Saturday, March 2, 2013

Faces of Bongolo

Hello Everyone!

Thank you to all of you for your continued love, prayers and support. 
Thought you might enjoy seeing some of the "Faces of Bongolo" - lives you have touched in these past 8 months as a ministry partner with us here at Bongolo Hospital.

Learning to walk again with the help of the Nursing students.
Seeing this elderly man's face makes me smile every time. He was brought in after a car accident with a femur fracture. He had a couple operations, after which he was stuck in a bed in traction- with a metal rod sticking out of his leg-for 6 weeks! 
Once out of traction, it was time to push him to get moving! Every morning the students and I would head in to get him up and walking in the corridors and every morning he would protest and protest, smiling and laughing all the while, "Madame! Madame! You're not going to make me walk with this metal rod thing in my leg are you?!?"- then he'd give in and let us walk the corridors with him. It was also an opportunity to teach the students how to correctly measure crutches for a patient and how to safely get patients out of bed. 
The students and I also discovered an abnormal heart rhythm on this gentleman while taking routine vital signs. The doctors were able to do further testing and discovered he had a severe heart condition. We were able to send him home with prevention strategies related to the health of his heart. 
It was a great example to the students to demonstrate the importance of taking accurate vital signs on patients- every single time.

These ladies always had a huge smile on their face every morning =)

Broken legs and Barbies

Broken legs and Barbies, waiting on a leg to time on the pediatrics ward, enjoying toys sent from churches in the U.S.

A patient from NYC!?!

 A patient from NYC!?! Yup, that's right! The lady on the left has been living in Brooklyn for the past twenty years with her husband, she was on vacation visiting her children and extended family in Gabon with her sister (pictured right) when they were caught in an automobile accident. The two ladies are both believers and we got to pray together every morning. They were a real encouragement and light in my day. Praise the Lord their injuries weren't too devastating and they were able to carry on with their visit after a week or so.

This is Eric. He has a remarkable story that I'll be continuing in the posts that follow, but for now a little back ground story. Eric is 26, he was working on a construction site up in one of the big cities, Port Gentil, when he fell off a scaffold and landed on his head. His injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down, and he consequently went to several medical facilities in the surrounding areas. He had four friends who stayed with him, and after months of him being neglected in hospital beds and left for dead, his four friends decided to act. They had heard about Bongolo, and in a sort of modern day replication of the four friends lifting their paralytic friend down to Jesus through a hole in the roof, Eric's four friends brought him from the big city to the stick's, to Bongolo, desperate for help for their friend.
I was teaching the students about bed sores and the importance of preventing them the day Eric showed up in the ER. Eric had massive stage 4 pressure ulcers on his coccyx and hips, going all the way to the bone. I asked him if he wouldn't mind the students seeing his wounds to show them just how important it is to turn your patients in bed. He said yes, seeming like he understood the importance and wanted to prevent this happening to someone else. The students entered, quietly and a few at a time, seeing first hand all that we had talked about in class. Some had to leave the room for a few mins, others were almost doubled over with the weight of the suffering of this young man. As they all came in and saw, it was as if their eyes had been opened. I could see that Eric was starting to feel vulnerable, so I hurried the students up and we recovered him and got him comfortable. A golden light, with a tint of green started shining into the ER through the curtain around his bed, I asked if someone would pray for him and one by one each student started quietly lifting their voices up in worship and crying out to God for Him to ease the suffering of this man around his bed. They started praying, all 16 of them out loud at once, and I watched Eric's face- tearful and and glowing with a sense of hunger for this demonstrated Love that overwhelmed him. We were all bonded from that moment on. A few weeks later, Eric decided to follow Christ. 
Stay tuned for more of Eric's journey...

This guy was a trooper from the very beginning and his wife so supportive. He was involved in an accident and came to us with a femur fracture ("8! Say 8!" - Brian Regan anyone?) Anyway, he wasn't walking as much as the surgeons needed him to be, so I started showing the students how to get him up and moving and how to dig for more information as to why he was so reluctant to move. After talking with him and his wife about what he was experiencing and looking through his chart, we discovered that his pain wasn't being very well controlled. So Monday on rounds the students and I brought it up to the surgeons and they added a different pain medication at night. By Tuesday he was walking the halls and Wednesday he had walked all the way across the hospital campus to the lab to get his blood work done! He was doing so much better that we sent him home that week. It was a good opportunity to teach the students the importance of really talking with your patients when they are not progressing to see what is really going on and to make sure their pain post-operatively is well controlled.


Herbert is an energetic, out-going young man in his 20's with a good sense of humor. He came to us because of his leg- a classic Tropical Medicine case of Elephantiasis. It is caused by a parasite which blocks the flow of the lymphatic system, fluid starts to pool, causing an irreversible malformation of the extremity. He has been with us for several months undergoing several operations for a type of grafting to give him better use of his leg. He is a believer and we are very excited for him that will soon get to leave the hospital! Stay tuned for updated photos!

This young woman and her son, "Chance", were with us for several months on the surgical ward. She's 21, she had an epileptic seizure and fell into a fire, badly burning her feet and legs, even losing some of her toes. She was with us for months while we grafted her burns, and thus so was her little baby Chance. Grandma stayed with her to help care for him, but he learned to toddle here at Bongolo and was quite busy for his injured mama and tired grandma. So I'd bring him with me, putting him on my back or just carrying him, on rounds or working with the students to give his mama and grandma a break. He was my little helper throughout the mornings and helped keep the students in line =) The surgical ward and all the students were sad to see his joyful, little, toddling self leave when his mom got better and went home.

So there you have it- just a taste of some of the lives you have touched through your prayer and support out here in the jungle at Bongolo Hospital. It's really fun to share with you all some of the faces that have encouraged me to keep on keepin' on as I strive to remain faithful to His calling. I think I can speak for the entire team when I say we are very thankful for your partnership in this ministry with us. 
Thank you!

Love from the Jungle,


  1. Amanda, love all the stories and how God is working there and through you! Praying for you. :-)