On the morning of Sunday 23rd June 2013, there was heavy rainfall in Cameroon. I left my residence in Kumbo that afternoon for Douala airport, and arrived there next day. I boarded Air France for Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Paris on 25th June.
From CDG the next morning my flight was delayed and I arrived at London Heathrow International airport about two hours late. Dr Peter, who had left Warkton village at 4am, waited for me in vain, and had barely left the airport, thinking I had missed my flight, when I arrived. He could only learn about this in the next four hours, in Warkton. He kindly drove back to Heathrow to pick me up; driving to and from London twice in one day, a thing he had never done before.
This late arrival caused a lot of changes in my UK plans, but thanks to Dr Catherine D’Souza who brilliantly offered more of her time and resources than originally envisaged, the problems were resolved. She drove to Warkton from her home in Castle Donnington, and drove me back to spend the night at her home. This would help me get to Leeds teaching hospital next day, on time. At 6am on 26th June I left Castle Donnington train station for Leeds.
I got there on time for my planned Thursday morning presentation in the pediatric oncology and haematology unit, and gave a talk about my role as a nurse practitioner in the care of children with Burkitt Lymphoma. The audience was astonished, and added that they could hardly believe their ears regarding what we can achieve in Africa; especially with our very limited resources. The rest of the day I spent in the clinic with the nurses, and the doctors, and I also went round the wards and other departments of the hospital directly concerned with this unit. I saw more specialized, high standard care given to these children. Finally, I got the train back to Castle Donnington, and Dr Peter came from Warkton village to pick me up.
After a restful night in Warkton village, I went for a dog walk (the first in my life!) on 27th June in the morning. The rest of the day was spent shopping at TESCOs and going round the Northamptonshire villages. What fascinated me was the monument near one of the villages signifying the area where the American airmen who fought in the second world war were based. I was equally amazed at the old buildings which have been preserved for centuries, one of which, in Weekley village, is the place where children were taught to “reade and write”.
I was privileged to attend a service at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge on 28th June where I listened to the wonderful voices of the Choristers as they sang. It was a very solemn service.
Another thrilling time was the fund raising event I attended at Burton Latimer on Saturday, 29th June, organized by the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. This was a wonderful evening of ‘barn dancing’ – (the first in my life!) at a nearby Garden Centre, with lots of fun and physical exercise.
Sunday was very thrilling too. I attended church service in the morning at St Edmund’s Warkton, Dr Peter’s church, and the evening service at Fuller Baptist Church, Kettering, Dr Paul’s church. Both services encouraged me as a Christian.
Monday July 1st was for resting, and packing for my journey home early next morning.
This one week in the English Midlands was a most memorable and very busy time. I experienced and achieved a lot. I could not have done it without help from friends and family.
Vera; Nurse Practitioner, Banso Baptist Hospital, Kumbo
North West Region, Cameroon, W Africa.