By Don Campion
Sueanne and I, and a team of five others, have just returned from another very successful trip to Egbe, Nigeria. The overwhelming highlight of this trip was the fact that a large number of Nigerians born in Egbe who were fortunate enough to attend school and are now professionals in the large cities (builders, military personnel, doctors, teachers, pastors, bankers), are stepping forward offering contacts, expertise, equipment, discounted materials and labor to assist the revitalization project because they see evidence of a clear strategy that is obviously moving forward. This is evident by the brush and dead trees being removed, roofs being replaced, buildings being painted and shipping containers of medical equipment arriving. These Nigerians will be instrumental in opening doors to address water and electricity issues, customs difficulties with shipping containers, construction needs, and opening doors to other government offices. I returned with 20 new contacts and many e-mails from those I met reconfirming their commitment to actively support the Revitalization Project in their small home town.
While at Egbe I met with the community leaders to once again share the vision of revitalizing the hospital and theaccomplishments in 2011. I was encouraged when several of the community leaders addressed their own colleagues with passion and fervently urged them to work together to help the revitalization efforts any way possible and warned the audience that this opportunity for revitalization may never come again.
In a hospital staff meeting, we were able to engage the staff in the process, address concerns to minimize misinformation and gossip, and to encourage the team to remain positive as buildings come down and new ones are build. I urged them to view the changes and inconvenience as progress, not chaos. Along with Dr. Shaibu the Medical Director, we pledged regular communication and updates with staff. Moses Igunnubole from England accompanied us and will be spending time at Egbe Hospital as the Administrative and Financial Consultant. He will be instrumental in supporting Dr. Shaibu and the revitalization especially in this initial stage as we move forward.
Richard, Peter and Josh were three volunteers who also came along and wow did they make a great difference!! Richard troubleshot several serious electrical problems and helped with construction. Peter worked on several small engines needing service, knocked out a large back log of welding thanks to his skill and the recent arrival of a welding machine in a container and Josh painted, organized, did light maintenance and recorded building and room measurements for future building plans.
Claude Kennedy, SIM USA Communications Director, and an associate, Mark joined us to video the hospital compound and the revitalization in progress. Their goal is to produce a number of videos to show the needs, demonstrate the partnership that can be leveraged by two organizations like SIM and Samaritan’s Purse in order to accomplish a big project. They will also document stories that would be of interest to donors and those that may wish to volunteer short or long term. This video will be a great new tool for promoting the project.
Another huge development is the construction of a mobile telephone tower (to deliver good cell phone reception) — This is a huge communication milestone that was initiated by the national company when they witnessed the revitalization of the hospital compound underway.
Since returning to the states I continue to be amazed at the doors that God has opened, the support of the Egbe community, hospital staff, missionaries and those in the USA, Canada and England that are becoming partners in this great project. I am also most grateful to my teammates at Banyan Air Services that continue to serve our customers in remarkable ways and grow the company even in my absence…(maybe there is a message there!)
Sueanne and I will be returning to Egbe late October with other volunteers, some interested in learning more about how they can become involved and others looking to serve at Egbe as long term missionaries.
Mark and Abby Anderson from Colorado are currently living at Egbe and are the construction managers for the revitalization project. Dr. Laura Smelter, a family practice physician is moving to Egbe in January and the McAlhaney family are moving in June as the general surgeon and to mentor pastors.
We continue to recruit doctors, a hospital administrator, maintenance person, ophthalmologist and a head nurse. Many hours are spent searching for good re-conditioned and or used medical equipment and presenting this wonderful project to those interested in becoming donors knowing that the end result will be a self-sustaining rural hospital providing excellent medical care and the Gospel to thousands for years to come.
It is an honor to lead and serve alongside Mark and Abby Anderson, Dr. Shaibu and the Resident doctors at Egbe, project team members, and our SIM, Samaritan Purse, ECWA partners and volunteers as we work together for God’s glory and the good of man-kind.
Don and Sueanne Campion
Egbe Hospital Revitalization Project Leader