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Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Every two years a dedicated group of Christian academic doctors travels to Kenya to teach a two -week medical education conference so that missionary physicians can maintain their American medical licenses. We have gone probably six or seven times in the last 19 years. This year's conference started Monday. The first two days are generally intense day-long advanced life support classes that enable re certification in these skills. Scott took ALSO (OB emergencies) and ACLS (cardiac) and I took PALS (Pediatric) and HBB (Helping Babies Breathe, neonatal). It's no small thing to study for and pass these classes . . . We leave at 7 am and return at 7 pm, so it's a challenging schedule for keeping the family pulled together and fed and homework done and general survival. It would be IMPOSSIBLE if we didn't have a visiting pediatrician covering the NICU (thanks Scott Jones!!!) and extra help at home from our dear houseworker Abigail and her sister Nyambura. These life support courses are heavily interactive, hands-on, practical. Here Travis is preparing to resuscitate a newborn. We even received this great kit of tools for teaching the course to others. Chuck Schubert went to med school with Scott, was a missionary in Zambia, and now teaches at University of Cincinnati. He and his family have been supporters and mentors and encouragers of ours, and occasionally our professors! The HBB classroom. Dr. Dana Witmer from Congo, getting ready to do CPR. One nice thing about being around so long is connecting again with the handful of others who have stuck it out in remote places in Africa all these years too. There are many. Tina Slusher, like Chuck, is another missionary who spends most of her time in academic clinical medicine now. She's a wonderful teacher. Here she is leading our group in some case scenarios for PALS. Jim Knox from the OPC team in Karamoja (our kindred spirits on the opposite side of Uganda) and Travis are quite entertained when our large male instructor simulates being a pregnant mom . . Here Scott is at the ACLS testing station.Because CMDA does not have a facility with space for families, doctors have to leave their kids behind and be accommodated as singles, or find their own way. We did this for years, staying in some less-than-ideal spots. Though commuting is time consuming it is nice to have all our kids in school at RVA (and Yale) for the first time this year. The Johnsons, however, are a decade behind us, so they were glad to find a nearby lovely British colonial tea plantation with guest rooms where they are staying with Amy's parents who flew out to help them, as well as teacher Pamela who is continuing lessons with Lilli and Patton. It's about a twenty minute walk from the conference. And to add to our wonderful reunion time, Heidi arrived today for the conference as she joins the Sudan team, and Jessica came out of Bundibugyo with the Johnsons. Standing around the gardens at the Johnsons' tea-plantation house, as we get ready to say goodbye and drive back to Kijabe at the end of the day.

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