Monday, September 21, 2015

Project Hope Play House

We've had this old refrigerator box in the house since we arrived. A volunteer who supports Project Hope gave us the idea to make a house out of it.

Project Hope is the hospital department that works with all the HIV positive adults and children. The have support groups for adults and HIV clubs for the children.  

Our kids had a wonderful time painting it and playing in it. Then we took it to the playroom at Project Hope where it was a big hit. A lot of times with children the best present is the box, not what's inside.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This child came in with severe blistering cellulitis of her leg.

She was a really stoic child and never really cried, but also never really smiled... that is until she was ready to go home.

Who could resist a face like that!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Like in California and other parts of the US, shortage of water has been a huge problem for the hospital compound this year. Even though the rainy season started in March, the hospital (for unclear reasons) did not have a steady supply of water until the beginning of July. This meant only a few hours of running water every day in the hospital as well as in our house. Water would come on at about 4-5am and was sometimes out by 6am. We had a system of filling garbage cans, buckets, water bottles, etc... which took up to 45 minutes every day. No water went down the drain without being used at least 2 or 3 times. For example, we could wash vegetables, then use that water to wash dishes, and finally to flush the toilet. Water's last stop was almost always the toilet. Our whole family could make it on about 50 liters a day, maybe a bit more if it was bucket bath day!

Not having water in the hospital was even more problematic. Can you imagine being a nurse taking care of patients or a doctor on ward rounds and not being able to wash your hands? Hand sanitizer only goes so far.

Monday, August 31, 2015


We recently had a patient present with a snake bite. This patient also presented with the head of the Snake.

Rhinoceros viper (Bitis nasicornis), is quite venomous with both neuro and hemo toxins. 
Our patient luckily did well. 

The photos also show what was applied before I saw her.  Snake-stones, also known as a viper's stones, or black stones.  These are applied to the bite with the belief that the stone will neutralize or absorb the venom.  Interestingly we saw the use of this stone in Guatemala as well. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sledding in Cameroon

The rains have brought another sport to Cameroon that our children thoroughly enjoy

Monday, August 10, 2015


Recently, Austin Igelman spent a couple of months with us learning about healthcare in Cameroon.

You may remember a similar blog a year ago when his brother Sean was here. Austin and Sean are both from Brent's hometown. They are the sons of one of the Dermatologists in town. Austin will be a senior in college this fall. Both are interested in medicine as a career.

We really appreciated all the help Austin provided in the hospital, outreach clinics, Project Hope and collection of data for our ongoing HIV study.

Austin also helped with our homeschooling science program and continued our children's Ivy League extension program. (Sean went to Brown and Austin is at Yale).

Monday, July 27, 2015

Neonatal Resuscitation

We have begun classes in neonatal resuscitation.  We are doing this in the hospital and at some of our outreach clinics.  The materials, to start these classes, have come from a number of special supporters.  The staff is really enjoying the classes.  The addition of the mannequin has really helped in our scenario resuscitations. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


Since our arrival to Njinikom we have heard the following words again and again from the Sisters, from the staff and from the patients.

“Courage” and “We Are Together.”

Faces fill the mind.

Tears have flowed, warm embraces given and received.

Webs of hope, connections strengthened, and patterns intertwined.

A future not seen, another mountain to climb.

The sun sets, the sun rises. The babe cries, the mother says goodbye.

We feel alone, but we are not.

We are together. Together we have courage.

Together we continue down the path….the path that God has chosen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Morning Prayer

Fridays we have our medical education talks. 
We begin with morning prayer which includes singing.

Here is a sampling for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dr. Eugene

Dr. Eugene is a general practitioner and the Medical Director of St. Martin de Porres. He is an exceptional leader, excellent doctor, and a very good friend. He has worked at the hospital for 4 years now and is from this area so he speaks Kom, the local indigenous language.  He is also fluent in French, English, Pidgin and Fulfulde which come in quite handy.

Dr. Eugene is our HIV and TB expert. The three of us share responsibilities on the Medical, Children's and Newborn wards, as well as the outreach to 6 villages. Thank you Dr. Eugene for your expertise, dedication and especially for your friendship!

