Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dentists and Digging

For the last month we have had the Gililland team here for dentistry, OB, and Pharmaceuticals. The top picture is some of the people who received some kind of treatment by the Carol, Harriott, and Toni; the dental team. This is not the entire group, but only a few. They were incredibly busy the entire time. They were also such a blessing to have here with their servant attitudes and willing to tackle anything they could get their pliers on. I am extremely thankful for the front tooth repair they made on me ( so is my wife ).

We have a work team right now to finish the warehouse and install the main electrical disconnects and services for the campus. We have a quantity of three 4" pvc conduits extended 420 ft. from the power building to the new third phase buildings. We will be running eight 000 wire in these conduits. The trenches, as you can see by the picture, is dug by hand through rock, clay and gravel with a little sand mixed in. This trench has taken four days so far and we are not finished yet. I was thinking that if we had a PowerTrac tractor with a backhoe, this job would have only taken one day. It is amazing how much time it takes to do things by hand. Between the masons, diggers, and concrete guys, we had over seventy malian workers on the job sight. I have been incredibly tired by the time I come home at night. Please pray for wisdom and strength for us as we deal with these guys and the contruction. Please pray for the construction contract as it is still in the process. It NEEDS to be signed. I will be working on the plumbing here soon and will be needing plumbers to help. Pray that God will provide in his time. Keep praying for our French also as it is coming slowly. Thanks for all your prayers.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Jeffrey's Birthday

Today is Jeffrey's 7th birthday. He is not use to sweating on his birthday. It is usually cold and snowing. Yes, this is his first birthday in Africa. As you can see, we have a mixture of American and African gifts. He wanted tacos for lunch and a chocolate cake. He got movies, a game, a book, and two African figurines. Thanks to everyone that emailed him a happy birthday and for the great gifts given to him. We thank God for giving him to us and we pray that God will protect and guide him. God bless.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Starting of the Third Phase

What an exciting week. At the end of last week we started on the third phase of the hospital buildings. We do not have a backhoe so we use Malian power. They use picks, shovels, and wheel borrows. The footers are being laid as I write and the columns are close behind. The exterior of the warehouse is almost finished. It is looking good.
We have a German doctor out here right now that invented Laproscopy without using air for pressurization. He uses a spiral hook that looks like a cork screw only a lot larger (about 3" in diameter) that is attached to the side of the OR table and inserted into the belly of the person. It is a wild contraption. The problem came when the baggage claim people handled their bags at the airport. They broke a major piece of the support bracket. Bob and I had to try to make a new bracket that holds the knuckle of an extension. Without a metal fabrication mill, this is a difficult piece to make. Between us, we came up with an idea and then modified it about 2,000 times before it was complete. I was not able to watch the first surgery that used the contraption because we had a power meltdown at our house I had to check on. I will find out tonight if the knuckle and shoulder brackets worked.
Have a wonderful blessed day.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Trip to Bamako, The Capital of Mali

Ed Bonvillain and I had the privilege of taking the Billings to Bamako to catch their flight back to the U.S. While we were in Bamako, we had some errands to run and also pick up a German doctor to bring back to Koutiala with us. Ed and I first and foremost had to buy medications for the hospital pharmacy. We went to different supply houses and bought what we needed ( with cash!). Everything is bought with cash here. We were carrying some serious cash with us and I was praying that we wouldn't be robbed. We then went shopping for food. Here in Koutiala, we can only get the necessities because we do not have a grocery store. Most of our food bought here is from the central market or small shops. So we bought all the goodies like ham, hamburger, chips, cheese, ketchup, cookies, etc. Next, we went looking for a refrigerator and a freezer. We walked into a store by the downtown masque and Ed found a TV that he was looking for. He haggled with the guy and ended up buying the TV. By now it was noon time prayer for the 98% Muslim population in Bamako. They took the TV outside and set it on the sidewalk while Ed went to go get the truck and I was to wait with it so that someone wouldn't steal it. Right after Ed left for the truck, the police started closing off the streets around the Masque and men started filing in laying down their prayer mats. I was quickly surrounded by hundreds of black Muslim men. I was not sure what to do, so I continued to wait for Ed. By this time, all the men were facing Mecca and starting their songs and chants. I was facing 90 degrees to their right but I was NOT going to face Mecca. With my sick sense of humor, I had a thought cross my mind to stand up and shout "You are all facing the wrong way. Mecca is 180 deg. behind you! Your prayers won't be answered!" but I didn't. All the prayers and chants lasted about an hour. I was praying pretty hard myself by this time. I could just imagine them looking for the little white boy that they needed for a sacrifice sitting helplessly by himself. The cool thing was that I was able to see and experience something that most people don't get to experience. It was definitely quite an eye opener. I made it out alive with a Muslim friend name Abraham. He came up to me after all this and we started talking in my limited french. He went and bought us some ice cold flower and fruit drink which tasted good since it was in the low 100's. All in all, it was cool but scary. I really felt sad for these men in that they are "doing religion" and not knowing the true God. Pray that God will show Himself to the Muslim people. He is moving here and it is exciting to watch and participate with Him.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sick Lady

