Sunday, May 26, 2013

Countdown: 2 days till accreditation...

Two days to go until the official accreditation visit at the Ola During Children's Hospital. The last few weeks/months have been extremely busy in preparing for this visit. A team of three fellows from the West African College of Physicians arrive tomorrow to conduct the official visit on Monday and Tuesday. This is an exciting time. Accreditation of the hospital means that we can start training doctors in a postgraduate paediatric residency training programme!

The last few weeks have been busy with a variety of activities from setting up side laboratories to making sure bed nets are hung properly to fixing lights on the wards to getting cupboards made for the rehydration corner. It's been a productive time and we're hoping for success. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Conakry to Freetown...

After my trip upcountry I headed back to the ship in Conakry to pick up Junior. Now 6 days post op, he was ready to go back to Freetown. Os and I were at the ship early in the morning and warmly welcome by my great friend, Allison. Junior and his dad then came and joined us in the car, and the four of us made our way back to Freetown. We had a good journey back and it was fun that some of the border police remembered Junior from our crossing to Guinea and were very pleased to see the result of the surgery. Late Monday afternoon we dropped Junior off at the orphanage and I headed home. It was a successful trip to Guinea for sure!

Trip upcountry in Guinea...

A while back, when I knew accreditation of the hospital would take place in April, I decided I would need a week off to recover. Well, of course the accreditation date changed to May, but I wasn't going to change my plans. The main reason not to change my plans was because of Junior's surgery. So, the trip went ahead and I spent three days in Conakry on the ship and was able to watch Junior's surgery. Then early Wednesday morning Osman and I got in the car and made the 8 hour journey to his parents' village (where I went last November as well). It was great to see his family again. His three brothers were already there - they have been working on building a house for his parents (which Os has been saving money for and still is...). It was nice to be away from the city. There were mangos, avocados and oranges everywhere. It was great to be able to sit and eat the fruit right off of the trees. Delicious. We spent a lot of time chatting and discussing the house, and watching a television series in the evening. Of course, the usual visits to Os' family were made - sometimes I joined, sometimes I stayed behind. It was a great break. After three days in the village we headed back to Conakry to pick up Junior!

Surgery don don...

On Tuesday, May 14th, Junior underwent a successful cleft lip surgery! Praise God for that. And it was amazing to be a part of that. Firstly because I have known him since his birth and been involved in his life since then, secondly to be in the operating room with Dr. Gary Parker, who is a real inspiration to me and many others. It was great to be with my friend Allison as well! Once Junior woke up in recovery, his dad came in to see him. He was very pleased. I was then able to feed Junior. He hadn't eaten since early morning (his surgery ended up being at about 2:30pm) and so he was pretty hungry. He fed so much better with his repaired lip! God definitely has a plan for this little guy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Waiting for surgery on the Africa Mercy...

Ibrahim, myself and Junior on the deck, the evening before surgery
Today is a big day for little Junior, his dad, Ibrahim, and myself. Since the day I met Junior, on his birthday on the 26th of November 2012, I have been looking forward to the day he could have surgery. Today is that day.

The past 5 1/2 months have not been easy for Junior and his dad. They have both been through a lot and it's been amazing to see how God has kept Junior safe and surrounded him with people who care. I am privileged to be a part of that.

On Sunday morning Osman and I picked Junior up from the orphanage at 6:45 am. We then drove to the East side of town to pick up his father, Ibrahim, who really wanted to be the one to make this journey with his son and take care of him. So, the four of us made the 7 hour journey from Freetown to Conakry. Thanks to Osman's good driving skills and ability to negotiate with the officers at the numerous checkpoints, we made it to the Africa Mercy in the afternoon. Junior was soon settled on C ward, ready for his admission the next day. 

Today, he is on D ward, waiting for surgery. He should be going to the operating room in a few hours time and I'll be there to observe his surgery. I am excited for this life-changing opportunity for Junior and thankful for Dr. Gary (my hero and role model!) and the OR staff that will be helping him through this surgery. More news soon.

Previous posts about Junior: 
April 2013: A new home

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~