It’s a Balancing Act
New Sight News – October 2020
Little Karis decided to make her own fool-proof personal protective equipment! The only trouble was that obviously, while her eyes were now protected, she could no longer see or do much! No doubt we are all familiar with the difficulty and discomfort in finding that tricky balance between staying safe and doing what we want to and need to do! The last couple of months have seen New Sight move into a new normal with the eye clinic and nursing school both reopening in June under COVID-19 restrictions. The needs in Congo are more desperate than ever, and we are thankful for the new ways that we have found to deliver aid, and we look forward to paving new paths in the days to come.
COVID-19 Relief Update
In our last newsletter, we shared about the important relief supplies that we have been able to provide for the community thanks to your amazing generosity through our special COVID-19 relief fund. In August, we were excited to receive a long-awaited delivery from Hong Kong! It consisted of 27 boxes packed with thermometers, oxygen pulse oximeters, reusable face masks and face shields. We presented our contribution to Mr Gilbert Mouanda-Mouanda, the Préfet (the Prefect, or Governor) of the La Sangha region. In collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the Director of the Department of Health is distributing this much-needed aid among the people and clinics of the region. Read more and watch the presentation at www.newsightcongo.com/covid19-supplies.
Schools were opened temporarily in June to allow public exams to take place and are now gearing up for reopening for the new school year. In order to help the students and teachers to keep safe, we worked with the Director of Education to distribute 5,000 locally made fabric masks and 108 buckets and basin-and-soap systems so that every classroom and every school office of every public school in the region will have handwashing facilities. Thank you for your donations which are making a real difference to this community during these extra challenging days.
Our co-founder Dr Joyce Samoutou-Wong has won the prestigious Compassion Award from the Hong Kong Taiwanese & Macau Charity Fund. In its 15th year, the award honours individuals who have demonstrated compassion in their lives and service. The nomination process was only possible through the help of several supporters, and for that we are grateful – thank you! Joyce is humbled and honoured to be named among the illustrious group of awardees, and we’re excited that she plans to give the USD150,000 prize entirely toward the construction of our Ouesso Eye Hospital. The official award ceremony is planned for December. Read more here: https://www.newsightcongo.com/compassion-award/
Ouesso has recently welcomed several new dignitaries: a new Prefect, Mr Gilbert Mouanda-Mouanda (top left); a new Central Mayor, Mr Abel Sidobe Gah (bottom right); a new mayor of the Nzanlangoye district, Ms. Irene Andziou (bottom left); and a new Director of the Department of Health, Dr Faustin Kebele (top right). The New Sight team has had the privilege of meeting all of them to discuss our work. Each new leader has expressed and demonstrated their support for New Sight. We look forward to having long and fruitful partnerships with all.
When patients become friends
One of the joys that we have is when our patients come back for follow-up and we get to know them and their family. We have been seeing Justice, a sweet 5-year-old boy with his mum for a while now. He and Henri have become buddies and to top it off, after several weeks of treatment, he is all better!
Congratulations to Ezra Samoutou!
As UK schools reopened in September, Cherissa began the third year of her music and academic scholarship at boarding school. This time Ezra joined her at the same school, having also earned a scholarship (art and academic). We will certainly miss their fun and help in Congo! All the best to Cherissa as she sits her GCSEs this year and to Ezra as he starts his new adventure! Check out the video made by the kids to learn about their top 10 stories in Africa and their prayer requests.
New classroom for our student nurses
The classroom which we were using for our student nurses has become a bit too small now that we are social-distancing and has been repurposed for the local COVID-19 response team. So we set out to look for a new space for our training centre. It was not an easy task, and we were so pleased to find a building with electricity and water about 5 minutes’ drive from our clinic. We have moved in and are enjoying the newly renovated classroom with wooden chairs and desks made by local carpenters.
Get to know some of our nursing students
We chatted to Emmanuel and Annita, two of the wonderful New Sight nursing students, to find out about their experience of the course.
Students: Emmanuel Ewalo, 23, from Ouesso; Annita Ebounou, 43, from Mokeko
NS: What were you doing before studying with New Sight?
Emmanuel: I was studying.
Annita: I was unemployed.
NS: Why did you apply to the New Sight course?
Emmanuel: Because I had ambitions to work and to be of service to others.
Annita: Because I was looking for work.
NS: What do you like about the course?
Emmanuel: I have learnt the organs of the body that I did not know before.
Annita: I like all the lessons because they develop my knowledge.
NS: What areas do you most like to learn about?
Emmanuel: Ophthalmology, anatomy and physiology, and Bible study.
NS: What would you like to do when you have completed the course?
Both: I would like to work with New Sight.
NS: What do you do in your spare time?
Emmanuel: Sometimes I accompany my grandmother to the field, read my lessons and go to prayer meetings in church because I am part of the welcome team.
Annita: I study for my course and I make cakes to sell and earn some money to survive.
Fun and inspiring videos from the Samoutou family
We have produced some new video messages to encourage and inspire you. We would love it if you were able to take the opportunity to share these videos with your church, Sunday school, fellowship groups, schools and other communities (in person or online). If you’d like to share any of these, please let Annabel know (firstname.lastname@example.org) – we’d like to know how we can support you in your sharing!
1. Introduction to New Sight Eye Care (5 min): Outlining the family’s story and New Sight’s ministry in Africa
2. Sermon “Reasons for Hope: A feel-good message from the Congo rainforest” (36 min): Joyce speaks on trusting in God, a message that she and Henri are inspired to share as we face the upheavals of this year
3. Top 10 Stories from the African Rainforest by the Samoutou Kids (23 min) – The Three Musketeers share interesting tales from their lives in Gabon and Congo. And what curious prayer requests!
4. Stories from the African Rainforest by Joyce and Henri Samoutou (21 min) – the adults share their stories and prayer requests
Join us in Congo
We are looking for two enthusiastic individuals to join our team in Congo (6-month to long-term): one to help with administrative tasks, and one to help with homeschool / childcare tasks. Please follow these links for further information. We would love to hear from you if this is something you might be interested in::
Share our Congo jobs page!
How can we pray for you?
Joyce and Henri would like to remind you that they are praying for you, and that if you’d like to, you can click the button below and share your prayer requests with them. You can go into as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable, and you can choose to stay anonymous if you prefer. Your request will be kept completely confidential. It would be our privilege to support you in our prayers.
Thank you so much again for your faithful support. It is only because of you that we are able to make a difference here in the Congo.