Photo op with Dr. Lew Zirkle, founder of SIGN (second from left), and Dr. Lelei, the chairman of the Moi Orthopedic Department (right).
On the road to Eldoret...
Stephen demonstrating his surgical prowess (and lack of restraint) with Dr. Zirkle and I in the background.
I think every man enjoys a good road trip, so when I was invited to attend the demo of the new SIGN hip construct device in Eldoret, it was difficult to turn down. Stephen, Mwangi (the most current visiting orthopedic resident from Moi University), Keith Braun (a visiting surgeon from Arizona) and I piled into the van and, fueled by beef jerky, Costco trail mix (luxuries from the US) and diesel, we made the 4 hour dusty, jarring journey through the famed tea fields of the Kenyan highlands. After chai (tea) and mdazis (little fried doughnuts) at Mwangi’s apartment we checked into the “4 star” Grand Prix Hotel (from the name, you have to know it is fancy).
Eldoret, north and slightly west of Tenwek, is home to Moi University, which has a large teaching hospital, medical school and brand new orthopedic residency program. Tenwek began hosting Moi orthopedic residents in April, which has been mutually beneficial: we provide qualitative (and of course quantitative) training in orthopedic trauma, and the residents provide a much needed helping hand. By God’s grace, this relationship with Moi is growing and strong. Dr. Lew Zirkle, the founder of the SIGN company, which designs and manufactures implants for use in developing countries, was at Moi demonstrating a new implant he developed for hip fracture patients, hence our invitation to attend. Much like the intramedullary nails developed for femur and tibia fractures, the SIGN hip construct is designed to be placed without the use of fluoroscopy, but it has a steep learning curve. Dr. Zirkle would like Tenwek be one of a few institutions to trial the new implant. It was an honor to meet a man dedicated to serving the world’s medically underserved in the unique way for which he was designed by God.
Because RTAs (road traffic accidents) are in no short supply around Tenwek, mainly due to dirt cheap motorcycles from India, no licensure requirements, and improving roads that allow excessively high speeds (it is difficult to go fast when the road is full of pot holes), our trip to Eldoret was cut short to two days…otherwise the cases would just continue to pile up. Thus, after returning late Friday afternoon, the whole of Saturday (12+ hours – only a “half day” as my dad used to say) was spent in the operating room catching up, and treating new admissions. The work load continues to increase, and even with help from visiting residents and surgeons from the US, we are overworked and, at times, overwhelmed.
In what way have you been uniquely designed for God’s purposes, for the service and glory of His Kingdom? If we want to finish well, and live a life of true meaning with eternity in mind, I think this is an important question to ask. It may seem small, the part we are called to play, but like a thread, it is woven into the tapestry of divine history. Find that calling, and by God’s grace, excel in it for Christ’s glory.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ...But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be...Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor. 12:12, 18, 27)
Please continue to keep our family in your prayers. We need prayer for strength to persevere, wisdom for the complex cases that present, emotional health to minister to the people that God brings into our lives, and for unity as a family, for Heather as she continues homeschooling, and as we move into new temporary housing next month. Also pray that God would continue to bring short (and longer) term orthopedic visitors to Tenwek to participate in the work, educationally and spiritually, that God is doing here. Thanks so much!