Thursday, September 15, 2016

Life As A Missionary Daughter of Charity

I have been very busy with patient care and developing into the role of Medical Director of the hospital. I am learning a lot about how a health zone in a developing country works. It is all very interesting and sometimes seems a bit overwhelming, but I am glad to have Sister Marie Cecile, D.C. here to learn from. She is from Italy and has been in the Congo for more than 40 years. 

Our health zone covers an area of 14,000 sq. kilometers with a population of 150,000. There are 14 health centers, 18 health posts and one reference hospital which is run by our Sisters. The health zone does things such as monitor the number of cases of malaria, typhoid, meningitis, and other less common infectious diseases (pertussis, tetanus, polio, monkey pox, hemorrhagic fever, etc.) in order to be able to detect the beginning of an epidemic, allowing us to respond early. The health centers send their data on a weekly basis and our staff has a meeting every Tuesday to compile and analyze it.

Last year, our hospital received a grant from “Daughters of Charity International Project Services” to build a cement fence around our hospital. It serves to keep out the pigs, goats, and thieves. The fence also serves to keep our grounds confined. Inside, each of our patients must have a family member or friend who stays with them to help with their cooking, laundry, and other tasks.

Now, we have received another grant to build a new lab because the one we have is not large enough for our needs. The cement has recently arrived by boat and teams worked from 8 AM to 10 PM to unload and transport it to our storehouse. Some of the hospital staff have already begun working extra hours to make the bricks.

We recently received two new missionary Sisters, Sister Anna and Sister Theresa, in our house from Vietnam, bringing us to a total of 11 Sisters! One is a nurse and will work in the hospital while the other works in Social Services. On Holy Saturday, they prepared a type of egg roll. I never imagined eating egg rolls in Lukolela, but this just proves the richness of being part of an international community. What a beautiful example of the marvels of God!

Written by Sister Mary Felice, D.C., during her time as a missionary in Congo.

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