Today, Bob and I were going over how and where we were going to install two exhaust fans for hot season when a scooter pulled up to the hospital doors with a driver and a lady as a passenger. This was strange that someone would drive right up to the doors. Then we noticed that the lady was slumped over the back of the driver. Bob and I ran up to the scooter and noticed blood running down the side of the scooter. Bob and the driver grabbed the lady and I opened the doors to the delivery room. She was bleeding badly. We got her on a delivery table and Saskia took over. The difficult part was she needed surgery and the husband was not there to give consent. The lady was not able to make the decision for the surgery without the husbands approval. They finally did surgery and she is alive as I am typing this. She would have surely died from blood loss alone if this hospital was not there to serve this woman. God be Praised. Thanks for all your prayers. The whole staff needs God's wisdom, so keep them in your prayers.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Riding and Playing

Today was a busy day. First off, David ( the man that had the skin graft) was at the hospital devotions this morning! We all just thanked God that He is healing David. Later, I was at the hospital trying to figure out how I was going to make shoulder brackets for the OR table. I would like them to be out of stainless steel because of being cleaner than malible iron. We have some stuff from the states that I could use but could only find one and not two of each item. I will have to go back to the drawing board. I also today, worked on installing the swamp coolers for the pharmacy and x-ray room. It was quite a day, so after work I rode a half hour down south of town to the cliffs. It was a good, cool, and mind clearing ride. I praise God for his creation that we get to enjoy. Here is a picture of my bike with the "road" behind it.
On Sunday, Ed Bonvillain had a soccer game out at Bethel Bible School. Here he is "riding the pines" with some of his teamates. His team, CPAM, won the game 3-0. He did really well. It is fun to watch him and his team play. We had three little Malian kids playing in the sand in front of us keeping us laughing. I hope you enjoy the pictures. God Bless and keep praying for us!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Pig Farm

While Joe and Mel Faust were here, a group of us from Koutiala went to this place out side of town called the Pig Farm. Story is told that a Lebanese man started a hog farm out in the bush by this cliff and watering hole. It is now abandoned as a farm and turned into a "state park". We went out there and took a look around and had a picnic supper. The place was really cool. The cliff that is shown is a waterfall in the rainy season and without water in the dry season. We had a lot of fun climbing on the rocks and walking around checking out the place. The Malian women are tending a garden at the base of the falls. This is a hand dug well that the ladies get water to water the garden. The topography in this area is amazing. We are blessed just to be able to enjoy a little bit of God's creation. We would love to take any of you out to show you this place so come on over and visit! God Bless.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

N'Torrosso Village

This week Joe Faust, Jordan Stull, Anco van Bergeijk and I had the opportunity to go to the village of N'Torrosso to work at a Clinic and Bible School. We all rode motorcycles and journeyed the more than 240 km down dirt, sand, and rock roads. In the picture of the river, there is a wood bridge that was used up until 2 years ago. They would cover the bridge with mud, sticks, and weeds to make a surface that even a truck could go over. The other picture is the new bridge with our motorycles on it. The health clinic that we went to had trouble with it's solar power system and also the SunFrost solar Fridge/freezer. Anco got the power system working after plugging in his laptop into the control panel and making some adjustments. Now, this is a clash in time zones. We have a village here without electric power and running water with Anco working on a computerized solar power system. The solar power gives them lighting and the ability to do ultra sounds on the pregnant ladies. What a real blessing. I was there to look at the SunFrost fridge. It has two 12 volt DC compressors that are powered by four solar panels and batteries. The fridge is for the medications that need refrigerated. Both compressors are bad and need replaced. Anco and I are thinking about changing it over to a 24 volt system to give it more flexibility in power fluctuations. The fridge is made in California but, I hope I can get parts in Bamako. While we were there, we went to the C&MA bible school. Classes are taught in the trade language Bambara. These men and women are the poor of the poor. When they graduate, they will make between 25 and 30 dollars a month to provide for an entire family. Check out the picture of the little girl with a baby on here back! An amazing feat for the age of this girl. The school itself is very poor. They grow all their own crops just to survive and have only a handful of working wells. The wells that work are 60 to 80 feet to the water level and the water is drawn up by a bucket and rope. That is a lot of work for the sixty students, profs, and families plus preparing all the food over fires. The bible school had a wind powered pump for the largest well but, it broke down over 20 years ago and they do not have the money to repair or replace it. To put in a new well with solar and or wind power would cost in the vicinity of 25,000 to 30,000 dollars. The pictures are from the bible school and these are the people that are attending it. This is also the accommodations they have to live it while there. It would be a blessing if some church or group would take this school on as a project and just pump some time and money into it for the sake of the gospel and better health. Let's keep praying together for these people and for the gospel of Christ reaching beyond cultural lines. God loves these people and is hard at work showing is love for them. I hope you have a blessed week and I will "blog" with you soon.