Share, Learn, Serve, Have Fun! This is OSEELC Week in Garoua Boulai. OSEELC is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroons Health Services organization. The church has three hospitals (in Garoua Boulai, N’Gaoundéré, and Ngaoubela) and numerous clinics in smaller towns. This is the fifth year that they have all met together in one place for OSEELC Week.
The purpose is for health care workers to get to know each other, share information and experiences; to serve the local community, and to engage in sports and other fun activities. Yesterday morning was the opening worship service (even though people arrived the day before and there were some activities then). I was invited to this opening as was the mayor, sous-prefet and other notables. (OK, I listed me first, but I wasn’t the most important… I am not participating in most other activities as I work with education and not health services.)
Health workers from each region had clothing made from the same material. Two of the hospital choirs prepared songs to share. The service was held in the courtyard (or maybe we would say the parking lot if there were more cars that came to the hospital). It was a beautiful, sunny day – most of them are now since it is the dry season. Cloth canopies were set up to create shade for participants.
Dr. Solofo Rakotoarivelo, Director of the hospital in GB, welcomed everyone. Various pastors participated and the Regional Bishop, Ndjidere Ngimbe Nestor, preached. I was happy to see that during communion, two women and two men distributed the elements. (I am obviously haveing trouble getting pictures and text to do what I want in this blog. Sigh. At least you can see both - and extra white space.)
Before the service, I stood with Dr. Simon Aroga, Director of the OSEELC. He introduced me to various people as the person who had helped them improve their yearly planning documents! People from all areas had heard of me. (Wow. I had helped Dr. Solofo and Betrogo Jacob reorganize the document they already had and to make its objectives reflex what they wanted for people in the area. This document was then used as a model for the other hospitals. The hospital in GB had done the lion’s share of the work; still, the combined effort and cooperation has strengthened the work OSEELC is doing.) At service ended with a parade of workers. Here are three pictures of participating regions.
Activities this week include free clinics to test for HIV, High Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. Other hospitals brought workers to provide dental and eye clinics, services which are only periodically available in GB.
Areas also have teams that are competing in soccer and volleyball tournaments. Did you notice that the N’gaoundéré team had already won a medal and were showing it off during the parade?
Participants are also eating together and finding ways to relax and have fun.
For a week or so we have been having daily periods without electricity. For the past three days it has started about 4 a.m. (That means if you have an electric hot water heater and want to take a hot shower, do it in the evening and don’t wait until the morning!) Power comes back so that things in the fridge/freezer (for those of us fortunate enough to have them) don’t spoil or defrost. At least the electricity is back by dark. A couple of people told me workers are replacing poles or doing some kinds of repairs that require the power to be shut off. Fortunately, my computer has a battery and I have a solar lamp. We adjust…
A friend gave me a palette of eggs (30 of them!). So I have started my Christmas baking early. I made the equivalent of 5 pumpkin pies which I have been sharing with friends. I want to make Ginger Snaps, one of my favorite cookies, and am thinking of making eggnog for a party next week. I think I will have enough eggs!
News about CAR and its elections in the next entry – once the power is back and I can recharge the computer…