Sunday, July 29, 2007

Update from Peter in Renk, Sudan

Boy, I've been so busy I've gotten way behind in posting the updates from Renk, Sudan that have been coming through. Got to start catching up. Here's the next in the sequence, from Peter:

We have had all sorts of weather since arriving here – out and out deluge (captured on a digital camera, but didn't send well), heat into the 100s, overcast days, and one cool night. It is very hot in our little tukuls, or mud huts with thatched roof, but also feels very safe in the rain and wind.

Our work proceeds, with the students exhausted by lessons in Greek and Hebrew – the lessons attached to "lessons" is you will from the Letter to the Hebrews and from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deut to speak to what it means to prepare to speak with or be in the presence of God, and how a community prepares to do so.

clinic work in Renk

The clinic is crowded, chaotic, and I continue to learn how Dr Paul practices. Exams show little, so labs (blood smears for malaria, urine micros for UTI, Hgb for anemia, and just empiric treatment if the symptoms are right but the tests don't help. The clinic charges one Sudanese pound ($0.50) per visit, lab included, though not scripts. I hope to go to market to price some of these meds. A day in the hospital is 27 pounds before you get charged for meds, and you bring meals from home (I think the annual income is 360 pounds). Several of the students have had severe damage at home from the floods; one lost a child to illness. We are surrounded by dried mud tracks, occasional puddles, and a large soccer field – there are Islamic, government, and church – and to my eye, the Islamic schools might be doing a better job of having equal numbers of girls and boys.

The students are getting worn out by Greek review, so Andrew is slowing down, and Ellen has found a great pace for discussion, lecture, and interaction on how the law forms a people and a church (well, she would say it better, but these are lectures and readings in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy).

I find the clinic crowded and chaotic – about 30-40 patients in a long morning 8:30 to 1:30 or so, tho they insist I leave at 1:00 so as not to get tired. I think others on these trips have gotten ill, so they are most protective. I feel fine. The parents dress the children up for their visits, and the adults themselves are colorfully layered in dresses, blouses, and layers (I know since I have to probe through to feel abdomens, etc). Lots of illness, and perhaps a separation between sick care and health care, at least so I am told. I am to see, as soon as another gov't doctor comes back from Juba. I've been invited (and we hope) I will give a lecture to all comers on public health. If I can, I want to draw people into the conversation of what is health and what it takes for health to see if clean air, water, septage, and food make the list – along with immunizations, close following of children and pregnant women, etc. It would be fun to be interactive, but we'll see what translation is like.

I hope all of you are well and a little cooler than we are, though after a while, it just becomes the norm (tho we were grateful that when I suggested we catch some rainwater to avoid the floodwater for cleaning up, several containers were set out).

Miss you all. Please take care of each other and keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


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