Monday, June 1, 2009

For good...

The Stoughton’s are leaving St. Theresa Hospital and Zimbabwe “for good” on July 4th, 2009. It has been a difficult decision for us, as we continue to have lots of work to do here, and will be leaving so many very good friends. Still, we are both getting to the age where serious health problems are starting to arise, and it is necessary that we live in the US where we can get good medical care – whenever it is needed! It is somewhat ironic that we leave on July 4th, as in 1970 we arrived with our five children on July 4th also! Two more children were born here during the 70’s, and then we spent 26 years in Shawano, Wisconsin. So, I guess that we have “completed the circle.”

We plan on living some place in the Orlando – Tampa, Florida area. We have one son in Orlando, one just North of Orlando, and one near Tampa, so after we get back we will spend quite a bit of time deciding where the best place is for us. It definitely will be close to one of the families with small children, so that we are part of their lives in growing up. It is what we have missed most in being here for the past eight years.

The decision means that we are very busy getting ready to leave, and I am especially busy in trying to finish several projects that are “in process.” The main one at this time is the quite large project of erecting a steel structure for three 2,500 gallon plastic water tanks. We then will be able to use dam water for all of the irrigation on the hospital property, and will save on the clean borehole water. This is a picture of the men pulling one of the tanks to the top of the structure. It was quite exciting, as with the second tank, just as it got to this position, they lost control of it and it slid all the way back down the poles. Fortunately, everyone was able to get out of the way, and there was not any damage to any people or to the tank!

I am hoping that this project will be totally completed within the next two to three weeks, so that it will be functioning before we leave.

Plans for the future: I plan on continuing to do fund-raising for St. Theresa Hospital, as there is still great need for support, and maybe even more so when we are not here. One of the other Mission Hospitals just South of us has a large group of people in Switzerland who call themselves “Friends of Matibi Mission Hospital” and do great work in supporting that hospital. I am hopeful I can develop a “Friends of St. Theresa Hospital” group in the U.S. who will also help us in this regard. In addition, I am hoping to recruit doctors for short term work here, and I will be returning every year for one month to help out, to see how things are going, and to see how our donor funds are being used.

Anyone wishing to accompany me on one of my trips please let me know! Our email address remains:

God Bless, Dick and Loretta Stoughton