At New Hope Initiative's medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania lives are changed on a daily basis. Of our 25,000 annual patients we have stories of amazing transformation very often. One of our more poignant stories occurred recently in the life of an older gentleman named Mr. Sikn. He for many years had a cyst growing in his forehead. Not only was it painful but it was unsightly causing him to be ostracized in his community and even to be ridiculed as demon possessed. Mr. Sikn visited hospitals and doctors for miles around his rural home, however, because he was poor and had no money, he could not find any one to help him. Finally he heard about our NHI clinic in Arusha and, even though it was hours away from his home, he heard that this clinic would effectively and compassionately help people who were poor. You can see from these amazing photographs the incredible job Dr. Byemba did in this surgery. We talk often about changing people's lives but truly Mr. Sikn's life as forever been changed by Dr. Byemba and New Hope Initiative.
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Our medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania continues to grow both in its effectiveness and its quality. Every year under Dr. Byemba's leadership we have been able to improve both our facilities and our equipment. This year our focus is on the clinic laboratory. We currently take a sample from all of our patients and are able to give an in-house diagnosis for most illnesses. However, we have some serious gaps in the type of tests we can run and the speed at which we can read these tests. Also, there is a shortage of labs where specific specialty tests can be run in the country of Tanzania as a whole. In this gap we see an opportunity for our New Hope Initiative clinic. We have an opportunity to not only meet people's needs, but also earn some income that will begin to provide a measure of self-sustainability in our charitable mission. Our goal is to expand the lab with the needed equipment and personnel so that we can not only meet the needs of our patients, but also become the commercial provider of much of the laboratory needs in the Arusha region. Since we already have some equipment, staff, and facilities, our cost to greatly expand our lab will be very reasonable. We estimate this cost at $38,000. If you know of anyone in the diagnostic industry who might donate equipment or if you would like to financially participate in this special project, we would greatly appreciate it.
Many of you remember the remarkable story of little Esther from Arusha, Tanzania who was terribly burned on her legs in a fire and was struggling with the scar tissue and lingering effects of that horrible accident. In the summer of 2013 we had a team visiting us from Springfield, MO and unbeknown to any of us that team had a sponsor Dr. Carla Kester who was also a very experienced plastic surgeon. Dr. Carla was able to operate on Esther and do a very successful skin graft that has greatly enhanced the quality of life for Esther. While most of our 25,000 patients at our Arusha medical clinic are suffering from the typical tropical diseases like malaria, typhoid, and parasites, we are also seeing more cases of an unusual and dramatic nature.
This past month we had a young boy rushed to our clinic who had severed the artery in his wrist and was in danger of bleeding to death. Dr. Byemba our clinic director is also a skilled surgeon and he was able to immediately repair the artery and to save the young man's life. As important as this initial operation was Dr. Byemba noticed the severe damage around the wrist area of this young man and desired to do a skin graft to help not only with cosmetics but also to promote the healing process. Dr. Byemba was not formally trained in plastic surgery but he had watched and learned from Dr. Carla in 2013. Using that skilled learned from our visitor he was able to do a beautiful job repairing the damage to this boy's wrist. When you treat thousands of patients each month the typical day can be pretty repetitive, however life is never dull at our Arusha Clinic where Dr. Byemba and his staff are faced with new challenges on a regular basis.
Our medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania is a very well equipped facility with modern equipment including a full lab, X-ray, and ultrasound. We are a model for contemporary medical practice in East Africa. However, even with all of our ability we still regularly deal with situations in which we have to rely on the considerable skill and improvisational ability of Dr. Byemba and his staff. We recently saw a young man who had suffered a head injury eight years ago. The skull grew back improperly, giving him constant headaches and the embarrassment of having a misshapen head. He first came to our New Hope Initiative clinic several months ago desperately seeking help. Dr. Byemba recognized that this was outside the realm of our ability and encouraged the young man to go to the capital of Tanzania to seek a specialist. After spending all of his meager funds in the capital, he was unable to find anyone in the entire country who would help him.
In utter despair he returned to Arusha and begged for Dr. Byemba’s help. Knowing that his tools were inadequate, but possessing a heart of compassion and a confidence in his own skill, Dr. Byemba agreed to perform this complicated procedure. After purchasing a hammer and chisel from a local hardware store, the doctor skillfully and boldly reshaped the young man’s skull in a very complex procedure. Obviously Dr. Byemba prefers to use the most modern tools available, but wherever we lack the latest tools, we more than make up for it with skill, ingenuity, and heart. I am happy to report the young man is doing well. His headaches are greatly diminished and his head is cosmetically improved.
We ask our friends and partners to help us to equip the clinic with the very best tools available to us. It is our prayer that we will find the need to improvise less and less in the future. We currently have four pressing areas where further modernization is needed:
- A blood analyzer for hormones and biochemistry .
- A cast cutter to remove the large number of casts we have started doing due to our new X-ray.
- A portable digital X-ray unit for greater imaging flexibility.
- A generator capable of running the entire clinic due to the frequent electric outages in Tanzania.
It is this ongoing partnership between our local clinic staff and our western partners that makes the Olorien Community Clinic such a success.
A WORD FROM THE DIRECTORS
2014 has gotten off to a busy but very blessed start for New Hope Initiative. In every area of our work and planning we have seen progress and growth. We would like to highlight a few of the amazing blessings we have enjoyed in this first quarter of the year.
1. Our medical clinic in Arusha, Tanzania continues to amaze us with its scope and effectiveness. We are currently offering daily X-rays as a new service and on a Monday last month we saw a record number of patients for a single day at 168. Pray for Dr Byemba this month as he has to travel back to the Congo to take care of legal requirements related to his ability to stay in Tanzania. Many of you have heard the incredible story of his families escape from the civil war in the Congo so this trip home is enjoyable but also fraught with challenges for him.
2. In Kibera our newly reorganized school is already showing incredible progress. The first trimester has recently finished to sterling academic growth and we are looking forward to an awesome year. The construction in Kibera seems to be never ending. We currently are working on a new clinic building as well as a new complex for Biashara. We also will be starting a perimeter security wall at the complex and paving the school compound during the next month. Project Biashara had it most successful event ever at McLean Bible Church's women's conference where they sold over $12,000 in merchandise made by our Kenyan women!
3. Penda Project has grown to its highest level to date with 142 students in secondary school and another 15 qualified for university. We still are in need of about a dozen sponsorships so please consider helping us give the gift of education to a deserving student.
4. In Sierra Leone theft and security issues are pushing us to install a security fence around the entire large complex. We already have had several faithful partners who have stepped up to help with this fence. We believe about $20,000 will be needed to complete this urgent project. We are finalizing plans in the next few weeks for an early January trip to Sierra Leone. If you are interested in joining us please contact our staff. We would love to have you be a part of that team.
5. We have dates set for our team to travel to India to help with our special needs orphanage. Please take time to read the accompanying article and pray about joining us on this life changing experience.
In closing, we have 3 MAJOR projects that are in the serious discussion and planning stages. These include new school projects in Ethiopia and Nicaragua and a guest house in Nairobi Kenya. These 3 developments are big and very exciting for our future and we ask you to pray with us for clarity and direction as we take the final steps in each of these. We will give you more details about each of these in our quarterly update in July.
We love and appreciate all of our friends and supporters who help us make a difference around the world.
Sandy and Karen Baird - New Hope Initiative Directors