Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Celebrating 60 Years

The second part of the many activities of last week was the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Protestant Hospital in GB along with the rededication of the same after major renovations. 

Anne Langdji, ELCA Regional Rep and Jean Luc Blanc, Defap Rep (CAR Partner)
 LOTS of people came:  government officials – the governor, sous-prefet, mayor; Partners: ELCA’s Area Program Director, the two Area Representatives, five pastors (including the Bishop) from South Dakota, two CAR ELCA missionaires currently living in Cameroon (yes, I’m one), the National Bishop from Cameroon and many Lutheran pastors, long-term missionary and supporter of the Lutheran Churches in Cameroon and CAR Jim Noss, some CAR partners, hospital staff and their families, merchants from town, local residents.  I couldn’t begin to name them all.
Here’s a pictures of Dr. Solofo talking to the gathering.  A choir of the children of employees sang –in French and English, with hand gestures included!  They were great.

There was a Lutheran liturgy to start the day followed by various speakers.  I was most impressed with Jim Noss’ talk since he was present when the hospital started and helped carry bricks as the walls were built.  He certainly gave a clear perspective of the history.  He comes from a missionary family and went to school at the ELCA boarding school which is now the School for the Teaching of Theology and the Bible. 

Several workers and retirees were honored and gifts were presented to honored guests. Here’s a pictures I snapped as they were organizing all hospital workers and partners to get a photo.  I also took a picture of boys being “kings for a moment” as they sat on stacks of chairs that were being collected after the service to go to the luncheon.  I have seen kids do that in Pittsburgh!  I think it is universal – find a stack of chairs and sit up high!

After the service, we shook the hands of hospital staff and then had a tour of the facilities.  There is a beautiful new plaque to mark the re-dedication/anniversary.  Later the hospital provided a luncheon for many guests.  It had to be held in two locations because no one place would hold us all!

It’s interesting that they have announcements on the hospital wall in three languages, French, Gbaya, and Arabic.  This picture shows fines people must pay if they deface wall, but also if they urinate or defecate anywhere outside of the latrine.  (Some problems we have and others, less so!) 

I got a new outfit for the occasion.  I think it is a bit ironic that the Mayor of Baboua wore a western style dress and I wore an African one! 

May the hospital continue its vital work for many years into the future. 

Note:  My thanks to Pastors Trish and Jess from South Dakota who contributed so that I could buy a new thermos.  I was carrying my full, relatively-new 3-liter one when the handle came off and the innards shattered as it fell.  Fortunately, I was outside so the hot water soaked into the ground!  I bought a new, non-breakable thermos that even permits me to have two different hot liquids for a total of 4 liters.  Merci beaucoup!

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