We are pretty excited right now. We just got back from a nice meeting with Medex Xavier (Regional Health Officer). We delivered the documents and letters that he was requesting.
He then related to us what had happened during his trip to Georgetown. Evidently, word had traveled up through the ranks of the ministry of health that an NGO had sent mosquito nets into Shea Village. Evidently it had caused some serious waves, because unbeknownst to us the Ministry of Health was planning to do something similar. They had (and still have) 5000 mosquito nets neatly packed away into 150 large bales. But for some strange reason, they've not given the final approval to distrubute the nets, inspite of a major malaria outbreak in Shea, inspite of the fact that there's 80+ cases of dengue fever in Lethem! So with this background in mind, in steps this little NGO and preempts their project. You can now see why it got their attention. It basically thrust the issue of our move to Shea into the spotlight. Word traveled up even to President Jagdeo himself! The Toshao from Shea told him last week that we were helping their village through mosquito net distribution.
The RHO is so frustrated with the situation of the unused nets. He had a meeting yesterday about this, and is scheduled to have yet another meeting tomorrow. He's also asked that James join him at the meeting! 5000 nets sounds like alot, but Lethem alone has 6000-7000, let alone all the villages in the interior. It's hardly a drop in the bucket!
In fact, during our conversation, RHO Xavier took out his cell phone and called the director of Regional Health Services and requested that he immediately write a letter of approval so that we can start working in the region. The director promised to fax it across tomorrow. When the letter arrives the Medex wants to attach it to the documents we gave just him, and then immediately go with him to meet with the Regional Executive Officer.
As we reflect over the events of the last three weeks, we're amazed at how God has led in each event. The very day I was planning to fly from Georgetown to Shea, I took sick. Then when I recovered there were two other flights that needed immediate attention, further delaying our departure. When we finally did go to Lethem we were further delayed in trying to get the nets treated. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it allowed us to interface with the RHO personally, and for us to work together with him and his wife. This broke down barriers, and now the RHO is anxious to help us get our approval and he's personally driving the process forward. If we would have gone directly to Shea a week before, we would have short circuited the process, and it would have taken much longer.
The bottom line is that we wouldn't be where we are right now if people hadn't responded to our call to prayer. Thank you to one and all who have stood together with us during this uncertain time.
James & Joy
James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842