New Foundations

Summer News 2018

A new take on the traditional newsletter, that we hope will engage you. The pictures are all from the team as they document the challenges and successes in the mission field of the Niger Delta,

The whole team wanted to say hello, as this is very much their newsletter !

A man came to the clinic from Osusuriere, a community an hour away by canoe. He gave time to consider the Gospel message and surrendered his life. We thank God that He uses the staff to minister to both body and the soul.

In the Book of Isaiah there is the petition from God that we should 'come and let us reason together'. The message of Salvation and the reasonableness of the Christian faith is both a matter of heart and mind. The claims of Christ demand scrutiny. The team come together at prayer camps and small groups to search the scriptures that when asked they may 'be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear..' 1 Peter 3:15

Anthony, one of the Senior workers was featured in the last newsletter, a man of industry and a good selfie.

Anthony rejected a place at university to read accountancy, convinced that he was called to mission. In a society where education is seen as the route from poverty he was seen a man with a future.

Family and even Church members cautioned him to think twice, but he was resolute. A man of great faith Anthony has always trusted God. He believed he would meet his wife at his workplace. It was so, marrying Ebimine who left the mission to raise their two children.

Organisations in Africa are most often hierachical, and decision making very much top down. The community school we started has attracted more children and another classroom was needed. Anthony simply built the room, after completing a pit latrine and then got to work making the desks and chairs.

He is not a joiner but simply watched others and the youtube films we sent on on basic tool use and hey presto a full set of desks and no extra labour costs.

In the early days of the mission we had no clinic furniture and paid a local tradesmen and technology school lecturer to produce wooden examination couches, chairs and tables. It ended in farce, refusing to commit to a timetable despite taking the money. Eventually the community council, as frustrated as we with the wait, arrested him and imprisoned him naked in the community jailhouse. He was released by his daughter and together ( still naked) they fled into the jungle hotly pursued by the irate community members...quite extraordinary.

It's all about the heart, and Anthony's work was not thrashed out in committee. No extra pay was requested. He saw a need and fulfilled the brief. This is leadership, effective, proactive and leading from the front.

If the Mission is to stand, then this is the sort of man we seek to raise up. Its not a comfy charity of good works we're after but real Christian leaders who evidence their faith in works and evidence wisdom in all they do. Anthony, beyond his impeccable dress sense, is a wise man, fearful in the true reverential sense of the God he serves.

preparing the wood

preparing the wood

No power tools here!

No power tools here!

Transporting the desks in the clinic boat

Transporting the desks in the clinic boat

looking dapper after a hard days work, and why not!

looking dapper after a hard days work

It was difficult to let many of our staff go after last year and the closure of the Clinics following Ian's murder. In retrospect it was a time of sifting, the sheep from the goats.

Most who we felt led to let go simply melted away, even some we had known for 15 years. Yet some have stayed in contact, simply to connect on a human level. A few call to ask of us and people they know who have visited.

One young man , Israel, travelled far from his remote community to get a good phone signal. He called specifically to give thanks for what he saw that God had done in his life over the years in teaching him health care and building him up. He simply wanted to express gratitude, not to plead for his job back.

As the main clinic base has re-opened and the workload grown we need to take one or two people on and though Israel is perhaps not the most technically skilled his servant heart is without question.

Here he is spinning blood for an ESR and typhoid test in the laboratory which he now runs, a promotion. What he undertakes is commensurate with his skill set and in time this will grow.

Again this is the sort of man we want to uphold, humble, serious in his service to God , and outward looking.

Antenatal Care

The Thursday antenatal clinic

Good antenatal care is a cornerstone in our programs. It is the time when women are most receptive to health promotion and engage with education, regular monitoring and planning a safe birth at the clinic. Remember an afternoon in the clinic is one lost at the farm, or fishing, so it must be perceived to have real value. Over 180 a month believe it is...

We can identify high risk pregnancies, monitor them and refer on for a hospital delivery. Public health initiatives, clean drinking water, hygeine, and feeding feature prominently. All new mothers are visited after discharge and post partum care continues to engage the mother to come to the clinic for vaccination and to recognise early signs of serious illness.

Studies suggest that in rural Africa Post natal depression can affect 1in 4 mothers, yet there remains no word for depression and the condition is almost universally ignored. Relationship building helps communication and trust to address this much hidden problem.

The baby below was delivered at 7 months gestation.

We do not have an incubator and the baby was struggling from birth. The team set up a heat lamp and prepared for naso-gastric feeding but sadly the lad succumbed after just a few hours.

Born in the delta prematurely means the odds are staked against you, especially as intensive neonatal care is a speciality beyond the teams skill base and demanding equipment logistically and financially beyond our reach. This emphasises even more the need for good, solid antenatal education, and birth planning so the pregnancy can come to term in the best possible condition to deliver a healthy child and with least risk to the mother.

The Mission Station sits in 4 acres of jungle which is slowly being cleared and planted as a farm. The farm is surveyed and title deeds drawn up to avoid future wranglings.

The farm will eventually provide income to off set the charity costs and set the trajectory for sustainability with other revenue streams.

The site sits next to the school and we provide free electricity to the school and the teachers bedrooms which help retain staff (Few choose to work in these regions of the delta, and attrition is high), enabling them to have light and recharge phones. Our generators provide power for the clinic half a mile away and we sell subsidised power to families along the line to keep the fuel cost neutral. Collecting the payments monthly and checking for rogue link-ups is an important part of the work..being a Christian does not mean you have to be a mug, and the team are quick to spot a chancer.

'If it can be abused .. it will be abused' Marcus states, his eyes steely and unblinking his payment booked curled in his clenched hand. Payment is made according to use and this is decided on bulbs and phones in the house. Wo-betide anyone who, on a spot check has an extra light linked up. Severance is instant and lasts a month. In this environment the lines must be clearly drawn in the sand from the start.

Buying fuel is unreliable and we purchase in bulk from local sources. The provence of this fuel is open to question, but there are no petrol stations for many miles, so the local 'home brew' provides the power, curiously sold in large polythene bags as seen in the picture.

We are trying to avoid staple crops that may compete with local farmers and be a source of conflict. These crops are also labour intensive and the return low. We are planting orchards, pear, mango, apple, relative luxuries in this area, but the first crops are some time off. Sugar cane and plantain give up to three crops a year and are high yield for little work so these are good for now. Planting palm trees will also eventually yield coconuts and palm nuts. We have learnt patience is a great virtue in farming!

Wild bees have been found on the farm and bee keeping is very much a work in progress. Marcus is building beehives and this will greatly help with fruit production.

Praise be to God for all that is happening in the work. The emphasis will always be the Gospel, but we hope you find the behind the scenes stories interesting too. Testimony is more than words, it has feet, is sometimes discordant, and falters at time, but we rejoice that all things are possible through our Lord and Saviour who sustains the work and the witness. Thank you for being part of this !

Johnson, the delta 'Wichita Lineman'... mending our generator power line after a brutal storm

Johnson, the delta 'Wichita Lineman'... mending our generator power line after a brutal storm

refilling the generator fuel store

refilling the generator fuel store

sugar cane crop

sugar cane crop

planting new palm trees

planting new palm trees

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