Samoutou Family Blog
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About This Blog...

Family of 5 
from Gabon, Hong Kong and the UK   

Living in Impfondo,   
Republic of Congo   
Since April 2012 

Blog by Joyce the mum, 
Homeschooling novice, 
Eye Charity founding doctor / director. 
Reluctant domestic goddess 

Passionate about sashimi, 
helping people see 
physically and spiritually,   
and Jesus   


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P.S. This is the personal blog of the Samoutou family  
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Recent Posts

Rehab in the jungle
August 20, 2015

On Monday night I finally hauled myself out to go to a bar. As I pedaled my bike through the slowly fading heat of the evening I caught in my eye a square, door-deprived frame radiating a yellow light. There were a couple of people sat out front in the dark so I decided to turn around and check it out. Through the luminous yellow portal stood a small wooden bar, the walls behind decorated with a couple of lopsided shelves mounted on a flaking, cream coloured wall. Scattered around the shelves were various bottles of beer, African and imported. I asked if they had all of the beers advertised on the shelves, to which the mama replied with a grumbling response, clearly not excited about serving me. Initially I went for an Amstel, taking refuge in my European habits, but quickly realized that and ‘Ngok’ would probably be more fitting for my first African beer. Of course, it just tasted of beer, but the crocodile on the label gave the impression of adventure and exotic produce.

The bar was nothing funky or special, but it was a gem in its own right. Some upbeat Congolese music was playing from the speaker. I took my beer outside and relaxed into a garden chair shrouded in darkness. The air was full of the noise of crickets and birds, with the occasional motorbike trundling by on the road out front. Impfondo receives only a few hours of electricity a week, so there is no light pollution at all. Above me, in the jet black sky, stars flickered like the light inside the bar. I counted three shooting stars while I sat and drank, and considered myself lucky to be here in the middle of the bush.

I went to work with Guillaume, an occupational therapist, on Tuesday morning. Up til then most of the Africa I had seen was funky and fun and definitely did not need ‘saving’. Going with Guillaume was the first proper taste I got of the extent to which people can suffer here. I helped a man regain movement in his leg after he had broken his tibia. He was 30 years old with 6 children, all of whom were hanging around the hospital because they had nowhere else to go and relied on him for pretty much everything.

We later went out of the hospital to visis a man in a wheelchair who was virtually immobile. His house was a windowless cube of cement measuring about 12 x 12 x 12 feet, which is decent considering that a lot of Impfondo’s people live in mud huts constantly threatened by equatorial storms. There was a bed and some cooking utensils hanging around the outskirts of the floor. Flies were buzzing around his old mosquito net and we had to carry a table from the hospital to play a game of Jenga because he didn’t have one himself. The house felt quite homely despite my description and it was clear that John enjoyed spending some time with us. There was no NHS nurse or economic safety net to help him out, just a few volunteers with limited resources, time and money.

Guest blog by

Rowan Cassels-Brown
New Sight Summer Intern
Filed under: Living in Congo, True Life Stories (Patients and Families), Developing countries, Make a difference


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