Malaria...Reality In The Mission Field

One of the students at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, Tony Johnson, continues his work with the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies. His most recent report about the work is posted below. If you would like to see more of Tony’s posts with pictures, you can visit his blog site.

It has been an eventful period since last Wednesday’s update. It started out normal, with class on Thursday and Friday covering the books of Acts and Romans in the New Testament Survey class. I was encouraged that the test scores have been getting better as the students learn how to take better notes. It is also helpful that they have become more comfortable in asking questions and telling me when they do not understand what I am trying to say.

Friday evening things started to go a little sideways though as I got sick for the first time since being here. I figured it was just something I ate and a couple of Pepto-Bismol tablets would take care of the problem. Not so much. For the next couple of days I would start to feel a little better, and then would get a little sicker than the last time. By Monday evening I had developed a fever followed by chills, which was enough for even me to realize I needed to go find some help.

Adjei Mensah, who is an instructor and Dean of Students at the school here loaded me up on his motorbike and off we headed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital, one of three hospitals in the city. Teaching Hospital is reportedly far better than the others, so I was grateful that Brother Adjei knew a doctor there who is a member of the Tamale East congregation.

As you might imagine, the hospital is quite different from what you would find in most places in the U.S. A security guard keeps people from entering into the area where the doctor’s offices are, so we had to call when we arrived so he could come to meet us. Although it was late in the evening there were a great number of people sitting or sleeping on the benches in the area outside of the admissions window, all of which is outside. Since there was no one working in admissions I believe these were mostly family members of patients, who will stay here for the night. Visiting hours are very narrow, 1½ hours in the morning and 1½ hours in the evening, and are apparently strictly enforced.

After the doctor arrived we then had to find a room for the examination, which is done by walking around a courtyard that is surrounded by offices and sticking your head in to see if it is in use. Fortunately we found a room very quickly (although I was not too happy to note the sign on the door said “Injection Room”), and the doctor was able to discover pretty quickly that I had Africa’s most common disease, malaria. He wrote a couple of prescriptions and walked us over to the pharmacy, where he thankfully took care of getting it filled, as part of the medicine was in one pharmacy and part in another, and then they wanted someone else’s approval before they would fill it! What would have probably taken us many hours to accomplish he was able to take care of in 45 minutes. Once we were all done I tried to pay him for his service but he refused to take anything, even for the prescriptions which I saw him pay for out of his own pocket. He just thanked me for coming to help the church!

So anyway, I am two-thirds of the way through my anti-malaria medicine and feeling much better. I was even able to teach my scheduled classes, so we have finished Paul’s letters as well as Hebrews. I have 4 more class periods next week, so we are on schedule to finish a day early thanks to the extra evening classes that we held. I gave the students the choice of what they wanted to talk about in the last class period and they were unanimous in selecting one of my least favorite subjects to talk about, marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Thankfully I brought my Denny Petrillo notes with me so I will do the best I can.

Friday begins the annual lectureship here, with graduation exercises set for Saturday, and the lectureship concluding on Sunday. Bob Turner, the Director of the extension school program at Bear Valley has arrived to be part of the graduation program and will kick of the lectureship on Friday. I am scheduled to speak on Sunday morning on the subject of the Great Commission. This is the first lectureship I have been invited to speak at and I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Thank you for all you do to make this work possible. Thank you especially for your prayers this past week, I know they were instrumental in my quick recovery.


Posted on June 27, 2011 .