Cause for Enthusiasm
New Sight News – November 2022
Message from Joyce and Henri
Recently, we received a couple of messages from supporters saying how we are always so enthusiastic! When we heard that, we thought to ourselves, well, you would think that because you do not see the moments when we are far from enthusiastic. Like most people, there are times when we are frustrated, annoyed, discouraged, tired, grumpy, and ready to call it quits. But then we see our patients’ lives being transformed and we marvel at all the amazing progress that we are making, and our hearts are once again filled with hope and courage to carry on. We hope that you will read on to hear about the exciting happenings, and it will become clear to you why we cannot help but be enthusiastic!
Captions: the Samoutou family at the brick wall
Surgery started in Ouesso!
After a huge effort to deliver specialist equipment and prepare everything at the surgical centre, our Interim Surgical Centre is open! This is another huge step for our students who have been learning how to look after surgical patients for the first time. Henri has taught them about preparing surgical instruments, scrubbing up, and had our staff member Sabin act as the patient to demonstrate various techniques and uses of surgical tools and machines. We are thankful that so far, all the operations have gone very well with excellent outcome. We have a long waiting list but are intentionally taking our time to steadily build up the service as our students need time to learn and cope. When we see our patients and families so happy after their operations – it makes us want to jump for joy too!
Watch the video tour of the Interim Surgical Centre and Interim Eye Centre here: Interim Surgical Centre
Captions: Hiu Yin at the autoclave; surgery in progress; Henri and Joyce before surgery; Henri and patient after surgery
Eye Hospital Construction Ground-breaking Ceremony
On 28 July 2022, we were overjoyed to hold a ground-breaking ceremony to officially mark the start of the construction of our eye hospital. After multiple painful delays, we were finally able to gather together in person under the patronage of the Préfet (the governor) of La Sangha, Mr Gilbert Mouanda-Mouanda, the General Secretary of La Sangha, Ms Carolle Akondgo, the General Secretary of the Mayor Office, Mr Aime Momba, the Director of Health, Dr Faustin Kebele, as well as several dignitaries and local authorities, including a delegation from Fondation Congo Assistance led by their General Secretary, Mr Michel Mongo, who travelled all the way from the capital, to mark the occasion at our construction site. We are so touched and encouraged by our guests’ presence and words of congratulation. As the Chinese saying goes, it is like they injected us with medicine to fortify the heart. We are so thankful for the important support they represent from this country that we serve.
To watch the national news coverage and see more photos, please visit: Ouesso Eye Hospital Groundbreaking Ceremony
Captions: Our honourable guests with shovels; ceremony of laying the foundation stone; Henri making his speech; the magnificent tent for the ceremony
Visits of Dignitaries to the Interim Eye Centre and brand new Interim Surgical Centre
The momentous ground-breaking ceremony was followed by tours of our Interim Eye Centre and our brand new Interim Surgical Centre. There were several audible ‘wows’, visible nods and signs of approval as they toured the facilities and learnt about our operations. Several could not believe how affordable our non-profit services are, how we could make glasses locally, how well-equipped and well-run our centres are. Some returned to our clinic first thing the following morning as patients, and even brought family with them!
Captions: Joyce showed the guests around the Interim Surgical Centre; Henri explained the consultation processes
The day after the ceremony, the Préfet (the governor) of La Sangha, Mr Gilbert Mouanda-Mouanda, personally received the Samoutous at his office where he offered his strong support to New Sight once again. A few days later, he came to visit us at the eye centre. We are so humbled by his generous words and encouragement!
For more photos, please visit: Visit of the Prefet and Guests to Interim Eye Centre and Interim Surgical Centre
Captions: Henri explained the visual acuity room to the Préfet; Joyce and Henri with the Préfet at the New Sight wall
Construction progress and containers arriving
The hospital construction site is a hive of activity every day, with work progressing to plan, for which we are grateful. Construction and fitting out materials have been arriving in Ouesso from all parts of the world, and we are delighted to be able to offer work to local people on the site as well as for unloading the containers. Tremendous amounts of planning and organising went into balancing expediency and safety of those involved. When the first of the containers finally made it to our site, we were overwhelmed with gratitude because not only are their contents instrumental to the project, but they are also the combined effort of people who are too many to name. We want to give a shout out here to our generous donors, volunteers and partners who tirelessly helped us pack, store, transport, plough through endless lists to navigate through several tricky processes. We also look forward to seeing all the patients to whom we can offer help, once the hospital is completed.
See the 1-minute tour of the construction site with Joyce here: Construction Site Tour of the Future Eye Hospital
Captions: Moving one of containers; the workers who unloaded the containers with our team;plastering the walls of the kitchen for inpatients; building framework columns installation against a blue sky; workers installing building framework roof support; building framework structure going up
Students made their first pairs of glasses
Our students are gradually getting the hang of making glasses. As our lens edger machine could be the first and only in the country, the idea of having prescription glasses made so readily and quickly is still a novel concept for many and learning to make them is taking time and effort. We congratulate Franck and Brunel for successfully making their first pairs of glasses and will keep cheering for them as they continue to learn. The joy of the patient pictured with Franck as she regained her vision with the new glasses he made is contagious!
