An update regarding Doctors on Mission-Bolivia:
Here finally; an update on the situation of DM – Bolivia; the country were DM started our first medical evangelistic outreach more than 20 years ago. While I was working in Haiti, Willy, (a good friend of mine from Belgium who is a pastor and civil engineer), went to follow up on the work in Bolivia.
He accomplished several things. He followed up on the progress of construction of our medical mission base in South Bolivia (Tarija). I also asked him to have a good look at our Hospital Truck (regarding our vision to move this truck to Haiti). The truck is a kind of reformed RV that also contains a lab, pharmacy, examination table, shower, small kitchen, and air conditioning. The marvelous thing is that we have 6 solar panels built on the roof that provide electricity and makes refrigeration and the lab work possible. Also, the Haitian roads will better fit the truck than the Bolivian roads.
This 70-year healthy and courageous pastor and engineer made a more than excellent outreach. Below are some experts from his report from the field.
“What touches me most is the amazing commitment and sacrifices of the medical team of DM Bolivia. They visited the Western mountainous regions (the Andes) where the Inca tribes live and also the Eastern regions (the Chaco) where the Guarani tribe live. They are also building on the outskirts of Tarija (250.000 people) a medical mission base. The ground floor is almost finished but it is obvious that they have still a big financial challenge before them to finish the second floor.
“We drove on dusty and bumpy mountain roads with an ambulance and a jeep. The group consisted of 3 MD’s, 1 dentist, 1 pastor. We went over a mountain pass…13123 feet high! Finally, we arrived at the DM medical center in Paicho Sud at a hight of 9000 feet. A completely remote region.
“In a small hamlet, the doctors consulted for hours and hours. Dr. Ino is from there… It amazes me that a boy from the mountains could become a Medical Doctor and reach out again to his own people thanks to the support he received through the Flemish doctor Rik Celie. And believe me, I am aware that I have only seen a fraction of the sacrifices made by these doctors and their helpers…
“Next day, we went to Condor Huasi. This was an enormous travel adventure. We were bumping and shocking all the way long on very steep and narrow mountain roads… We drove through rivers… The people clearly knew the doctors and gave them some hot food. Then, they stopped and again we were sitting there for hours of consultations. Dr. Oscar decided to hike even further (a foot through a river with high water). He reached the mountain people on the other side and took care of them. He came back completely wet from the river waters.
Suddenly, there was a rain storm in the mountains. Waters came down from 14,000 feet high and rivers became really swollen… The water was standing dangerously high. But despite this situation, the 4 by 4’s went through these rivers when they returned. The roads were narrow, steep, muddy and skidding. On top of it, we almost couldn’t see anything as the clouds covered everything as a thick fog hanging around us. I was amazed to see these Doctor’s skills and knowledge to drive through all of this. Sometimes, these muddy roads uncovered pits and the danger of mudslides was all around. Finally at 11:45 PM, we were back at our base. I was not afraid, but yes, I said some prayers.
“In the night, there were strong gusts and then suddenly a clear bright sky with stars so bright…impossible to see this in Western Europe. My heart was singing: ‘O Lord, my God, when I see the sky in wonder….’
“We went also to Potreras where many children were brought to us and the Doctors did a perfect job, taking even weight, measuring them, diagnosing and treating them like they were just in a ‘Child Health Care Center’ in Belgium… Everything was recorded. Everybody got also his own ‘medical card.’ All was tracked and then the doctors went back (exhausted) to the base…and once on the base deep in the night again patients were waiting for them. What an effort!!!”
I can sum up the situation of Doctors on Mission Bolivia as follows…
The “South Base” works just fine! It’s true that we need still funds to further build the medical mission base but we can freely work out all our expeditions.
From the “Amazon base”, threats continue…These threats are of course completely illegal but this does not diminish the fact that I keep being a target to extort money.
We are quite sure now that the next step will be to raise a very small but efficient medical base in Santa Cruz. This base will serve as a “springboard” to serve not only the unreached regions in the State of Santa Cruz but in the long run, it will enable us to get back in the Amazon.
Thanks to God’s plan, we will not lose money… On the contrary, we will gain and use it for our expeditions and for our small base in Santa Cruz.
We are looking for Christian “partners” who could partially occupy and maintain our Andes base. We may sell parts too, but be assured that all the money that comes in will be put again towards our medical expeditions, building clinic, diagnostic tools, etc..
At the moment, Romulo (our guide for 20 years and pastor) is doing a huge effort to reach the Azurduy region. His heart goes completely out to his own region where he was born. We also have contacts with doctors and dentists who are willing to help us on a voluntary basis or for a “love offering”. This is to further help the people where DM formerly worked very hard and where in fact the work of DM started.
To conclude, I want to ask your prayers to bring the Hospital Truck to Haiti. I published this request on Facebook under “Mission Doctors.”
As already mentioned… a lot is going on in N. Pakistan but this is a very sensitive issue due to the Internet. It’s my intention to go to Pakistan again when able and to see what we can do further and work out. This traveling will not be without danger… So, it’s evident that I would appreciate your prayers for this too…