One Step Closer to Ouesso
Sometimes, big dreams require bold moves.
Gearing up for the new location of Ouesso
Thank you for your continual support for New Sight. As our treasured partner in the vision, we would like to share with you a bold decision that we have had to make. Before we do that…
We’d like to celebrate with you several pieces of happy news!
- We have completed the Screening and Community Health Education Program for the entire region of Likouala!
- Our eye nurses have completed their training and are ready to take over Impfondo Eye Centre!
- We have engaged competent and trustworthy ground personnel who are based in Ouesso and Brazzaville the capital! They are well-trained and recommended by American missionaries.
- We have signed contracts with our architects and engineers! Our detailed design phase is in full swing! It is going brilliantly!
As the project progresses, we have been seriously reflecting on the best way to shift our base from Impfondo to the new location of Ouesso. It has become very clear that before New Sight can expand its work to Ouesso, we must fulfil the following four major goals:
- Complete fundraising
- Make key decisions in preparation for the construction and running of the new hospital
- Source and pack supplies and equipment into a container to ship to the future hospital in Ouesso
- Employ staff and build a team to increase capacity to ensure the long-term success of New Sight
Despite our best efforts, it has been very difficult to work towards these four major goals in Congo because of:
- Major communication obstacles — Even though we are accustomed to chronic problems with phone signals, limited internet, and lack of access to reliable postal / DHL services, the inability to conference call with our boards and design team during this critical period greatly hampers progress.
- Remote location — As road access to Impfondo is non-existent and planes are unreliable, the logistics of travelling to meet with family offices, foundations and donors for the purpose of fundraising is extremely complicated and unbelievably time-consuming.
- Experience from the past 6 years has taught us that it is very hard to recruit, train and build a team remotely. Our previous trips in Hong Kong were always too short to accomplish all that New Sight needs as it expands. For example, to this day the Hong Kong office still does not employ any staff.
- No support in the education or care of the Samoutou children — Despite multiple efforts since 2011, no teacher has been found to come to Congo for the Samoutou children. Homeschooling currently takes up a significant amount of our time. Moreover, their schooling is interrupted every time we travel. (If you have a lead for a homeschool teacher, please let us know!)
After much prayer, deliberation, and counsel, it has become clear that New Sight needs the two of us to spend some time in Hong Kong to complete the four goals we listed above before it transitions to Ouesso. We believe that 10-12 months is a realistic timeframe to complete these tasks.
Being temporarily based in Hong Kong as a step closer to Ouesso makes sense because:
- The New Sight core team, lawyers, advisers, specialist advisers and most of our donor base lives in Hong Kong.
- Communication and remote location obstacles are removed.
- Practical support from family, friends and churches will relieve us to focus more on New Sight, and enable us to travel for fundraising and other meetings that are key to a successful time of transition.
- We need to be present in Hong Kong to source supplies and pack a container for the new hospital. When we opened our first eye centre in Congo, it took 1.5 years to prepare, purchase, collect and pack supplies in the UK.
- There are schools for the Samoutou children to attend.
New Sight has therefore made the bold decision to temporarily move the Samoutou family to Hong Kong from 18th August 2017 for an estimated period of 10-12 months before we return long-term to Congo at the new location of Ouesso. The current eye centre in Impfondo will continue to be run by our nurses. We will provide remote support, regular visits and surgical campaigns to ensure that they are able to continue the great work that we have been doing together. In-country work for the new Ouesso project will be supported by our agents and local architect, with remote input and regular site visits from ourselves as well as from our wonderful design team.
On a personal level, even though the necessity of this transition undoubtedly makes a whole lot of sense, it was still an incredibly difficult decision to make. As parents, we are naturally very concerned that these huge transitions, all within the short space of a year, will be hard and disruptive for us as a family. The high living costs and fast pace of life in Hong Kong can be a point of stress for us, similar to a great many families that call Hong Kong home. We are so settled in Congo and have so much joy from our service here. It pains us tremendously to be away from Congo where our hearts are, albeit for a short and limited period of time. So why are we allowing our family to be put through this?
The answer is this – We are more committed than ever to Congo and we are confident that this is absolutely 100% the right step for New Sight for this season. Because we are in it for the long haul, we believe that this short limited time in Hong Kong will prove to be a great investment for New Sight’s long-term future. Indeed, more than our fears and worries for us as a family, we are excited to embark on this period of transition to see to it that the new hospital gets built, that it becomes functional, that the local community receives training, and that New Sight grows in capacity to ensure its long-term success. This is an important project that will literally restore sight, transform lives not just for our generation, but for the generations to come!
We have prepared some answers to questions that you might have at www.newsightcongo.com/one-step-closer-qa/. Please feel free to ask more questions or for further information by emailing us at [email protected] or the contact form.
We imagine that this might have come as a bit of a surprise to you. It is a surprise to our family too! When we were last in Hong Kong, we never thought that we would be back within the year, and we certainly never thought that we would ever stay in Hong Kong for more than a couple of weeks! But this was far from a surprise to God, He is simply unfolding His good, pleasing and perfect will that is exceedingly abundantly above anything that we can ever ask, imagine or think! We pray for God’s continual guidance, and we pray for your support in our bold move to achieve this big dream together!