We are very excited to report that since our last newsletter we have opened a “guest house” for children and families coming to the hospital for surgery and medical care. Travel is long and tiring for families with sick children, and accommodations near the hospitals are often hard to find, substandard, and not affordable. We have now secured a 3 room apartment very close to our main hospital and have been housing families since November.
We knew there was a need for this, but we have been surprised to learn just how big the need really is. We’ve had guests nearly every night since opening and are quite often full to capacity. Also, at the hospital’s request, we have started a ‘food kitchen’ operating out of the guest house to bring meals to other needy families in the hospital once a week. This has been a blessing not only to the families but also to the young people and volunteers from a local church that help with this.
In addition to meeting the physical need for convenient, safe and comfortable housing, the guest house has also afforded our local staff better opportunity to minister to the broader needs of families during what is often a difficult time (i.e., their child’s surgery.) And, we have found that just being together with other families in similar circumstances has been encouraging and comforting to all.
One of the hardest things for our staff has been having to say “no” to new families when the guest house is full. Some nights we are housing more than we really have room for. We are looking now at the possibility of acquiring more space later this year.