We are sad to share with you that Dr. Raissa Lompo's mother passed away very suddenly on Tuesday morning, October 3, 2017. Dr. Raissa left CSL Danja this morning (Wednesday) to return to Niamey to be with her family. This is particularly heart-breaking because Dr. Raissa was planning to move to Niamey next week where she would have been in the same city as her parents.

International Women's Day!

On Friday, May 12, the administrative staff of the two health centers (Danja Fistula Center and the Health and Leprosy Center) organized a party for the female employees. Steve Brown gave a short speech, reading from Proverbs 31 to show how God applauds women’s creativity and hard work, and then the fun began!

There were games, an obstacle course, sack races and foot races, but the biggest crowd pleaser was probably the fashion-show style “doing impressions” of the male staff. Women dressed up and paraded in, copying gait and mannerisms. It was up to the crowd to guess who was being imitated.

Some were difficult but others were obvious. Laughter and enjoyment were in rich supply. At the end, the organizers served bread and a delicious meat sauce to the group.

Long-Time CSL Director goes to be with the Lord

Virginia (Ginny) Fridal passed away on Thursday, April 27, 2017 in Sebring, FL at the age of 86. Ginny served 42 years in Niger from 1958 – 2000. For the first 10 years she ministered as a nurse at Galmi Hospital. From 1968 – 1999 Ginny worked with the Leprosy Hospital in Danja with short treks assisting at different stations and visiting patients – sometimes via camel! Her medical and administrative skills were highly valued. She ministered as the director/nursing officer for her last16 years on the field before retiring to Sebring Retirement Village. She loved the people and ministered to both the body and the soul.

A team of electricians came for a month!

On February 16th a team of four Romanian electricians arrived in Danja to tackle the electrical needs at CSL for a month. Two of these experienced electricians also serve as pastors in their churches in Romania. They responded to a plea made by SIM missionaries Rebeca and David Beaton for electricians. Undaunted by the language barriers and never having been to Africa, they and their churches quickly banded together to raise funds to come to Niger (and to escape the bitter Romanian winter!).  Despite initially lacking some of the materials needed to begin work, their knowledge and skill have allowed them to rewire the main fuse box in each building and to re-wire all the rooms in the main dispensary building at CSL. Until about 20 years ago CSL relied upon intermittent generator power and solar power, and before that kerosene lamps and refrigerators. Since those early days the demands placed upon the power supply have mushroomed with the availability of electric autoclaves, air conditioners and refrigerators. To get a professional result, many of the supplies have had to be ordered from Niamey, but the main problem all along has been the lack of qualified electricians. 

These men are a God-send! Gradually the Romanian electrician team has tackled one problem after the next.  Rooms that were frighteningly unsafe now have grounded plugs and proper breakers. Wires arranged as masses of spaghetti are now properly organized, and loosely joined bare-wire connections are now solidly connected and safe. They were also able to determine the type and size of high-capacity distribution cable needed to meet the current needs. Unfortunately, they concluded that brown-outs and other low-voltage problems will persist until a large-capacity cable is purchased and installed. This very expensive cable needs to be purchased overseas and shipped to Niger by container. We are praying that just as the Lord provided this amazing team of electricians from Romania to serve this past month, that He will now provide the means to cover the cost of the cable and a team capable of to install it when it arrives. 

What is a Benevolent Fund?

Mariama, an older widow from Nigeria, was sitting alongside the road 4 months ago and was hit by a car. The bone of her right upper arm was broken when she was struck and she received care from local traditional bone setters. The splint placed on her arm did not align her arm properly and caused a horrible infection in the lower portion of her arm below the fracture. She came to CSL Danja for treatment of that infection. The doctor would like to send her to Zinder to see an orthopedic specialist to address her improperly aligned fracture, yet Mariama is quick to point out that she gave birth to only one child in this life and that child died, so she has no means and no one to care for her. Her wound is gradually healing in response to good nursing care and better nutrition.  As a result of physical therapy at CSL she now has some ability to move the fingers on her right hand. The CSL Benevolent Fund is often called upon to assist a patient like Mariama to pay for her care. Consider making a gift to bless patients in dire need. 

Chest Physio

Fatima* was a nice plump baby, but she had a bad respiratory infection. She hadn’t slept at all two  nights before, but now with medication and chest physio she was showing improvement. Illa, the physio-therapist, put a vibrator on her chest. “This helps loosen the mucous in her lungs,” he told me. After a minute he put the machine away and worked his way around her chest, his one hand slapping the fingers of the other stretched over her ribs. Her breathing was raspy now. Then he began reinforcing her coughing by pushing up on her diaphram (please note that I am not a medical person; these are my interpretations of his techniques). Fatima was crying in earnest, stopping only to cough and swallow. Her grandmother helped hold her in place. Illa gave me a wry grin. “The mother won’t bring her in here,” he said. He summarized, “Medicines help, but this really helps her get better faster.” Indeed, once she was up and in her grandmother’s arms, Fatima stopped crying and breathed easily. 

CSL is the only health clinic in the area that offers physical therapy.

*Name has been changed

33 Years of Trouble

Kollo has lived with the effects of leprosy for 33 years. He has been in and out of Danja for a long time. Because Danja is a center that specifically treats leprosy patients, the staff are not alarmed by the thought of interacting with patients with the disease, and there are usually three or four leprosy patients in and around the ward. It is a place where leprosy carries no stigma, so patients feel comfortable returning year after year for continuing care. Kollo was in a motor vehicle accident years ago and hurt his leg. The resulting wound, in spite of multiple skin grafts, would not heal, so recently when he came for more treatment, the infection was so advanced that he was finally sent to the government hospital in Zinder for an amputation just below the knee. Kollo is back in the Danja hospital now, eating good food, trying to reach complete healing for the stump, and working with the physical therapist to get movement back to the knee joint so that he can be outfitted with a prosthesis. He says, “I have drunk trouble for 33 years.” But he says it with a smile.