Dear Mission friends,
Οἱ ἐργασίες στὸ μικρὸ Νοσοκομεῖο μας λόγω τῆς ἐλλείψεως χρημάτων σταμάτησαν. Δὲν πρόλαβε νὰ λειτουργήσει, ἐκτὸς ἀπὸ τὴν περίοδο ποὺ εἶχε ἔρθει ἡ ὁμάδα γιατρῶν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἑλλάδα. Πολλοὶ πτωχοὶ ἰθαγενεῖς ἐξετάσθησαν καὶ πῆραν φάρμακα καὶ ἔγιναν καλά. Γέμιζε ὁ δρόμος ἔξω ἀπὸ τὸ κτήριο περιμένοντας τὴν σειρά τους γιὰ νὰ τοὺς ἐξετάσουν οἱ γιατροὶ ποὺ εἶχαν ἔρθει ἀπὸ τὴν Ἑλλάδα. Δὲν εἶχαν πόρτες τὰ ἐξεταστήρια. Κρεμάσαμε κουβέρτες γιὰ νὰ χρησιμοποιηθοῦν γιὰ πόρτες. Ἔπρεπε οἱ γιατροὶ νὰ ἐξετάσουν καὶ νὰ προσφέρουν τὴν βοήθειά τους στοὺς ἰθαγενεῖς ποὺ δὲν εἶχαν χρήματα νὰ πᾶνε στὸν γιατρό, δὲν εἶχαν χρήματα νὰ πάρουν φάρμακα, οὔτε μιὰ ἀσπιρίνη νὰ ἀγοράσουν. Συγκινητικὲς οἱ στιγμὲς ποὺ ζήσαν οἱ γιατροὶ, συγκινητικὲς οἱ στιγμὲς ποὺ ζήσαμε ὅλοι, ἕνα δάκρυ μᾶς ξέφευγε βλέποντας τὸν πόνο τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἀλλὰ καὶ μιὰ χαρὰ ὅτι ἡ Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία προσέφερε κάτι. Ἐλάφρυνε τὸν πόνο τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Δοξάσαμε τὸν Θεὸ, ζητήσαμε ἀπὸ τὴν Παναγία μας καὶ τὸν ἅγιο Παντελεήμονα νὰ βοηθήσουν νὰ ὁλοκληρωθεῖ τὸ Κέντρο Ὑγείας μας, τὸ μικρὸ νοσοκομεῖο μας.The construction work in our little hospital has stopped due to lack of funding. It did not manage to work, except for the period when the team of doctors from Greece had arrived. Then, a large number of poor natives were examined, took some medication and were cured. The road outside the building was full of people, patiently waiting for their turn to be examined by the doctors who had come from Greece. The examination rooms did not have doors, so we hung blankets for doors. The doctors had to examine and offer their help to the natives who could not afford to see a doctor, and had no money to buy any medicine, not even an aspirin.
The moments that the doctors lived were very emotional. All of us were emotional watching so many poor people suffering. Our eyes misted over with tears of pain at the sight of their plight, but also of joy that the Orthodox Church offered something to our poor, forlorn brothers there alleviating their pain and giving them some hope for the next day. We praised and glorified God and asked the Most Holy Theotokos and Saint Panteleimon to help us complete our Health Center, our little hospital. The pandemic was coming, and we still had not managed to complete it, to offer something to these long-suffering people who live in utter poverty. We felt deep sorrow and grief; we prayed and apologized to God for our inability to help. We could not look these poor people who live around our small hospital in the eye. What would they think? “You gave us hope for a few days, and now in the difficult period of the pandemic, you have left us all alone!”
A lot of people kept asking: “when is the Health Center going to open? When will the doctors come? When will you help us?” We avoided approaching the place all this time. We only put a guard there. We were feeling awful for not being able to find any money to proceed with the construction work. As a result, the health center remained closed when it was most needed, when it was supposed to be open and offer the love of Orthodoxy to our needy brothers. We were absent. We were overwhelmed by sorrow and grief; however, we had no choice but to keep it closed due to lack of money. Towards the end of the first phase of the pandemic, we started the work again with the money sent to us by our philanthropic brothers. With the help of the friends of the Metropolis and the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity of Thessaloniki, the internal doors and some medical and hospital equipment were loaded into the container and are coming. The ground floor, when everything else that is needed has been completed, will be able to operate. We want to believe this will happen soon if our philanthropic brothers help us.
On the first floor, which includes an operating room, treatment rooms and a conference room, there is still a lot of work to be done: electrical and plumbing installation, tile flooring, door and roofing installation, appropriate medical and hospital equipment installation. All this needs a lot of money to be accomplished. We believe and hope that our Most Holy Theotokos, the mother of us all, and St. Panteleimon, to both of whom our small hospital «Panagia Soumela – Agios Panteleimon» is dedicated, will enlighten devout brothers and philantropists, who will help for its completion and provide medical care and assistance to the poor natives. At the same time, a medical group of friends of the Holy Metropolis, headed by the priest-doctor, professor of Medicine and director of the Health Center of Vari Attica Fr. Michael Dandoulakis, is making the necessary preparations to organize the operation of our small Hospital. We are making an earnest appeal to doctors to support this effort.
Our Metropolis has no resources here in Congo or anywhere else, it relies solely on the donations of those who selflessly deprive themselves of some things in order to help us. Thus, the only way to complete our hospital and render it operational is through everyone’s contribution. Without your help and support, this God-pleasing project is condemned to fail.
We humbly pray to the Benevolent God to reward the love and sacrifice of the donors with rich heavenly and earthly blessings.
† Nikiphoros of Kinshasa