Eugene, Eunice and their two beautiful children

Eugene and his wife Eunice

Baby Daniella

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Recently we had two Belgian medical students, Xander and Peter, here for three months. We really enjoy having medical students learn and work at the hospital. They help us with patient care, we enjoy teaching, and they end up having an unforgettable, life changing experience.  

Right is Peter, Left is Xander

Friday, May 1, 2015


Synthia, a 13 year old girl, presented to the hospital after about a month of fevers and abdominal pain. On physical exam, a right upper quadrant mass could be felt. Ultrasound (thank you Micromaxx) showed a number of masses that appeared to be abscesses. Needle aspiration revealed fluid consistent with amoebas.  She was taken to the operating room and over 1 liter of pus was removed.  She did very well post operatively and this picture is about 1 month after discharge.

needle aspiration fluid
liver amoebas

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kite Flying

The rains have come, the mountains are green and there is a bit of wind for kite flying!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


We had a special Easter.

Two of the mission families with Lay Mission Helpers came to Njinikom to spend Easter with us. We had a wonderful time together and special fellowship as we shared these most holy days together.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Achain is one of our outreach clinics.   We go there once a month during the dry season. During the height of the rainy season, the roads are impassable except by motorcycles. It takes 2-4 hours to get there by truck depending on the condition of the roads. We work the day and then travel about one hour back toward Njinikom and stay the night in Ilung.  The next day we work in Ilung and then head back to Njinikom.

There is no electricity and no cell phone reception. Light is only by "bush lamp" which is a kerosene lantern. We have a portable ultrasound that we use for patients with various complaints and for those who are pregnant. We are able to use the ultrasound battery, but this limits us to about 7 ultrasounds before the battery runs out. Many of the patients travel from even more remote villages for our once a month visit. Achain was able to connect the US to a generator and run it during one of our visits so that everyone who needed an ultrasound could have one. The connection was a bit precarious!

Recently, a very special Dutch friend of St. Martin De Porres, Peter van Leerdam, provided solar lighting for Achain. This provides a much more reliable, safe power source.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The hospital continues to be very busy.

We were blessed to have Drs. Greg Shay and Juliane Intek here this last month to help out. Dr. Greg is a newly retired pediatric pulmonologist from the Bay Area. Dr. Juliane is an almost finished pediatric resident from Germany. We kept them busy with the pediatric patients, sick newborns and prematures and learned a lot from them. When they weren’t busy with children, they stretched the age limits of pediatrics and helped out on the adult wards. Their oldest patient was just 104!

They also helped with our outreach clinics, continuing medical education talks (here and at the neighboring Baptist Hospital at Mbingo), and with screening exams at the children’s HIV clinic, the vaccine clinic, and at the orphanage.

Greg also taught the staff how to put in an intraosseous line.  This life saving device and technique can allow us to give medications, blood and fluids when we are not able to obtain intravascular access.

Thank you Drs. Greg and Juliane.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The last month has been busy.  We have been going to the hospital's 6 out reach clinics and saw about 100 patients at our last village.

The hospital is busy, as well, with call every night for the last month.  There is a predominance of females and again we see so many times it is the women who suffer disproportionally in the developing world. 

During our time in the states, one of our favorite patients, Dublaise died.  He had suffered so much with AIDS, Tuberculosis and the various complications associated with his illnesses, may he rest in peace.   We feel blessed to have been part of this boy's life.  We pray that we may be able to help prevent these illnesses in the future and to have the fortitude and grace to be able to continue to care for the others who have similar illnesses.

This photo is school children waiting to be seen at Ilung, one of our outreach clinics.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Both Sides Now

In Njinikom the clouds are so beautiful, the contrasts are so profound.

Friday, January 30, 2015

This is Africa

This video has many of the other volunteers from our sister organization, LMH.  We are so blessed to have been able to come to know these incredible families.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We are the World

The following videos are a reflection at our midway point, here in Njinikom.
We hope you enjoy them.

We Are The World
This video has some of the visitors who have come to help us.  It really is a “Thank You” to all the people that support us here in Njinikom.  Your support helps so many, so many you will never see, so many whose lives are touched for…….. forever.