The SHAHICA team of 7 people arrived in Douala, Cameroon on June 8th for 2 weeks of medical and orphan outreach in Foumban. After a reunion with other SHAHICA members in Douala, we loaded up the bus and headed for Foumban arriving on June 9th.
Almost immediately work began on the Community Day Center with land being cleared and bricks being formed and placed out in the sun to dry. Daily progress was evident as the bricks began to be formed into the outside walls and then interior walls which were up to about 5 feet high by the time we all left. Currently there remains about 2 more feet of brick to be laid along with a roof before the center is completed. However our building fund is depleted so no further work will be possible until we have the funds to proceed.
While the construction crew worked on the orphan center, our week long Orphan Camp was held in a donated home and headed up by Abiba Namen with assistance by Abia and 6 other Cameroonian volunteers. Each day involved a theme of learning about the riches of the earth, the importance of water, healthy foods and how to take care of themselves. etc. The subject matter was further illustrated through craft projects, science experiments, and field trips. All sponsored orphans participated and the week ended with a stupendous talent show in which all of the children took part. We wish each of the sponsors could have been present to hear the speeches, poems, songs and dance routines that different children performed!
At the end of the program each child was presented with a gift from their sponsor and was invited to pick out some clothing from some of the items which had been donated and shipped prior to our arrival.
In addition, the Orphan Caretakers Group which has met monthly and tracked each child’s progress, read a report of the academic progress of each child and reviewed health concerns that have occurred over the past year. They remain very committed and involved in all aspects of the orphans care as well as supportive of the development of the Community Day Center. They presented us with gifts of food upon our arrival as a thank you for all of our efforts on behalf of their children. Eight new orphans have been accepted into the program after being interviewed and assessed for financial need by Raphiatou Noumbissi. These eight children have been assigned to sponsors who were on the list awaiting an orphan to sponsor.
The medical outreach began at the Kings Hospital on Monday and Tuesday and at the Protestant Hospital on Wednesday. On Thursday, we traveled to a village which was off the beaten path named Kouoptamo. We were invited by the Handicapped Association of Kouoptamo to see patients there. We drove most of the way and then walked a bit further into the village which was not accessible by car due to the condition of the roads. Some of the patients who needed surgery traveled this same distance to come to Foumban the following Friday.
Friday, the medical team conducted an afternoon of health education with 47 patients who came from the medical outreaches at both the King’s Hospital as well as the Protestant Hospital. We covered the topics of Hypertension, Diabetes, and HIV prevention with a lot of interactive discussion which was very nice to see!
Friday evening ASCOVIME, a group of 30 volunteers led by Doctor George Bwelle set up camp across from the growing Community Day Center in a 4 room school in Mambain. The ASCOVIME volunteers included other physicians and medical students from Cameroon as well as a group of medical students from Drexel University in the United States. On Saturday the providers from ASCOVIME and SHAHICA worked together to treat a total of 326 Patients. A total of 30 received surgery under local anesthesia in a make-shift operating room set up in a school classroom during Saturday evening and into the early hours of Sunday.
The medical team then traveled to Mbouda on Monday to deliver care at the Protestant Hospital of Mbouda. Tuesday included a half day of medical outreach at the Foumban Prison in association with Carol Loescher M.D. from the Baptist Church in Foumban. Wednesday concluded our medical outreach with a day of outreach at the Full Gospel Church in Foumban lead by Pastor James Mbozah. A total of 1057 patients were seen in all of the outreaches.
Special thanks to all who helped make the outreach possible this year. Thank you also to those who have given towards building the Community Day Center. As you see above, some progress has been made, but there is still much more to be done! We would appreciate your prayers and continuing financial support as we seek to serve 33 orphans and their caretakers throughout the year. Thank you again!