This week we had a very unique experience. The Humanitarian Service Couple, the Bingham's from Eureka, California, coordinated a training event for nurses, doctors, and midwives in our area. The Doctors Ngoy, husband and wife, doctors lead the training.
The Ngoy's both practice medicine in Kinshasa. They give an extraordinary amount of their time to training others on neo-natal resuscitation. Hospital facilities are old and insufficient. Many babies die each day in countries like DR Congo because doctors, nurses, and midwives do not know the techniques of resuscitation or lack the simple tools with which to perform the procedure.
Each participant received a neo-natal resuscitation kit, furnished by the Church. There were about seventy people at the training, representing 40 hospitals and clinics.
The day before the training, Dr Ngoy (husband) delivered twelve babies. One of them would not breath. He performed the procedure he taught in the class and saved the baby' s life.
The last time the class was taught, the Humanitarian Couple who were here received a phone call the following day. A nurse in the middle of nowhere, who had attended the class, was yelling, laughing, and crying on the telephone. "We just saved our first baby, thank you, thank you, thank you."
The doctors presented classroom study, then broke up into small groups to practice the procedure on "dummy" babies. Each participant went away with new knowledge, new techniques, new tools, and new hope to save more babies.
Mom and the other sister missionaries made banana bread for snack. Lunch was fried chicken and french fries. Now, to you who have Kentucky Fried Chicken on every corner, that is not a big deal. Elder Bingham really looked and found the only fried chicken place in the Congo. And, it was actually chicken, not monkey disguised as chicken.
The Church rented the facility (an old Catholic Hospital build by the Belgians in the 50's) and paid for 3 hours per day for the generator, otherwise no electricity and no running water. The Church also furnished the manuals and the kits. And, of course paid for the lunch.
It was one of the most gratifying activities we have been part of.
The Church is assisting the Congolese on several fronts:
- Neo Natal Resuscitation
- Clean water wells
- Perpetual Education
- A new chapel building program that will employ returned missionaries and teach them skills
- English classes
- next week, the wheel chair specialists are coming from Salt Lake to help with a program to donate 2000 wheel chairs.
- Each stake has a sewing class for women, then they will attend an entrepreneur class
We continue to be thankful for our call to the DR Congo. We look around at the poverty, and the other problems, and sometimes think there is just too much to do.
I am reminded of the story I heard years ago of the man who walks to the beach only to find thousands and thousands of star fish washed ashore with the tide. He realizes that they will die if they are not helped back into the sea. He sees a young girl running up and down the beach throwing star fish back into the sea. He calls to her saying that she cannot possibly save them all. To which she replies, "But, I can save the ones I can touch." That is how we feel.