Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Medicine and meetings

The road to Shunga
Alastair writes : It has been busy at Shunga Hospital. Emergency caesarean sections each take less than an hour of operating but two and a half hours of uncomfortable driving. I am getting to know the road very well now, and am familiar with the individual bumps and holes. It makes it a bit quicker if I am confident when to go at a reasonable speed and when to slow down to walking pace. I have also learned that local chickens often need to cross the road in a panic.
Theatre this week was a mixture of specialties – gynaecology, urology and paediatric surgery. One of the two hysterectomies proved difficult and took rather longer than expected, so I had to stay overnight at Shunga to make sure that the patient recovered well. Happily she did. We finished the operation list the next morning.
The little girl with the bomb injury is now doing very well, and is up and around and ready to go home. 
Henry Ndege, Shunga’s doctor, will be back this weekend, and will be available for emergency surgery, so my visits will now be about once a week for scheduled surgery only.
As soon as I got back from Shunga, we had a meeting to organise the completion of the building of a clinic at Mubanga – remote and with little health care so far. The local people with whom we met will provide labouring. A builder from Kasulu will go out to work and to supervise. The Diocese of Gloucester has given money for this, and work will begin on 1st July. I and John Mhanusi, the Diocese Health Coordinator will visit from time to time too.

Our veggie garden
Helen writes : We're quite proud of our veggie garden at the back of our house. There was nothing here when we arrived but this week we've started eating the spinach and chinese leaves. The runner beans haven't done so well - I brought the seeds from England; they were very excited and sprouted within a few days - but took one look at the hot sun and shrivelled up (reminds me of a Bible story!!) . In the middle of the garden is a paw paw tree, and banana palms around the edge. It's now the dry season, so we have to water every day.We only have running water for a few hours each morning so do the garden early- then we keep water in plastic buckets to use in the house during the rest of the day. We don't do it all ourselves of course - we have a chap called Paulo who comes each day to help.

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