One Step Closer to Ouesso – via Hong Kong – Q&A
Q&A with Joyce and Henri: Temporary move to Hong Kong to gear up for Ouesso
When will you arrive in Hong Kong?
We will arrive in Hong Kong on 18th August 2017 as we have to prepare for fundraising meetings in the USA in September. We are so thankful for family and schools in Hong Kong who can look after the children when we travel for New Sight!
When will you return to Congo?
As soon as the goals of this transitional period are accomplished, we will go to our new hometown of Ouesso. We estimate this to be between July – September 2018.
Will this change of base from Congo to Hong Kong become permanent?
No, this is only a temporary change as New Sight transitions from Impfondo to Ouesso. After we have taken this step from Impfondo to Hong Kong, we will take the next step from Hong Kong to Ouesso. While we know that saying goodbye to loved ones, 21st century living, opportunities for the children and sashimi is never easy, we will return to Congo long-term because we are more passionate about New Sight’s vision than ever before. The only reason why we are allowing our family to go through these challenging moves is so that we can return to Congo long-term to help more patients, families and communities as New Sight continues to grow with your support!
Where will you live? What are you going to eat? How are you going to live?
At this moment in time, we don’t know yet. Living costs, specifically accommodation in Hong Kong, is very expensive. We have been looking for sponsored or discounted accommodation, but have not yet been successful. Our family does not receive any salary / pensions / health plan, and only have a humble and limited stipend. However, we believe that this is an absolutely necessary and right step for New Sight, and so we have made the decision by faith.
What about schooling for the Samoutou children?
Two amazing schools in Hong Kong have gone out of their way to accommodate the children for this coming academic year – for FREE! Praise the Lord for His incredible provision!
What are the biggest needs of New Sight right now?
As New Sight expands to help more patients and families, the time-sensitive demands on New Sight has increased exponentially both in speed and size. In particular, we must work further to:
- Reach our fundraising target
- Employ staff to build better teams and systems
- Work with the boards, core and design teams to make key decisions about construction
- Prepare, pack, and ship the supplies and equipment to set up the new hospital
Therefore, New Sight must increase its capacity by increasing its Human Resources.
- The two of us are already functioning beyond our capacity in Congo. We have multiple responsibilities as we run Impfondo Eye Centre, New Sight as an international charity, and the new Ouesso project.
- While we appreciate our amazing army of part-time volunteers, we need full-time staff in Hong Kong to oversee and develop New Sight as it grows. We also need a teacher for our family and potential new missionary families to come to Congo.
- Most of our support comes from Hong Kong. Our experience in the past 6 years has taught us that our presence in Hong Kong is critical to effectively recruiting, training and leading the growing team so that it can be equipped to support our work in Congo.
Why can’t you stay in Congo to do that?
It is difficult to meet the specific needs of this special transitional period in Congo because:
- Homeschooling the children takes up significant amount of our time. We have been looking for a teacher to come to Congo since 2011, but have not been able to find anyone. (Please let us know if you have a possible lead!)
- We have no family, friends or suitable candidates to help look after the children in Congo. When the two of us need to travel, we always have to take the children with us. This costs time and money, and interrupts the children’s schooling.
- The challenges are compounded by:
- Limited internet and phone signal (absent for several weeks now)
- Remote location (not accessible by road and unreliable flights) – travel for fundraising and meetings are both difficult and time-consuming
- Working with team members in a different time zone
- Lack of or suboptimal local materials, services and resources limiting efficiency
What will you do in Hong Kong? What are the goals for your time in Hong Kong?
In a nutshell, we will work with our team so that at the end of this transition period, New Sight will have the funds, design and capacity to build and open the new hospital. We will have built a stronger team in Hong Kong to empower our long-term work in Congo. We will have recruited and prepared new team members, including a teacher for the missionary kids, to return with us to Congo to start a new exciting season in Ouesso.
- Fulfil the USD$1.25 million donation matching pledge that expires on 31 Dec 2017
- Meet with present and potential donors, foundations and family offices in Hong Kong, USA and other countries to reach fundraising target for the new hospital
- Recruit, train and lead staff and volunteers to provide important off-field support in Hong Kong
- Recruit, train and lead short-term / long-term candidates to join the team in Congo
- Recruit a teacher for missionary kids to return with us to Congo (If you know someone who may be suitable, please pass along our need!)
- Work with Ouesso construction design team and project steering committee
- Source equipment and supplies to pack and ship a container for the new Ouesso hospital
- Secure accommodation for the Samoutou family and other newly recruited team members in Ouesso, as none exists
How about Impfondo Eye Centre?
- We will have finished screening the entire region of Likouala by July 2017
- The current eye centre in Impfondo will be given as a gift to Pioneer Christian Hospital
- The nurses whom we trained are capable and will run the eye centre in administration and clinical tasks including eye tests, treatment, glasses, health education, emergencies and minor surgeries
- We will provide ongoing remote support as well as regular visits with surgical campaigns to ensure that they continue to treat patients effectively
How about the new Ouesso Eye Hospital?
- We have engaged trustworthy and competent agents to represent us in both Ouesso and Brazzaville the capital. They were trained and recommended by American missionaries who have left Congo.
- Along with the local architect and design team, we will provide ongoing support to our agents. We will also make regular visits to the new site.
How can we help with your temporary relocation?
- Get in touch if you would like to help our family personally with accommodation hunt, living costs or other practical ways of help
- During this period of transition, please pray for our family to have:
- the grace and strength to finish this season well
- the courage to say those painful goodbyes
- a clear head to handle the logistics of moving countries
- divine wisdom and favour to adapt quickly and embark on a new challenge
What kind of help will you be looking for to join your team in Hong Kong?
- Fundraising Team and Donor Management
- Administrators, including Human Resources
- Bilingual Communication Team for social media, videos, literature, website and newsletters
What kind of help will you be looking for to join your team in Congo?
- Teacher for the Samoutous and other future missionary kids
- Support and Train the local community in the following areas:
- Administration and Human Resources
- Accounting and Book-Keeping
- Pharmacy, Procurement and Logistics
- Hosting visitors
- Clinical Work, Training, Screening and Community Education
Can we see your family? Can you come speak at our church / school?
We would totally love to see you and share with the people in your world! Please kindly give us some time to settle and to organise the year first. Also, our foreign fundraising travel will begin around 10th September for North America! We are so thankful that we have family to look after the children while they attend school in Hong Kong!
So how are you feeling about all this?
- Thankful for five and a half years of amazing provision, divine protection, incredible grace, and what a lot of fun in Impfondo!
- Sad to leave Congo where we our hearts are, even though it is just for a short while.
- Humbled that God used us to pioneer Impfondo Eye Centre, still the only one of its kind in the area, to give hope, restore sight and transform the lives of thousands of patients and families.
- Proud of the nurses whom we have trained and who are now able to takeover the eye centre. They have come a long way!
- Glad that God has clearly guided us even though up until a few months ago, we would never even have thought of moving to Hong Kong, let alone planned it!
- Overwhelmed when we look at the daunting list of things to do to ensure a smooth handover of our current clinic. This includes packing things into storage, getting ready for Hong Kong and Ouesso, as well as tying loose ends to tie up and preparing the tender hearts of our children.
- Happy to work together with our amazing New Sight community in Hong Kong.
- Nervous about how we will cope with packing up and leaving the jungle to face the living costs and fast pace of life in Hong Kong, and then packing up again within a year to start life in a new jungle in a new part of Congo!
- Excited because we know that this will help us realise the Ouesso vision, to ensure the long-term success of our ministry in Congo, and to transform the lives of thousands more patients, families and communities.
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