Greetings from Lomé, Togo, West Africa. During our recent surgical screening, my role was as the gate keeper, passing out initial screening tickets. A total of 1,609 tickets were given to potential patients who came along with their family members and caregivers. I brought them inside the gate in small groups. I tried to greet each patient – I used a combination of languages: French with Bon Jour (Good morning) ou Bienvenue (Welcome) or in Ewe with Woezo (pronounced “Way-zo” – also means Welcome). I knew they understood my pronunciation of the Ewe when they responded with ‘lo’ or ‘yo’ with a long ooo. Plus there were some who greeted me in English and so I responded in English. See the above photo.
About 4,000 people came to Kegue National Stadium here in Lomé for the surgical screening for maxillofacial, plastic-burn reconstructive and general surgery. Most of the Africa Mercy crew and our local day workers were involved. It was a peaceful night and day as we cared for them one person at a time. The prayer team was stationed under a tree and available to anyone wishing prayer.
As the hospital crew was preparing to close the Patient Gate, Lawrence and I asked if we could maintain our post with the gates shut, but still available if anyone arrives with a maxillofacial tumor or cleft lip and palate. We probably had a couple hundred people come during those final couple hours but most were not surgical candidate for the Mercy Ship. Though the very last person was a father and her daughter, when asked what is her problem, he said the hole in her mouth and when I leaned down to take a look it was clearly a cleft palate (hole in the upper part of the mouth). Her name is Samsia, probably around three or four year old girl. She was scheduled for surgery!!!
Our operating rooms are open and have just finished week #3, Wards have patients and caregivers and dayworkers and patient visitations have restarted.
Our Dental Team under the new leadership of Sieh Moore from Liberia is set up a facility near the government sector of Lomé and they conduct their screenings on going every Monday and Thursday mornings. The number of tickets he is able to distribute all depends on how many dentists we have for that period and their average capacity (how many per day).
Prayer Requests: *Each of our patients – their health, surgery and recovery for Hope & Healing. *For our healthcare professionals, we have had some surgeons cancel and that has a great impact. *Right people to still come for the remaining surgical slots and for Jonah from Ghana to have an opportunity for his second surgery.