Thursday, February 3, 2011

#22 The Past, the Present and the Future

I asked a couple weeks ago for help funding our treatments for Burkitt’s Lymphoma. The response was overwhelming. There’s such incredible generosity out there. I now feel that I have enough to treat my Burkitt’s kids for a long time to come. Thank you!!!

(As a quick aside, the medical director for the entire region called me today asking if he could put the word out to all the other directors and start sending me kids from all across the country, since we’re the only hospital in the country who even has the treatment, let alone is giving it away for free.)
I’m now going to push the limits of your generosity...
After lengthy discussions with the Adventist Health International - Tchad board, the president of Adventist Health International in America, multiple local meetings with the administrator, the mayor, the director of the district, the medical director for the district, the medical director for the region, the head nurse, the head of the lab, the accountant, the neighbor's dog (but he didn't speak English OR French), a mosquito in the kitchen (talk about an unproductive conversation!), my two-year-old son (who was too stubborn to consider a second point-of-view), and after talking to a three broken down vehicles (which made for even poorer conversation), I think we have prioritized our projects at this point.
All of our projects have one of two goals: Increase evangelism or increase revenue for the hospital (so we can continue funding projects ourselves to further evangelize). Increasing revenue makes the hospital much more self-sufficient.
We would like to build a private ward with fourteen rooms. We could easily charge 5000 Central African Francs (about $10) for each room for each NIGHT. This is compared to the normal charge for patients of 2000 CFA/week. (That's right, you can be hospitalized in Africa for a WEEK for $4!!!)
The first estimate for the job is 14,825,300 CFA, or $29,650.60. That seems like a lot of money, but when you consider that it could generate another $140/night (14 rooms at $10/night), it would pay for itself in about seven months. And an extra $140/night could pay the salary of an additional cashier, pharmacist, lab tech, a couple security guards and several more nurses. (NONE of our nurses earn more than $5000/year and the other employees all earn even less, except the administrator.)
We are very excited about what's going on here at the hospital. We arrived December 12. At the start we weren't sure how we would stay busy, and we were home by noon most days. In the month of January, we set a record for the most surgeries in a month at the hospital. I haven't seen the numbers, but I'm told that we've had more Emergency Room visits and hospitalized patients on maternity, surgery, medicine and pediatrics than ever before. In fact, we have run out of beds and patients are sleeping on the veranda outside. We have been postponing surgeries for days, because we don't have a bed to put them into after the surgery. Needless to say, we are keeping very busy. Now, we don't know how we'll keep up with things with just two of us and have decided that we will give up Danae's salary for a third doctor, if we can find one.
Patients are coming from all across the country, literally. They're flooding in daily from Moundou (the second-largest city, three hours away), from N'Djamena (six to twelve hours away, the capital and largest city), from Cameroon (a neighboring country), from Sudan (another neighboring country), from Libya/Algeria/Tunisia (but only one patient per each of those countries, unless I'm forgetting some) and from northern and eastern Tchad (a strongly Muslim region several days driving away). They're coming to see the gynecologist (infertility, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, menometrorrhagia, pregnancy ultrasounds, fistulas, prolapses, etc). They're coming to get ultrasounds. They're coming to receive the medications we give for free. (For example, we're the only place in the country with the medications to treat Burkitts Lymphoma, a highly-aggressive, highly-treatable cancer that quickly kills little kids without a very expensive medication, which is donated to us by many very generous individuals.) They're coming to have prostatectomies, nephrectomies, orthopedics surgeries, herniorrhaphies, hydrocelectomies, orchiectomies, masses removed, and any of the many other surgeries we offer. Word is getting out and many people are coming and telling us that they have arrived because they have heard of all the good things we are doing. (In reality, it's the things that God is doing!!!) We are receiving many patients of great influence, political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, etc.
Everyone who comes here is shocked at how humble our hospital is. It's not updated or modern. We don't have any fancy equipment. We don't have any amenities. We are frill-less. We're in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. But they've heard that there's a special healing power here. (We're just beginning to learn how to explain to them from Whom that healing power comes.) And after receiving care here, they are all convinced that the hospital will only continue to grow.
So, I'm fundraising. I'm asking for the money to start building our 14-bed private ward. It's a big number, roughly $2000/room. But it's all in the name of self-sufficiency. Just this week, the staff asked why we couldn't ask for money from America to give them raises. (They are paid less than their government-employed counterparts, who work less.) I explained that we can't ask for donations for ongoing costs, only for one-time projects. And the projects that increase our revenue make us more able to evangelize and to provide higher-quality care.
Perhaps you can't fund the entire project, but perhaps you can help out. Perhaps you can fund an entire room. Or maybe even several. Or maybe you can fund the entire thing. I am going to ask several people/organizations, but please don't assume that the other person/organization will fund it. Obviously, we'd love for the funding to all come from one source and we can name the building after one source. But if need be, we'll be happy to name the rooms individually.
Pray for the most Godly use of His money. Pray that we will spend it wisely. Pray that God finds ways to multiply His money, from the largest gift right down to the widow's mite.
As always, feel free to ask me any questions you have.  Mom's note.  There are many international calling cards that can be used.  Remember that Olen and Danae's phones are cells so that alters the cost/minute.  We call them weekly and it works.  Call after 12 noon EST (will be 6 PM in Bere).  Remember once your calling numbers/pin numbers are dial 011 for international, then 235 for Chad.  They would love to hear you.  Email works great, most of the time.  Again, no music, video, pictures , cutesy forwards, etc.  They get messages that are less than 250 k.
You will notice on our blog,, that we have a link for donations. This is through Adventist Health International’s website. Please keep in mind that AHI takes 10% of the donation for administrative costs. However, AHI also provides us with invaluable support, and we believe strongly in the mission of AHI. We feel that AHI is an organization worth supporting. And remember that your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
Olen Tigo: +235 98 07 46 28
Olen Zain: +235 62 16 04 93
Danae Tigo: +235 98 07 46 27
Danae Zain: +235 62 17 04 80
Olen et Danae Netteburg
Hopital Adventiste de Bere
52 Boite Postale
Kelo, Tchad
Volunteers Welcome!!!

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