Sunday, October 26, 2008

Support Raising!!

We want to thank everyone who has supported us in the past for the work here in Swaziland. Our vision still remains the same: to help the hurting and to show them Jesus; Short Term Relief - Long Term Change. We especially want to thank everyone who has supported us in our transition from 'Cup to African Leadership Partners. The transition in ministry has been smooth; we have been able to begin ministering to children, women and youth through CHIPS pediatric HIV intervention, Swaziland Breast Cancer Network’s breast cancer clinics, and Kudvumisa Glass skills program.

Daran will be coming to the states from November 8th through December 10th to re-raise our support for personal needs as well as ministry projects. We need you to contact us and set up a time that he can meet with you while he is there. He would like to share our ministry goals, vision, and plan with as many small groups as possible, over coffee or tea - nothing fancy or pretentious: Please try to think of those that would be interested in coming and hearing about the ministry God has set before us here in Swaziland. If you are interested in helping us in this way, please email us and let us know. His tentative schedule is attached. It can be modified to accommodate your schedules, but we need to hear from you!

November 7 – 16 Maryland/Pennsylvania

November 17 – 23 Travel & visits between Maryland and Louisiana

November 24 – December 1 Louisiana

December 2 – 5 Travel & visits between LA and MD

December 6 – 10 Maryland

To paraphrase James: "you have not because you do not ask ..." So we are asking: we need your financial support!

The kids are still in school until the end of November. Gabby finishes exams and graduates before having an oral surgery November 27th.

Again, we thank you for your ongoing prayers and support . We ask that you prayerfully consider joining us as we move forward. ALP's contact information is as follows:

African Leadership Partners, Inc.

P.O Box 994044

Redding, Ca 96099-4044

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards & God Bless!

Daran, Teresa, Gabrielle, Danielle, Nathanael, & Joelle

Friday, October 24, 2008

Breast Cancer Clinics

We are almost finished with the month of October. It seems like it flew by, while we were busy with breast cancer awareness campaigns, as well as breast cancer treatment campaigns. I am enjoying my work at the Swaziland Breast Cancer Network. I am coordinating our breast cancer clinics that are held two times weekly in two different locations on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We have two doctors from Cuba who are working with us in these clinics. The challenge is that the Oncologist does not speak much English as all, and my Spanish is extremely poor. We spend a good deal of our time at the clinics trying to understand each other. The other day, he was trying to get me to tell the patient to eat more beef. He didn’t know the English word for cow and I didn’t know what vaca was until he put horns on his head and I said MOO! It was quite amusing!
We are seeing quite a few patients that have breast cancer, and amazingly, some of them are very young, late 20’s, early 30’s. One young 29 year old woman came in with a large lump on one of her breasts. She said that she came last October and was told that it was cancer, but she didn’t have money to go to South Africa for treatment and so she did nothing. She returned this year, 7 months pregnant, unable to walk, lots of swollen lymph nodes, and much pain. I just wanted to cry, she would not let us admit her to the hospital for the first couple of weeks. Now she is very sick and in the hospital with a pulmonary effusion and heart problems. They are trying to let her carry the baby to term and then see if there is anything we can do to help her.
Oncology care in a third world country is very complicated. We don’t have access to a mammogram machine, so we send them for ultrasound of the breast when we find lumps on breast exams. Today, we found out that the only guy that does the ultrasounds was in a horrible car accident over the week end and is now in the hospital. Now we have no way to do ultrasounds. So, we either wait to see if the government will try to find someone else to do them, or try to negotiate with a private radiology clinic to see if they can help us. The best thing to do is to pray for the speedy recovery of the ultrasound tech that is in the hospital!
We have been very successful with our breast cancer awareness campaign this month! We are even going to companies and doing health teaching and breast exams. Our clinics are over flowing with people! We are seeing 60-70 people in a day! We have been flooding the paper with articles on breast cancer, TV, radio, posters, etc. When we finally get all of the ultrasounds done, we then send for FNA (fine needle aspiration) those that the doctor thinks are suspicious on ultrasound. A pathologist comes in from South Africa when we have 20 or more FNA’s to be done. When we get results, if they think they are fibroadenoma’s, a lumpectomy is scheduled and done by the Cuban Oncologist here in Swaziland. If it is diagnosed to be cancer, either, a mastectomy is done here, or the patient is sent for chemo first in South Africa, then a mastectomy is done here.
Our goal is to administer chemotherapy here in Swaziland. We are fund raising to buy a biological safety cabinet to mix the chemo in. Breast Cancer Network will then buy the chemotherapy drugs from a local wholesale pharmaceutical company. We have already started training nurses on chemotherapy administration. This will save the government and the patients a lot of time, headache, and money if we are successful. We want to have a cancer treatment program with high standards and excellent outcomes. We hope to expand our diagnosis and treatment program to cervical cancer this next year. Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in women in Swaziland, with breast cancer at number two. We definitely have our work cut out for us! Please keep us in your prayers as we attempt to help the women in Swaziland!

HIV Training for CHIPS

After having meetings with the health officials in the region where we are doing CHIPS (Children’s HIV Intervention Program in Swaziland), we have started training key people in the rural communities. We selected the teachers at the Christian Family Church primary school in Tambankulu and the teachers and workers at the neighborhood care points in Maphiveni and Lonhlupheko. We had 12 in attendance, and they all seemed excited and interested in what we had to say. The questions and discussions that we had were very good! We talked a lot about the stigma that surrounds HIV, especially in more rural areas. We discussed ways to minimize the stigma, as well as issues with confidentiality.

