New Sight for All
New Sight News – July 2022
A message from Joyce
When God first called our family to Congo, He told us that through New Sight, He would bring new sight and new life, not only to our patients, but to all who would become part of the New Sight family. He told us that children would see how they can make a difference. This is being fulfilled through Project Two Front Teeth as well as our children’s magazines and school programs. He told us that as we partner with the local community and train our students and staff, they would see themselves and their potential differently. This is being realised as we empower them with resources and skills, and they grow in confidence and capacity. God also told us that many would hear the stories, give, and volunteer, and that some would even visit Congo. This is happening every day as our supporters, staff, volunteers, and visitors see our world in new light and in turn live their lives differently.
Our family is no exception. Personally, the last 10 years has been an intense training program where we learnt to see and do life differently. We all have images of who we are and what we can and cannot do. When I first went to Africa, I detailed in my journal seven reasons why I could never survive Africa. I did not think that I could live without reliable electricity and water. I did not think that I had the patience, flexibility, or courage. The first year we were in Congo, I cried every night and here I am, having lived in a rainforest for a decade! And we are all still learning!
To celebrate our anniversary year, we are launching a challenge called “10 Days of New Sight” #10daysofnewsight where we will learn and encourage each other to see ourselves differently and try new things. We cannot wait to tell you more about this fun and meaningful challenge in the days to come on social media and in our next email! For now, please sit back, relax, and enjoy all the wonderful news from Congo!
Celebrating our 10th anniversary
Throughout this year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Samoutou family’s arrival in Congo to start New Sight Eye Care! We hope that you were able to take part in our 10th anniversary party on 7 April which we broadcasted live on Facebook. Catch all the photos, videos, and fun sections of the party on this webpage: https://www.newsightcongo.com/10-years/ where you can see:
- Photos of the party
- The Lingala song “Elonga” (Victory)
- The Lingala song and dance “Elikia” (Hope)
- Preparation work for the party
- Feast featuring local food and drinks for the party
- And spontaneous and uncut videos of the party
Team training and team-building weekend
On 10 March, the New Sight Congo team, including the nursing students, took part in a training day, focussing on soft skills and work ethics, such as communication and teamwork. They worked on group activities and had a lot of fun while learning and developing skills. One of the highlights was the activity “The Worst Employee” where each team came up with their own scripts and acted as the worst employees, hopefully helping them to be the exact opposite. The room roared with belly laughs, and some laughed so hard that they cried! Can you tell who was in the wig pretending to be an old lady needing eye care?
Following this, the team enjoyed their first staff development weekend in Pokola, a town about 45 minutes north of Ouesso from 1 to 3 April. This weekend was originally planned for April 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID pandemic. The Ouesso team was joined by Patrick, our Brazzaville agent, and together they travelled to Pokola where they stayed at a local hotel by the Sangha River. They had team-building activities including visiting the town, early morning runs, outdoor games, puzzles, brain challenges and board games, as well as movie night. They also enjoyed morning devotions and meals with great conversations. The recharging weekend ended with a meal for staff and their families back in Ouesso.
Interim Eye Centre first quarter update
The team at the Interim Eye Centre has been busier than ever! Over the first quarter of 2022, we helped an average of 251 people per month, with our patient feedback questionnaires maintaining an amazing 100% positive response. The most common diagnoses made in the clinic over Q1 were:
- Allergic conjunctivitis – 16%
- Presbyopia – 12%
- Pterygium – 4%
We continue to be encouraged that our eye centre can serve the community, and hope that with the Interim Surgical Centre soon to be opened, we can help more through our expanded services.
Interim Surgical Centre – Preparations continue!
We are so excited to prepare for the opening of the new Interim Surgical Centre, which will be a lifeline for those patients who need surgical care for their eyes. Shipments of surgical equipment and supplies have finally arrived in Ouesso, having been delayed by the pandemic, from the Netherlands, India and Hong Kong, and are being assembled right now! We are also working with local builders, electricians. plumbers, carpenters and tailors. A door has been created in the wall between the surgical centre and the eye centre right next door to facilitate operations. Several pieces of furniture and soft furnishings are being made locally. We are very busy, but the excitement, fun and team spirit keep us going! Here you can see photos of our team posing in the male and female bathrooms for the inpatient wards!
