May 22, 2016
The months are flying by, and it is time for another update.
We are well into the rainy season now, and the world is green again! The dust that I talked about in my last post has greatly diminished. Now we have plenty of mud. 🙂
I celebrated Easter in Ngaoundéré. The week after Easter, the Lutheran Institute of Theology in Meiganga and OSEELC (Oeuvre de Santé of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon) held our third annual seminar on palliative care. Palliative care is a holistic approach to relieving suffering and enhancing quality of life for terminally-ill patients. This approach has been around for a long time already in Europe and in the U.S. (where we call it hospice care), but in Africa, it is still relatively new, and it is much needed! There are not yet very many hospitals in Cameroon with professionals trained in this approach, so it is good that the Lutheran church here is taking the lead. (They are able to do this with substantial help from partners in Norway at the hospital of the University of Trondheim).
The setting for the seminar this year was at the Lutheran hospital in Ngaoundéré, with teaching sessions held in the church building of the hospital congregation. It was a very interesting and enriching event, with participants including doctors, nurses, and chaplains from the church’s health care system, along with our students from the Institute and from the Bible school in Meng.
Presenters of the seminar on palliative care / some students with their certificates of completion
In other news…. Since the beginning of March, I have been blessed to have an American colleague here in Meiganga, the Rev. Dr. Kristine Ruffatto. She teaches Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Saskatoon, Canada, and decided to spend her sabbatical semester teaching here at the Institute through the ELCA’s global sabbatical program. She and her husband, Scott, were missionaries in the Central African Republic in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s, so she already spoke French fluently and was familiar with this part of Africa. She will be leaving us this week to go back to the U.S., and then back to Canada. We will miss her, but we are very grateful for the time she has been able to spend with us.
Kristine with her husband Scott, who came for a visit after Easter / Kristine teaching
The second semester is winding down, but there is still much work to do… This week is the last week of classes, then there is a week of preparation for exams, then final exams, then finishing students will have an oral defense of their “mémoires” (like senior papers). The graduation ceremony will be June 26.
Soon after that I will be heading back to the U.S. for “home assignment,” during which I will have the opportunity to visit many of the congregations who sponsor me, as well as spend some time with family and friends. I am looking forward to it, and hope to see many of you who read this blog soon!
+ Grace and peace +