One major purpose of this training is to teach the teachers and other key people in the community how to identify children that are at high risk of being HIV positive. We talked about how HIV is affecting the children of Swaziland, and how without treatment, only 15% of Swaziland’s HIV positive children will be alive by the age of 10 years old. The importance of getting these children to testing and treatment was emphasized. The signs and symptoms that go along with being HIV positive were discussed in detail. Pictures of several different skin problems were shown to each table of trainees. Malnutrition was also discussed, as well as the importance of good nutrition in children who are HIV positive and on ART’s (antiretroviral therapy).

The higher the viral load of HIV in the body, the lower the CD4 (soldier cells) count is. When the soldier cells are attacked by the virus, the body becomes more susceptible to infections and opportunistic diseases, such as TB. When a person is started on ART’s, the viral load decreases, as the CD4 increases, and they are able to fight off infections.

Jabulani, who we hired to be the HIV counselor and driver for the CHIPS program is now in training for 5 weeks with one of the local HIV counseling and testing companies. We now have our mini-van, and will be ready to start the program when Jabulani finishes training at the end of November. Daran is working on getting the mini-van insured and ready to go. Please keep this program in your prayers, as we go forward to minister to the needs of the HIV positive children in Swaziland.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Times of Swaziland-October 21, 2008

Kudvumisa Trust receives funding

By WANDILE DLAMINI on October 21,2008

Test driving the vehicle: Brenda Jefferson handing over the mini bus keys to Teresa Rehmeyer, it will be used to transport sick children to clinics and hospitals.

MBABANE – Kudvumisa Trust has received the start up funding to begin the Children’s HIV Intervention Program in Swazi-land (CHIPS).

Primary funding for CHIPS is being provided by The Claypotts Trust, administered by Pastor Ken Jefferson of the Mbabane Chapel. Both Kudvumisa Trust and Claypotts Trust are christian charitable organisations.

CHIPS was boosted when Claypotts Trust donated a mini-bus to them, as means of transport for sick children they will be assisting.

The mini-bus will be used to transport children and their caregivers to clinics and hospitals. CHIPS will identify children who will be candidates for testing, then a person in the community will be trained to provide pre-test counselling to the child and caregiver. They will also provide transport and assistance with adherence, inter-community support advocacy, and education.


This organisation will also provide in-community, in-home pre-test counselling and ongoing support and education, provide reliable and on-going transport to clinics and hospitals for testing, counselling, treatment, and support, educate the whole community, the children and adults, to increase their health and well-being.

They will look to changing people’s attitudes and behaviours towards testing, treatment, and people who are infected, and promote "Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PM-TCT)".

On behalf of the organisation, Director for Kudvumisa Trust/CHIPS Teresa Rehmeyer said the donation would go a long way in assisting many under-privileged children.

Handing over the vehicle on behalf of Claypotts Trust, Pastor Ken Jefferson said they were always willing to assist wherever they could, especially since HIV was a serious problem in the country.

"I hope that many lives will be saved because of this vehicle," said Jefferson.

CHIPS will begin working in the north-eastern Lubombo Region in December. More information on CHIPS can be obtained from Teresa Rehmeyer, her e-mail addres is

Friday, October 17, 2008

CHIPS - Fist Steps

We have started the first steps in the CHIPS program. The mini bus was purchased last week. Jabulani, a young man from Tambankulu was hired and began HIV counseling training this week. Teresa and Lori have been meeting with local health officials in the Lubombo Region to develop relationships and working protocols with the administrators, doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics in the area.
Today, Teresa is going to to conduct a training session for the teachers at Pastor Duarte's primary school in Tambankulu and the teachers from the neighborhood care point and community pre-school in Maphiveni. One of the first goals of the program is to have people in the communities who have interaction with the children to be the first line of referral for children who are candidates for HIV testing. The training today will teach them how to recognize symptoms, illness history, and family medical history that may indicate HIV.
These pictures were taken in Section 19, a squatter settlement in the sugar cane fields of Vuvulane. This will be one of the areas we will be initially working in.
We want to thank and recognize Claypotts Trust for making this outreach possible.

Friday, October 03, 2008

US Presidential Debate

This is an apolitical comment. We sat Monday at the embassy here and watched a re-broadcast of the first Presidential debate. It got a good chuckle when Senator McCain talked about foreign countries getting a "free lunch" from the US, as we all were sitting there eating pizza compliments of the Public Affairs section of the embassy. On a more serious note though, I wanted to comment on something Senator Obama said. He talked about his father coming from Kenya and that at that time, the US was a"beacon of hope" for the world. That everyone dreamed of coming to the US and that that did not exist now. Having worked with impoverished youth here in Swaziland for the past three years, I can say, and I think with out fear of contradiction, that the US is still a beacon of hope for the world. We have heard it over and over again: I want to go to America so I can work, go to school....... While there are plenty of people that hate the US here (and with the steady diet of negative news they get here, it's no wonder), the people which yearn for a better life or an opportunity of a better life still look to the US as a land of opportunity.