We were so blessed by what Nurse Esther Ash wrote in this letter summarizing her time on our recent trip. We hope this will help you get a taste of what an experience with Mission Partners for Christ could be like. We would love for you to join our next trip!
Greetings, Bon Jour!
I have arrived back from Côte d’Ivoire or the Ivory Coast, The general language is French, and then about 47 dialects are used throughout this nation. I haven’t used French since my high school class about 35 years ago, but I was able to pick up some again to be able to understand. My team, Mission Partners for Christ from the United States, consisted of 5 medical doctors of family practice, 2 medical students along with a Nurse practitioner. There were 5 nurses, a licensed minister who helped fit glasses, a photographer who works for the Chicago sports industry, Shenita, my roommate, who weighed all the children and Brian who helped fit everyone for shoes.
With all the prayers that we received, we were able to be a very united team through all the long hours of traveling and seeing patients. In all, we were able to see and treat 1456 patients in 4.5 days. That was a pace to be set. We tried to see our patients in family groups. In Triage, where I was a part, we took temperatures on all the children and blood pressures on all the adults, and if they were over the age of 40 we checked their blood sugar and asked what they wanted to be seen for by the doctor. Malaria issues were the main symptoms. Now add to this the translator of French to English and then another translator for the native dialect and the triage area can be a noisy area. Having chickens occasionally strolling through and the hot sun beating down made it a different experience, but the smiles and laughter kept us going, and knowing why we were doing it made all the difference.
Our days started very early and, for some, even earlier as intercessory prayer covered our members, our travels, our partners and the people we wanted to reach. Breakfast of eggs, fruit, and croissants started the day, and the luggage was loaded. We traveled by vans to our destinations and were joined by our translators, our cooks, and other volunteers. We joined the traffic every morning and the adventure started, you could literally reach out and touch the vehicles next to us. There are few traffic lights in Abidjan and few painted lines for traffic and everyone wants to go at the same time, our travels took us hours out in to the countryside down deeply rutted roads sometimes covered in water. Remember also that there are NO roadside rest bathrooms, but we managed!
We were there at the end of the rainy season and were blessed to not be rained out. The people were waiting our arrival and happy to see us. The villages had to prepare an area for us to set up under tents which meant clearing the land and cut poles for the tarps which they covered with palm leaves. They allowed us to use almost every table from their homes. There is much preparation behind the scenes before our arrival — which our team leader and so many others with Global Hope Network International had already done. We set up daily and started the day seeing patients, giving out medications for high pressure, diabetes, intestinal worms, and general aches and pains along with treating wounds. We gave out eyeglasses and shoes that grow, and then saw to their spiritual needs as well.
Our first village was Effaoho, and they already had progressed in their 5-year plan to having a VIP latrine, a clean water source, and a school. Healthwise, you could already see the difference it was having for the people of the village. Global Hope Network makes agreements with these villages to come in and partner with the people to teach them healthy living and teach surrounding villages skills to use to generate an income. They do not take over a village but rather teach with an exit plan already in place.
We returned to this village a second day and people from villages further out came as well — creating the ripple effect that we hope for in changing people’s lives for the better and giving them hope. As we entered the village on day two, the children were jumping up and down in joy and smiles all around. We did get rained on, and the village wanted to give us a goat in appreciation. Goat loans are also a part of the program developed by Global Hope. We didn’t take the goat and had to delay our departure due to one of the van’s being stuck in the flooded road. Getting home on day two took a bit longer as one of the vans broke down. Packing skills took on a whole new level. A van that was designed for about 17 now carried 27. Togetherness!
Our second village was Atakassikoro, where someone had died the night before, so our arrival had an added dimension. This village is not as far as the previous village. Their water supply was built by UNICEF and kind of forgotten. The water was salty, and when the rains came it became dirty. They did not have a school in their village, and the children traveled six miles one way for lessons if the bridge wasn’t washed out. Their level of hope was low, as one of the villagers told us that for 3 generations things hadn’t changed and no one came to help.
The first day, the people were not waiting but day two of being there, the people were lined up hours before we arrived. Hope is an amazing thing. We were a very tired group of people when we packed out of this village, and the children were so glad and dancing around. It was hard to leave; the road to the village was so bad that we literally had to pack in and out because the vans could not get up to the village. On the half day of clinic in Abidjan our team split and half went to a church in the slums where sewage flowed, and outside street vendors were cooking fish guts. It does make an impression and hard to add the smells and sounds in writing.
So many little things could be added to this letter about the things that happened and were experienced by my team. Were we exhausted? Yes. Are they already planning other trips? Yes. There are over 900 people groups yet tobe reachedh. Can you make a difference? Yes.
Prayers, donations and more people to travel to these places are needed. Do you have to be a medical person? No. Just ask Brian or Shenita or the many other volunteers. But if you are a medical person or know a medical person. share this with them and send them to the Mission Partners For Christ website!
Thank you for all your support and prayer covering!