South Africa

We’ve been away from Tansen for a couple of weeks now – part of our time away was in a country we’ve never visited before!  We saw many differences to Nepal – and also similarities – during our time in South Africa.

We were asked by the Global Health Unit of the Methodist Church to attend the Pan-African Health conference in Johannesburg, S.A.  Les and another colleague from Kathmandu both gave short presentations on the work that has been and is being done at the hospitals here in Nepal, and how that can help some of the hospitals in different places in Africa.  There were good connections made and lots of ideas shared, and it was very encouraging to be reminded that God’s work is being done all around the world – not just in Nepal!  Sometimes it is easy to get so busy with the constant needs where we are that we forget that there are needs everywhere.  And that God is working everywhere!

We also realized what a blessing it is to work at Tansen Hospital.  Many of the Methodist mission hospitals in Africa struggle for funding, have difficulty raising local income, face government restrictions on charging patient fees, and are expected to participate in very poorly managed government health programs.  We are grateful for the programs the Nepali government is running, like TB, HIV, and maternity care.  And we are grateful for our donors who have generously supported our free care for poor patients program, as well as the many building and equipment purchases over the years.

We decided we couldn’t travel to Africa and not see some animals!  So – we went on a short safari – overnight at Pilanesberg National Park (about 2 hours’ drive outside of Johannesburg).  It was great – a beautiful lodge, wonderful food, and lots of animals!  Lions, giraffes, rhinos, zebras, buffalo, water bucks, antelope, and elephants (Oh, My!)…. so amazing.

Then, we flew on South African Airlines down to Cape Town.  It was a beautiful place – we enjoyed walking on the beach, seeing Table Mountain, enjoying the beautiful flowers at Kirstenbosch gardens, and seeing the penguins at Boulder Beach.  We only had 2 days, but a friend of one of our friends in Tansen showed us around and made us so very welcome.

The differences between life in Nepal and in South Africa were interesting.  South Africa had much more development: expressways for driving, industries, well managed parks, large clean houses, and a lot less dirt and dust.  But all the houses were surrounded by high walls, razor wire, and often electrical fencing.  People are very scared about burglary, armed robbery, and violence.  Our host said it was better not to walk alone, even during the day, and definitely not to go out at night.  Even though Nepal is beset by just as much poverty and civil unrest, if not more, we are grateful that we have never had any fear for our personal safety in Nepal.  (Except while driving along the roads!)

Having said that – there are elections coming up here, and there have been rallies and strikes again.  There are also continuing difficulties with increased government rules and restrictions.  Thanks for your prayers.

Now, we are back in Kathmandu – and Les is so excited to be singing in Hannah’s final Kathmandu Chorale Concert on Saturday.  We have no opportunities to participate in high level Western choral or instrumental music in Tansen.  Hannah didn’t have enough basses, so Les is getting to sing – I (Debbie) do confess to being jealous.  Why are there always enough altos?  🙂  But – I’ll enjoy listening to the concerts and being proud of Hannah’s conducting skills.

Thanks to all of you who write to us and pray for us.  We think of you often and appreciate your support so much.  God Bless!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “South Africa

  1. Sounds like a great trip to South Africa.
    Ron and I are leading a short term team to do an animal health training in Sindhupalchok in October. It will be a quick trip with a couple days in Kathmandu and a couple days in Pokhara on either side of the training. I do not think we will get to Tansen but if you will be in either KTM or Pokhara between Dasai and Bhai Tika it would be great to meet for a cup of tea.
    Tentatively our plan is to arrive on the 11th, buy supplies on the 12th, gather the rest of the team from the airport on the 13th, go to church on the 14th, travel to Sindhupalchok on the 15th, return to KTM on the 19th, go to Pokhara Oct 20-23 then back to KTM and directly home to the USA.
    Hope the concert IS/WAS good and fun.
    In Christ,
    Karen

  2. Sarah Acland

    Very interesting as usual – especially the bit about South Africa and the animals. Tansen is going to seem very different after this!

  3. Margaret Fain

    Sure enjoyed reading about your experience in Africa! Especially glad you are safely back in Tansen. Hope the concert goes well for Hannah & Les. I know you will enjoy being a spectator too!
    Love, aunt Maggie

  4. Hi Debbie and Les,

    Your summary of the South Africa visit will spark nay memories for Martje as well as for me, having visited there to meet the in-laws. We visited the Kruger Park together – you will have heard about that place while in FYI : Martje and I just celebrated our 60th Anniversary and my 90th birthday . Not getting any younger!!,

    Lots LOVE, in Him, Risto and Martje

  5. PS. Sorry for the misprints : ‘nay’ should be ‘many’; ‘while in ‘FYI’ should be
    ‘while in S.A. . FYI’.
    LOVE.

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