Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Beautiful Faces at Shammah Health Center

Today we have a Guest Post written by Nadine, Medical Director of Shammah Health Center

Shammah Health Center is a special place. A place where our community is beginning to feel like they belong. A place of laughter, of joy, of hope, of sadness sometimes, of peace, and of healing. As we have almost seen 2000 patients, many of them returning, we are developing beautiful relationships within our community.
Beautiful Irakoze
Irakoze is a woman who came to Shammah Health Center with a breast infection after visiting many other clinics and hospitals and finding no cure. She doesn’t just have a breast infection, her entire breast is a tumour and it is still spreading. We had to tell her that she has end-stage cancer. She doesn’t have long to live. She is a Muslim woman, but knowing Shammah Health Center is a Christian clinic, she still came. On her initial visit, we asked her if we could pray with her. She said no. When she returned for a follow-up appointment, we asked her again, and she said yes. During the next visit, she not only said yes to prayer but she asked if we could pray for her whenever we think of her. I don’t know how long she has to live, but I know she was led to Shammah for a reason.

Baby Shakuru, earlier in the day before he passed away.
So tiny and beautiful

Shakuru. This tiny baby is the smallest person I have ever laid eyes on. He was extremely premature, but had been born 2 weeks prior and had survived that long in his little, under-developed body. His mama brought him in as he was having difficulty breathing. We stabilized him and after keeping him under observation for the day, he was about to be transferred to Kibuye hospital when he stopped breathing. We did CPR for 20 minutes and then he passed away. After closer inspection, we could see that this baby had severe disabilities and deformities that would have made his life very difficult. He is now with Jesus. This is the sixth baby his mother has lost as for some reason she is not able to bear children to full-term. This is devastating for the family. They named him Shakuru, which means “thankful.” We prayed with the family and comforted them however we could. I only pray that God used us to be a comfort to her in this time of extreme loss.

Mattias is a man with a parasite in his foot that got so infected, he lost his baby toe and developed wounds so serious we thought he may need a partial amputation of his foot. We wanted to transfer him to Kibuye hospital for surgery but he kept saying: “No, you guys can fix it!” We thought that was a sweet thing to say but it wouldn’t ever happen. However, with regular dressing changes at Shammah Health Center his foot is almost completely healed. He no longer needs to be transferred for surgery. Seeing Mattias has been one of the many joys of our work weeks.
Deborah, our little miracle
Little Deborah – The baby who choked on the orange seed and we revived… Her mother came back to pay her debt and brought Deborah for a visit. She is a thriving, happy, beautiful baby! A little miracle. Seeing her again was special for the whole Shammah team! Her mother said to me: “I had lost all hope. You saved my baby’s life.” Those are words that will stick with me the rest of my life. God is so good.

Shalissa – Baby Shammah as we like to call her….The first baby born at Shammah Health Center. Her mother, Pascalia, has been using our medical services for her family and is paying off her debts through our work program. She is such a hard worker and does it with such joy. She has been a huge asset in contributing to land clearing for our malnutrition program. And it is a treat to be able to see this family throughout the week and watch baby Shammah grow!

The first mama that joined our debt work program walked almost 2 hours one way just to pay us a visit and thank us for the time that we allowed her to be treated and pay her debt off by working later. This was a really moving experience for her, enough that she made this long journey just to thank us and bring us a basket of green bananas from her garden. 

These are a few of the most memorable stories I have to share from the last couple of months. It has been incredible to watch Shammah Health Center grow into the vision that God gave me for it much faster than I had expected. It has been the most beautiful story to be a part of.

Thank you for all your support and prayers.

You can read the original article and more of Nadine's writing on her Blog

Thursday, 3 July 2014

End of term...

The past few weeks have been a busy time for Burundi Youth For Christ, especially in regards to Gitega International Academy, which wrapped up their school year and sent the kids home for the summer. There will be a lot of construction work going on at GIA over the next couple of months as we prepare to add a new grade to the school. We are currently working on securing funds for the construction, and the process will begin shortly so as to be done by the start of the next academic year.

We are also saying goodbye to many of our long and short term volunteers who are heading back home, some to stay and some will only be gone for a season, but they will be dearly missed regardless. Our terrific headmaster of two years left near the beginning of the month, and we are in need of a new headmaster for the coming year. As well as some of our wonderful teachers and aids who are returning home to pursue the next chapter of their lives. We are sorry to see them go, but we are keeping them in our prayers that they will be blessed as they move on with their lives.

Alongside the end of the school year, we have begun the Bujumbura GIA summer classes that are taking place here at the BYFC Office. We have had a few short time volunteers come in already to teach music, bible and hygiene classes, and we eagerly await to see what the next volunteer teachers will have to offer these students.

It is crazy to see GIA add a grade 10 class to the school as it seems like only yesterday that the first grade 7 and 8 classes started at the school. GIA has grown so quickly in such a short period of time, and the kids have as well. It is so apparent that many of the students will indeed become the future leaders of Burundi because many of them are driven, hard-working, bold in their faith, and have a knack for leadership. We wait in anticipation to see the men and women that will come from Gitega International Academy, and the change they will incite within their nation.

We ask that you would keep BYFC in your prayers as we continue to teach the GIA students throughout the summer. That they would be driven and eager to learn even in the midst of their summer break.

May God Bless you all, and thank you for keeping BYFC close to your hearts