Dear Friends and Supporters,
Recently, I learned an African proverb: A Bashful Beggar Has An Empty Bowl*
Often, when telling a new person about Kateri Medical Services, someone will ask: “Are you a doctor?” And my answer is always: “No. I am a beggar.” I beg my American friends to help us pay doctors and nurses and midwives and lab technicians to serve people who cannot afford to pay for medical care. I beg on behalf of the rural and urban poor in Nigeria who live on less than $2 per day. And I try my best to be a non-bashful beggar. Why? Because it is a matter of life and death for many of the people we serve.
The biggest challenges of this past year has been the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria and an extended multi-year economic crisis was that left many unemployed in a hopeless situation. Hopelessness leads many people to desperate measures for survival. Kidnapping is rampant in almost all parts of Nigeria and has increased dramatically in the past year. Marauding gangs of young men terrorize rural villages. Tensions over grazing land between nomadic cattle herders and indigenous farming communities often erupt into bloody attacks and counter-attacks. Federal government attempts to crack down on these excesses have been largely unsuccessful because the kidnapping gangs are more heavily armed than the Nigerian army. All of our clinics have been affected by these violent realities and yet, they have found ways to continue the work despite the challenges. Here are a few of the highlights.
We have been greatly blessed in recent years with generous donors who are giving us funds to build new clinics. And we are deeply grateful for these donations to our General Fund. This is good news that is followed by challenging news.
We have completed the roofing structure on the clinic.
Many of the people our clinics serve are in rural areas where there is no other medical facility available. Many of the people who visit our clinics do so as a last resort, after trying traditional healing methods and rituals - which is all they have ever known). Trained medical doctors are a new idea to many of these people. Often they come reluctantly, after all other methods have failed.
The following account is reported by Dr. Kenneth Ayenge , who is the lead doctor at the Arthur and Esther Bradley Memorial Anglican Hospital in Gidan Waya (Diocese of Kafanchan).