This is a photo of the Dormitory and Agriculture Training Facility that we constructed in cooperation and partnership with a local organization called Bethesda. At the same time the construction was going on, our Agriculture Trainer was training some of their staff in Biblical agriculture. Their staff will continue on with 3 month training courses with new trainees. This photo was from the Opening Ceremony.
While attending and helping with the IMCI course Mercy Ships was conducting at the public hospital in Abomey, we stayed at our friend Daslin’s children home – they have some guest rooms. This is a photo of some of the children as we prepared to leave – many of the children were not there that day. I think the boys on the top of the Land Rover thought I was taking them to Cotonou with me.
Noelle is the girl in my arms and she had just ran up and jumped into my arms – she is a patient at the hospital in Abomey (4 hours from Cotonou) where we were conducting the IMCI training. She is there for poisoning from swallowing caustic substance and it has affected her esophagus and has a feeding tube. If you think of her, please pray for her and her family.
When we first arrived in February in Benin, our Advance Team shared that the proper way men greet each other is a head butt of sort – four time from side to side – after practising with my neighbor David, we later learn that it is not the common greeting. But at the IMCI graduation, I was asked to present one participant his certificate, so I attempted to do it right – as you see from the expressions, they thought it was a bit humorous.
IMCI – Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses – is a course created by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the request of the Benin government, we are facilitating two training course of IMCI. The first was earlier this month in Abomey – my friend Brittney came to facilitate and Debra and I joined her for the last couple days. Here in the photo, the participants are applying what they are learning.
The President of Benin, who is a Christian, has his own prayer team. He has been sending them to the ship twice a week to pray on board for us, the ministry and all that is happening in Benin. So on Sunday, we hosted them with their families on board the ship – I was a tour guide with a translator to French and then to Fon, the local language. In this photo, we are enjoying a meal together in the dining room.
KRB Update #2143 September 8, 2009
Plastic Surgery Screening – the below report was written by our Communications Department – I volunteered for the day to help with patient care and flow and now I am seeing those patients on board in our Hospital – plus many were at our optional Sunday morning service in the ward.
South African Surgeon Screens for Burns and Keloids
Dr. Tertius Venter, a plastic surgeon from South Africa, has volunteered with Mercy Ships since 2000. He will spend five weeks onboard the Africa Mercy serving the forgotten poor of Benin. Dr. Venter has already screened over 100 patients at the Mercy Ships Hospitality Center in Cotonou, and 94 were given appointments for an operation.
“There are many good candidates for surgery,” Dr. Venter said. “The challenge is making it work in the time frame.”
Many of the patients Dr. Venter sees are people who have been severely burned and have lost range of motion in their arms, hands, and legs. He will also remove keloid scars, which are hugely disfiguring and often painful, and reconstruct noses and other severely damaged areas of the body. In addition, he screens patients suffering from elephantiasis, a severe thickening of the legs and ankles.
Keith Brinkman, a 20-year volunteer with Mercy Ships, has seen the transformative effect of Dr. Venter’s surgeries. Keith remembers a patient whose hands were gnarled and non-functional from leprosy. Dr. Venter was able to restore enough motion to the man’s hand so that he could grasp a paintbrush. The man was able to become a painter, earn an income, and improve his life.
Dr. Tertius Venter will work onboard the Africa Mercy in Benin, healing patients and reconstructing areas destroyed by burns or disease.
Dr. Tertius Venter, a plastic surgeon from South Africa, hopes to heal Ganiyou from the effects of a severe electrical burn.