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End of February 2012 Mission in Lusambo PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:10

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Made in Hungary

The other day we were operating in a small village hospital on the edge of the primeval forest. We use infusion liquid for the I/A procedure in ophthalmic operations. I look at the plastic infusion bag, and believe or not, it is marked „Made in Hungary”! You can imagine how proudly I showed it off to our nurses! Some years ago I bought a Nokia phone in Kinshassa. I needed a new one, as the old one had gone a little berserk. The tropical heat must have unhinged its brains. I was served by a Lebanese guy in the shop. “Buy this Nokia, it is European quality! “Don’t tell me! Can I see it?” He was right. The original label read: Made in Hungary! Naturally I bought it. It worked for seven years; you could do anything with it, stroke or punch it, drop it or throw it around… Of course, I told everyone that my phone was made in Hungary!The other day, our surgical instrument stopped working. Here, at the edge of the forest it is no good to call the relevant service centre. There is none. One has to solve the problem oneself. So I opened the machine and kept looking at it, cleaning it, and ‘lo and behold, I see that the cooling fan is „Made in Hungary”! Evidently the spare part was manufactured in Hungary, taken to the US, where it was mounted into the machine, then the whole caboodle was sent back to Europe and from there to the Congo, where it is used to cool the electronics… Needless to say, the fault was not in the fan. About ten years ago, if one went to the market here in Mbuji Mayi to buy light bulbs, the only make you could get practically anywhere was TUNGSRAM. It seemed as if that was the only brand in the whole wide world. I used to tell the vendors, “Look, you are selling Hungarian Tungsram bulbs in Mbuji Mayi! Do you think there are any Congolese goods on the Hungarian markets??” Since then they have disappeared from here, and all kinds of Osram and Chinese junk are sold instead. It is such a nice feeling to keep thinking about faraway Hungary. And how very nice it would be, instead of telephones and light bulbs, to be able to get some home-made smoked bacon and sausage! Let alone a good glass of white wine from the Balaton!!
Br Richard

The village witch.

Médard, our professional ophthalmic assistant was on mission one day in an out-of-the-way village. He examined lots of blind people. River blindness is still rife around there. All of a sudden he came upon a young 35-ish woman. “Bilateral cataract. This woman can be cured”, he told the elders, standing around him, especially the village chief. “That is impossible, she is a witch. Anyone, who goes blind so early in life, has something to hide, something is not right there! After all, even those with river blindness can see at that age! And anyway, the whole village knows she is a witch, even her husband has left her! She only ekes out a living with her two children.” “And I’m telling you, we can cure her! The next time there is an ophthalmic mission in Lusambo, send her downriver, and you’ll find out!

Originally, still blind in both eyes.That is how the young woman was waiting in Lusambo already on the first day. A pirogue had brought her; Nurse Médard paid her fare, as the woman doesn’t have anything.

After the operation on the right eye with professional assistant Médard

With her children, what joy

Prior to the operation on the left eye

...and after the operation...

One day’s operated patients.

I can see!!!

She was overjoyed after the operations. When we took the bandage off after the second procedure, she was full of gratitude and thanks. Then the woman disappeared. I don’t know the end of the story. Most likely she ran home to her village to pre: I CAN SEE AGAIN, I’M NOT A WIRCH! Next time we shall visit her village. What a good advertisement she will be for the other patients!!!
Lusambo Mission, February 2012.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 11:47

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