Sunday, August 05, 2007

Updates from The Team in Sudan

Well, Ellen and Peter arrive at Dulles tomorrow (Monday) evening, and I shall try to pick them up and drive them back here to VTS. In the meantime, let me continue with the updates from the past few days. Jo Bailey Wells spoke to Peter on Thursday, and logged the following report:

Our visiting trio continue in high spirits. I spoke with Peter just now (having missed their gathering over dinner) who suggested I tell you ‘we are all safe, healthy, amazed, and humbled’. Peter and Ellen are doing further clinic and teaching tomorrow (which astounded me), having found a way around spending the whole of their last day in Renk receiving Sudani thank-you tributes. Sounds like Ellen has brilliantly engineered a final session where the students share their insights – I sure hope Ellen and Andrew write these down for our learning also – likely to focus, I gather, on the way an understanding of Leviticus has enabled a re-narration of their childhood experiences of sacrifice. Meanwhile Dr Peter and Dr Paul have been exchanging advice on how each responds to a scenario – no case of one ‘correcting’ the other between these colleagues, yet clearly significant development of skills and practices.

Peter commented that they’re returning with a new inspiration of how to love God with heart and soul, as well as the mind. And yet, he said, how hard these Sudanis work; how keen they are to learn.


Also on Thursday, Peter himself logged the following report:

As we run down on our time here in Renk – except for Andrew, who will be here another two weeks – I think we are running down the students. They are tired, have little time for homework, but remain incredibly enthusiastic about learning, Greek, and Dr Ellen's teaching of Exous, Leviticus and Duet in Hebrew – a double learning.

Andrew is a hit with the students, following Deborah, in drilling them in their Greek, and helping newcomers try to catch up.

We have also had a few meetings about how to continue the program: the new unity government is offering higher salaries and people leave, there is still little infrastructure, and they would really like to offer a BA – but that means two indigenous PhDs on faculty. We are wondering if two DMin's would work.

I think I have been found out, as the clinics become busier and busier, with more and more children brought in. I think we are seeing at least 10 children an hour (which means, barely seeing, with malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia the most common diagnoses – I have used my inexpensive otoscope to look at ears and have found a few ear infections. Dr Paul and I work together better and better, each trusting one another to do exams. We actually do practice similarly – even tho he is a medical assistant, he has as many years experience as I do seeing patients. We now consult each other on medications and agree most of the time. Of course, every medicine here has a different trade name, so I am often lost.

Tonight, I saw 10 patients in the compound, most from the church, who "followed" me home, shall we say. Though I enjoy it, I must admit I prefer the 5 hours a day in clinic, with the rest of the time thinking about public health approaches. I gave two lectures –well, interactive conversations with an interpreter, one to women, one to men, on the largest public health problems this country faces. Interesting – between my numbers of cases and these focus groups I am getting an impression of the needs and the acknowledgement of needs and the potential opportunity to meet some of those needs – it will be a process as long as one that starts a theological college.

Please continue to pray for the success of the church in Sudan.



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