If you are interested in making a special donation toward to these surgical facilities, please visit: Preparing the Interim Surgical Centre
We are super excited to tell you that after many painful delays including the pandemic, the New Sight team is thankful and relieved that so many challenges have been overcome and on-the-ground construction work has been successfully relaunched. The machinery and local management team for the construction of our eye hospital has arrived safely in Ouesso from Pointe Noire to put shovels in the ground! Joyce and Henri were also able to visit Pointe Noire and have several good meetings with the construction company along with our newly appointed agent, Francois, while they were there for the customs clearance of their newly donated vehicle. We are hopeful that we are now able to pick up speed and make up for lost time! Thank you so much for continually believing in us and empowering us.
Children’s magazine – first time in colour!
Thanks to our generous supporters, we have been visiting schools to give the children our very first colour issue of the magazine!
The magazines have been so popular in Congo and have provided amazing opportunities for the New Sight team to share with children all over Ouesso, as well as other towns and cities including Brazzaville, Oyo, Impfondo and Pointe Noire. These are some of the schools we have visited, to meet the children and teachers and spend some time with them while delivering the magazines. We will have distributed over 30,000 children’s magazine in total, of which 10,000 are our fourth issue, and a projected readership of 12,000. Our fourth issue has been distributed in 17 schools so far and the number is still increasing. See more photos at Children’s magazine 4th issue page
Our volunteer Wendy who has been so instrumental to expanding our magazines’ reach has also presented our children’s magazines report to the Department Director of Preschool, Primary and Secondary Education and Literacy, who expressed support for our efforts.
Thank you and farewell to Wendy!
Our amazing volunteer, Wendy, has completed her 5-month mission in Congo at the end of June. Her next step is to resume her work with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Nigeria. Wendy has worked incredibly hard and made a huge impact, in particular working on the children’s magazine, administration and team training. Thank you so much Wendy! You will be greatly missed and our send our prayers for your next mission!
Welcome to Hiu Yin!
We are delighted to welcome our intrepid volunteer, Hiu Yin, who arrived in May from Singapore to spend 7 months working with our team in Congo. She “hit the ground running” when she first arrived at Pointe Noire, the port city in Congo, to help Joyce and Henri arrange the release of a shipping container. Here’s a snippet of the interview with her.
Tell us a bit about yourself please.
I was born in Hong Kong, went to Australia to study when I was 14 years old. I then relocated to Singapore in 2012. Having been living in different countries and cultures, I have developed the ability to be able to feel at home and make the place home wherever I am; and I can easily make friends wherever I go.
What made you decide to volunteer for New Sight in Congo?
I am a pharmacist by training. Since I was little, I wished that one day, I would be able to go to Africa, to live with people there, to share with them what I have, to serve, and to help them with what I can.
What is your role at New Sight?
My role in the New Sight team is assistant to Joyce and Henri, and the entire team.
Is there anything that we can pray for you?
Please pray for my learning of French, so that I can communicate with team members and locals and get to know them. And pray for wisdom to know what needs to be done, and how to assist and work with each team member on various operations. Pray that I can be a blessing to the team and locals here.
For the complete interview, please visit: www.newsightcongo.com/hiu-yin-interview
Speaking at UK churches
While in the UK returning the Samoutou kids to school after the Easter break, Joyce was unexpectedly able to visit two churches, and happily spoke to the congregations about New Sight. Thank you so much to Birmingham Chinese Evangelical Church and C3 Yorks for the opportunity to share with you. Your encouragement and prayers make all the difference!
We hope you can see what an amazing impact you are making in Congo. Thank you so much for your continual support! Please do keep your eyes open (excuse the pun) about our upcoming 10 days of New Sight Challenge! In the meantime, you can get a head start and find out about some of the new things that we have been challenging ourselves to do through social media posts such as this one here. We hope our stories will inspire you and get you ready for your own #10daysofnewsight Challenge!