Captions: Franck with the patient who was very happy with her glasses; Brunel making his first pair of glasses
10 Days of New Sight Challenge
The year 2022 is the 10th anniversary of New Sight’s work in Congo. In August, some of our staff and supporters set themselves a challenge to do something new for 10 days. It could be anything – exercise, sleep, learn a new language, cook new dishes. Through doing this, we were reminded that doing something new can help us to see ourselves and the world differently, just like our patients who are given new sight. See more at 10 Days of New Sight! What new thing could you do?
Captions: various activities for 10 Days of New Sight Challenge – Henri learning Cantonese; the Samoutou Family’s various challenges; the Targett Family learning Ukrainian
Fifth issue of the educational children’s magazine
We can hardly believe that after launching our first children’s magazine in May 2021, we are now visiting schools and churches to distribute copies of the 5th issue, which is our second issue in colour. It has proven to be even more popular with the children and is set to surpass last edition’s readership of 12,000! The kids’ joy and enthusiasm are infectious!
Visit our page to see more photos of each distribution: Children’s Magazine 5th Issue – again in colour!
Captions: Girl excitedly holding our magazine; Wendy has returned to spearhead this outreach and helping a student read at Mambeke school; Hiu Yin to joining the distribution at Les Aiglons school; Les Cadres de Demain school’s slide was super popular
Patient story – Little girl with eye infection
The problem started when this little girl was helping her family work on their field. She got some dust in her eye and instinctively rubbed it. Her family tried a traditional remedy, but her eye continued to worsen. Thankfully, her family thought to bring her to the Interim Eye Centre where Henri examined her and found that her eye was ulcerated and needed urgent treatment. Following antibiotic treatment, her eye is now fully healed. We are relieved that her family brought her to New Sight and her sight was saved in time.
Captions: the girl patient with eye infection; Henri examining her eye
New Sight Fundraising Calendar “Water for Sight” is ready to order
The order form for our ever-popular calendars is out! The theme this year is water because it is life-giving – just like New Sight! It also represents wishes of refreshment and renewal in the new year. The Samoutou kids have given the calendar an exciting new look and included as a bonus some of their favourite recipes from their kitchen in the Congo jungle. The photos from our incredible supporters are better than ever. They make great Christmas gifts. For every ten calendars purchased, you get an extra one for free! What is more, it is enough to pay for a sight-giving cataract surgery!
You can pre-order here now: www.newsightcongo.com/water/ and enjoy the Samoutou kids’ enthusiastic promo video!
Caption: The Three Musketeers promoting the 2023 calendar; the photos featuring water are all taken by New Sight supporters during their travels around the world
All Covid restrictions lifted in Congo
The state of health emergency throughout Congo has been lifted effective 18 October 2022; mask wearing and negative tests to enter and exit the country are no longer required! The government thanked all the appointed members of the Covid-19 commission, including Joyce, for their service. We give thanks for the many who have been concerned during this pandemic for the continent of Africa, for Congo, and especially for our team, patients, and communities. We also give thanks to all who generously donated finances and supplies to our special Covid fund, which enabled us to help the community with resources and health education. Most of all, we give thanks that we have weathered this challenge together, experienced stress, pain and loss together, and became stronger and humbler in the process.
Wendy is back! And calling for more staff and volunteers!
Our amazing Gabonese volunteer Wendy has decided to come back to help New Sight for eight more months after her mission in Nigeria, and the whole team is overjoyed to have her enthusiastic presence. She is a capable hard worker with many talents. She is especially passionate about children and is instrumental to our school outreaches.
New Sight keeps growing! What an exciting time it is! We need more staff and volunteers to join our team. You can shine like Wendy in the areas you want to serve. Do you know anyone who would love to come join us in to Congo and make a lasting difference to the patients and community here? Please visit our Jobs page to explore these exciting opportunities!!
Caption: Wendy at the New Sight wall
PS from Joyce and Henri
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.’ We would agree with that! If it had not been for passion and enthusiasm, we would not have been able to overcome the odds, the bads, and the uglies. We read recently that the word ‘enthusiastic’ comes from the Greek word ‘en theos’ which means ‘in God’. For us, while the patient testimonies and the exciting progress help fan our enthusiasm, they alone are not enough to keep us enthusiastic day after day when faced with difficulties, problems and pressures. For us, it is ‘in God’ that we find the necessary enthusiasm to fuel everything that we do.
“Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him. Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them.” Romans 12:11-13ba
Thank you for taking the time to share our enthusiasm and for your kind interest in the needs of our patients and community. Please consider making a financial gift here: https://www.newsightcongo.com/donate/ YOUR HELP WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Here’s to more enthusiasm (with exclamation marks!!!), passion, radiance, excitement, hope, continual joy – even in times of trouble – as we continue to help together! Thank you!