CURE’s mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God involves helping our neighbours and community. We have been doing that in all sorts of ways since our establishment. We have trained pastors, many of whom have become important allies. We have developed hospital gardens to nurture both patients and staff, and we have been providing life-changing surgeries for children with nowhere to turn.
Now that COVID-19 is threatening the well-being of our community, we ask ourselves how we can do what we’ve always done – how can we still help our neighbours and preach the gospel to those around us? It’s not always easy to know how to proceed, but we know God honours willing hearts and active hands. So, we do what we can with what we’ve been given.
To protect patients and staff from COVID-19, we’re keeping the number of people at the hospital to a minimum. While our numbers may have shrunk, our garden has not! When we realised that we had an abundance of fresh greens that we were not eating, our director offered them to a local orphanage. Now 152 kids in three children’s homes across Niamey have fresh produce for a week.
When we heard the remote SIM-Galmi hospital needed life-saving oxygen concentrators, we packed two up and sent them off along with 1,300 masks. Although COVID-19 has yet to manifest in the furthest reaches of Niger, SIM-Galmi is now better equipped to care for their patients suffering from other pulmonary conditions.
Masks are in high demand here in Niamey, and when we found out Clinique Olivia, a private Christian medical practice here in Niamey, could use more, we sent over 300. “We have enough to share,” says our director George Găvruș. At the same time, we’re making more. Mantou from our spiritual team is sewing dozens of masks to give to all staff families. She is also launching an effort to teach patient caregivers how to sew their own. With this new knowledge, these women will be able to go back to their villages and help protect entire communities against COVID-19.
But patients and caregivers can’t go home just yet. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, they are far away from their loved ones, and no one knows when the situation will change. On top of that, our spiritual team, who looks out for long-term patients, has been limiting their presence to protect everyone against the virus. But two days ago, the team came back, and the patient caregivers were thrilled. They surprised everyone by their reaction. One caregiver told us, “It was only when you were gone that we realized how much you meant to us! The last few days we couldn’t even enjoy our meals, we missed you so much!” Now it is clear that patient caregivers can taste and see the love of Christ through our spiritual team.
“People’s hearts are open now,” says Georgiana, an art therapist at CURE Niger. Earlier that day, she and a teammate had gathered thirteen-or-so patients for some crafts, games, and story time. “They’re all stuck here because of COVID-19. They cannot go home, so we need to find ways to encourage them,” Georgiana told us. She took the chance to tell the patients the story of Easter. Afterward, in honour of the empty grave, they all participated in a stone-rolling competition.
The fact that the stone was rolled away and the grave was found empty is the strength that keeps us going. We are weeks into travel restrictions, curfews, market closures, and mounting cases of COVID-19, yet we remain on the mission. We will continue to help our neighbours, heal the sick, and proclaim the kingdom of God. We pray you’ll be inspired to continue the mission alongside us.
For updates on how CURE hospitals during the COVID outbreak, click here.
To donate to CURE and help keep healing children with treatable conditions, click here.