We prayed for favor and God answered.
Yesterday, Roy and I met with the Ministry of Health (MOH). He was welcoming but hurried --not so much looking for information but ready to give it.
He started in Portuguese but once he understood my language skills were limited, he kindly switched to English.
After explaining that they (The MOH) were happy to reopen the clinic in partnership with Maforga Mission, he introduced us to his assistant who will be handling things from now on.
The assistant will be writing on my behalf so I can get my degrees recognized and eventually get my midwifery license to work here legally. This is huge... but still might take a lot of time.
--Please pray that it goes through quickly.
Also, the MOH assistant was happy to hear the clinic was larger than he expected, and immediately offered to come this morning to do a quick inspection.
What is more, the main director will be coming to inspect it in two weeks!
When Roy and I learned of these visits, both of us shared a long, humored smile. But neither of us said a word.
I don’t know about Roy, but personally all I could do was think of how dusty the clinic had become over the last six months (after the clinic maid was let go).
Had the bats moved in with the termites? I was not sure.
So naturally, my first call once I left the meeting was to see how many helpers we could get to start cleaning it! Ha ha.
Since I had school, I couldn’t come for myself, but I’m told most of the staff at Maforga turned out and ‘got stuck in it’, as Trish was pleased to explain later that night.
Even now as I watch the sun paint a pale pink in the East, I’m eager to go pray over the building and inspect it myself.
Oh Lord... What do you have planned for this? It looks so much bigger than what I expected. So excited. I’m ready to do all that You ask. May Your will be done.
More to come...
.... the next day.
They came. They saw. They appeared to like it.
But after the meeting... I’m not sure what to think. I’m confused.
They seem ready to use the facilities, provide drugs, and offer some nursing staff. But we would then have the responsibility to lodge them, pay all the other facility staff, and maintain the grounds (which would include several renovations according to them).
But what they offered is what is available at the government clinic minus any of the government finances. When I suggested this be a semi-private clinic, they didn’t seem to understand the concept.
When I explained my ideas, they seemed out of their depths but promised to discuss it with the higher-ups and get back to me.
In this country, there are private clinics and there are government clinics. So far as I can tell there are no... how shall I say it... inbetweeners.
If you get sick, you have one of two choices; government or private.
A private clinic might be modern with lots of fancy equipment, but it will cost you 800 mtn (roughly $25 dollars, or over a weeks salary for a day-laborer) for a consultation. Add to that all your medicines and your run-of-the-mill case of malaria might cost you over $40 bucks to treat.
Nevertheless, the benefits of going to a private clinic are many. Not to mention, you get fast, friendly service in air-conditioned rooms.
What’s not to like?
However, the government run clinics are different. By law, they can only charge you 5 mtn (or roughly $1.50) for a consultation. This includes all your medicines which are heavily subsidized by only heaven-knows-who.
The drawback is it might take hours to be seen. And once it is your turn, the overworked staff demands a bribe before he’ll pick up a pen. If you don’t pay, you are not seen.
However even after you’ve waited the hours and paid the bribe, you still might not leave with any medicine. Often the clinics are out of stock (since the government drugs are being sold on the black market).
So in the end, what can a government nurse do for you? She can write you a prescription and send you on your way. It will then be up to you to buy what you need on the black market or at a fancy pharmacy.
No wonder so few people are willing to go.
Some people have told me they would rather die at home than go through the hassle of all this, only to be turned away.
Can you blame them?
What I suggested to the ministry of health is different in scope... but they might have their hand’s tied. I’m not sure if they will or can allow it. But I pray they do.
The details of it will come at a later date. I don’t have the heart to share it right now.
But please know... that if ever there was a time to be praying, it is now.
I need wisdom. I need clear direction. I need continued favor and... well... frankly, I need anything that God deems right.
Also pray that whatever the Ministry of Health recommends next would be in the best interest of the people, and that I would remain flexible in it all.