of food and soap.
I spent the 25th and 26th of December mainly with a friend from here and I was invited by other team members. It was a great time! Around New Year's Eve I have camped with a couple of other missionaries for a few days on a beach about a 7-hour drive away. The drive to it alone was beautiful, but the beach was incredibly beautiful and I felt very relaxed! The starry sky in the evening was maravilhoso and of course also the sunset! The preparations for these days were also not to be forgotten, because it went like an Angolan way, I think. I had to cut down bamboo (with help though ;-) to create some shade with this and with an old curtain and on the way we stopped to buy some charcoal from locals so that we could cook as well.
This somewhat quieter time also gave me the opportunity to look back at work here and to look ahead to the coming year. I realize that I actually did pretty well, especially observing and cooperating with my colleagues to get a good impression of the work. In the coming period I still have to keep thinking, what exactly is needed, and what do my colleagues and patients think is what is needed? And then of course respond to that! I am very happy when I look at how my colleagues do their work and what they have already achieved with this! We keep dreaming that maybe in five years the disease might have been banned here in Angola. Maybe a bit optimistic, but I think there is nothing wrong with that :-)
What I'm also looking forward to is showing the film about the life of Jesus in local languages. We are going to do this in pieces. This is possible through a nice application. A team has recently been here to ensure that this film also becomes available in another local language. One of my local colleagues has been involved in this and I am curious to see how this can help us get the message across more clearly.
To conclude, I would like to ask for prayer for my visa renewal process? That this may be a bit smooth..