Thanks to a generous donation from a family in Southwest Michigan, we are better able to care for patients at Van Norman Clinic in Bujumbura. It took months for their gift to make it through all of the levels of accountability in the U.S. and Burundi (and we are glad for those safeguards). As we waited for the funds to arrive, it was a joy to consider how we might best put them to use.  Dr. Noel (the VNC Medical Director) and I came up with a priority needs list that agreed with the wishes of the donors.

Dr. Noel and Denis with equipment for VNC

Dr. Noel and Denis with equipment for VNC

Last week, the money was released to Dr. Noel. He then took Denis (the chief nurse) and looked for the best prices on the items we needed: examination tables, suction machines, surgical instruments, oxygen concentrators, etc. I did not accompany them on that trip as the color of my skin tends to increase the asking price! They did some comparison shopping and stretched the money as far as possible.

The next day they were thrilled to show me all of the equipment as well as explain to me how they negotiated the price and documented all of the money. Thankfulness was my response- for our friends who generously gave and for the opportunity to improve the clinical experience for our patients. I also saw our Burundian staff joyfully embracing Kingdom values: We are blessed in order TO BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS! There was no attempt to co-opt this gift for their own uses or comforts. Thank the Lord for men of integrity in a country which leads the world in corruption.

The oxygen concentrator is being used daily for our pediatric patients who come with lung infections and low oxygen levels. It is certain that it will literally save lives as we enter the rainy respiratory infection season.

Most days we have more than one Caesarean section surgical delivery at Van Norman Clinic. We were able to purchase two more instrument sets for this surgery. This is important as we won’t have to delay an intervention due to lack of sterilized equipment. An abdominal surgery instrument kit was also purchased which will allow our surgeon to perform more surgeries with the confidence that we have what he needs.

The list of needs was shortened by this donation…but there are still plenty of opportunities to invest in equipment that will allow our trained staff to better care for patients. Have you been blessed this year? Look around and consider who you can bless. Maybe it is a family member or friend. Maybe it is someone very different from you across town. Or perhaps it is someone on the other side of the world!