KRB Update #2159 October 08, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Programs in South Africa
Greetings from Kwa Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. As the Africa Mercy is in the drydock at the shipyard currently up on blocks, we do have some programs that are active here in South Africa. Those three programs are: Mental Health Training, Dental Care and the Eye Project. Here is a little more information on those:
Mental Health / Whole Person Ministry: Our team has been working with church leaders here in this province to offer training in Mental Health & Whole Person Ministry. As part of my role on the Advance Team, I researched and connected with possible partners for this training. I am grateful for Mxolisi Nyuswa, who is the director at the Kwa Zulu Regional Christian Council. Our team has offered four courses with them in Pietermaritzburg, Pongola, Eshowe and Mbazwana for a total of 96 participants. Their last training seminar is happening now and will continue till next week with the Thukela Amajuba Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC) which is led by Rev. Gugu Shelembe. We are really believing that this will help to make an impact in the Christian community and that they will share what they have learned with their churches and other leaders. Here is a quote from one of the participants Pastor Gumede: “God can heal psychologically, mentally and socially… but it will start with their heart. First they must change their mind before their spirit can be changed. Then they can accept Jesus. They must then apologize to their victims and ask for forgiveness, even if they are in jail for life.” He has found this training seminar extremely helpful for dealing with members of his congregation and the prisoners – especially in dealing with trauma and conflict.
Dental Care: In partnership with the Department of Health, a smaller version of our Dental team is going to rural clinics. They are offering training for some of their dentists in specific surgical skills (incision and drainage, removal of impacted teeth). The Dental team is doing dental procedures for up to 1,000 patients and some dental hygiene services. They are also going into the public schools and doing sessions on basic oral health with a goal of 5,000 students.
Eye Project: In partnership with the Mercy Ships Southern Africa office and the Fred Hollows Foundation, our Eye Team professionals are working in another province – the Eastern Cape. They will be in three locations – Port Elizabeth, Queenstown and Umthatha. Training will be provided both to surgeons, surgical nurses and the community eye care workers. We are hoping to assist to build sustainable capacity of the local eye care system. I enjoyed recently being able to visit them for a few days in September to see how things are progressing and to have a few meetings.
Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** Training Participants – church leaders participating in the mental health training ** Dental project working with the Department of Health – providing services and education ** Eye project working at 3 locations in the Eastern Cape ** Our community as we are separated