You are probably curious how it is here in Angola. Many things have changed in the world since my last blog in April. Among other things, I am a year older :-) and was surprised by many nice messages from the Netherlands, thank you again for that! Friends and colleagues here also had made me a nice surprise, of which one was a beautiful cake and I have enjoyed this day a lot!
Unfortunately, Angola, like many other countries, is in lock. There are only occasional flights and those arriving in Luanda are not allowed to travel to other provinces. There have been about 2 months when I was more limited in work and living on the compound with several missionary families. In the meantime, life here in Lubango has returned to normal and I am also back in my own house. We take several preventative measures, such as wearing a mouth mask wherever we go in the city. Keep away from shops in the line, where the temperature is also measured and hand hygiene is applied. Unfortunately, this does not mean that Covid is not present, because there are about 700 positive cases known in and around the capital Luanda. Of which 30 people have died and about 200 have already completely recuperated.
In terms of work, there are also a number of changes, including that I have distanced myself from the prevention work, because the team is doing very well! It was an enrichment to work with them in the past year and to get to know my immediate colleagues and the ins and outs of the work. I keep in touch with them, because these nurses also work with the after care program, for counseling and health classes. Now I have more time for work in after care and I am also looking for a good way to fill in other hours. At the moment I have already had several ideas and conversations, with people within the SIM organization, but also within the hospital. More about this later.
Within the after care program we started giving culinary lessons a month ago. This with the aim to teach our patients group more variety in the meals, but also to make snacks that are often sold on the street. So that they can earn some money with that. This week we are happily "surprised" with a premature baby in the village near the hospital. This baby is the son of one of our former patients. We are very happy that she came in time for the caesarean section and that she is doing well so far, because the boy weighs only 1600 grams.
Since a couple of months there is a patient whom has been very open about her belief in God. She really is a testimony and I pray that she may be an encouragement to many other women. She has had this condition (fistula) since 2001 and has no husband or children. She has already visited many cities in search of cure. More or less lived in a hospital in another city for about 5 years in the hope that a doctor would have a solution there. All this without a family member ... I checked several times if I had understood the story correctly ... because it did touch me. Since she arrived here, she has almost always shown a smile, joy, peace and an inspiring faith. She had come to faith when she was 16, but she found that she actually really got to know God from the time she fell ill. Incredible… but at the same time not surprising, because this is what God gives you, if you put your trust in Him in all circumstances.
Although I have no certainty what life will look like here in the coming months, nor about a visit to the Netherlands, I still feel okay in this situation. Partly due to the fine network of local and international friends. Some very nice local friends recently said that they wanted to go to the Netherlands to tell my family that they will continue to take good care of me! How sweet!
Sometimes I really laugh at the way people show me a direction. For example at the woman who sells oranges you go to the right, with this oak tree you go left again. My photographic memory has improved a lot because of this! There are also quite a few rules in traffic… as usual, but unfortunately not always clearly marked with traffic signs. Which again puts my memory to the test. I am grateful that I am still able to borrow a car, currently a hospital car, which is normally for (temporary mission) doctors, but who cannot come because of the lock down. This is a huge help! Because in addition to my work, in recent months we have also regularly brought a food package to families who were unable to perform their work due to the lock down. Unemployment is unfortunately always visible, but this situation made me even more aware of it. An example of this; Recently, a young woman of about 25 came to the gate of my house to ask if I don't know anyone who has a job for her. This was the first time for me that someone came to the gate to ask for a job, people and children come regularly for food or ask for a 50 cent. I responded that I don't know anyone and when I entered my house I felt guilty because I hadn't even asked what kind of work she was looking for…
Another short story and then I finish: recently I went to a farm 4 hours away from here for a weekend (so in the middle of nowwhere). With four local friends, to celebrate, among other things, that the church was allowed to reopen there, after the lock down. It was a party, with social distancing and masks though ... it was nice to be here. The 4 friends have a ministry here since quite some time.