“Bonjour” from Tara. Here are her reflections upon returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Tim, Kathy and I arrived safely back in Vanga on December 6th along with the Potters, a family who were missionaries in Vanga a few years ago. There was a large reception to welcome us at the ‘airport’ in Vanga, including a few of my sage-femme students.
I spent our first few days back in Vanga getting settled into my new (to me) house and unpacking. I began working again and have spent most of this week working on the finances for ISTM. I was gone from Vanga for 9 weeks and have a lot to get caught up on with the finances before Christmas break begins on the 22nd.
I have met with my sage-femme students twice since returning. In the time that I was gone, most of them attended between 10 and 15 births. A few students had births with complications and they handled them well. One student had a baby that required resuscitation at the health center, but this health center had no resuscitation bag or mask available. She gave the baby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation through a cloth. The baby responded to the resuscitation and was then transferred to the hospital in Vanga for closer monitoring. The family of this mother and newborn sought out my student and the supervisor that was with her that day to thank them for saving the baby’s life. The nurses at the health center were also grateful for my student’s presence because they would have been unable to resuscitate the baby themselves because they didn’t know how. I am so proud of how much these students have grown in the last few months and am excited to see where they are when they finish the stage de perfectionnement in just 4 weeks.
While I was home, I attended two trainings. One was on obstetric and GYN ultrasonography and the other was Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), a newborn resuscitation course for countries with limited resources. The HBB training was all review for me as I was certified in NRP while working at Mercy, but during the training they also trained us on how to train others. I am excited to use this knowledge to train the nurses at the health centers how to appropriately resuscitate newborns. I was also able to order resuscitation supplies and ship them to Germany so that the missionaries that will be coming to us in January can bring them to Vanga for me. Each health center that our students work with will then be able to have a resuscitation bag and mask available to them for future births.
We made Christmas cookies with a visiting family who were missionaries in Vanga a few years ago. We had to re-powder the powdered sugar because the humidity made it clumpy. We also used turmeric to make the yellow and green frosting since all we had available was blue food coloring.”