The title above sums up pretty fairly the condition of Yemen today – with the qualification that sadly, there’s probably more heartbreak than hope.
The following e-mail received two days ago from a western friend newly returned to work with refugees in Aden was, however, encouraging. “Aden is quieter, more settled and peaceful than at any time I can remember since January. No gunfire at night, no little zips of tracer fire – nothing. The tanks have gone, the road blocks have gone. People are busy – and the electricity is back to normal or better, and heat – it’s stinky hot at the moment.”
This morning Peter spoke to Mansour, the clinic administrator in Aden, who continues most conscientiously to hold the reins at Christ Church. He reported happily that both clinics are busy, the eye clinic seeing forty patients a day, which is about capacity.
A fortnight ago he phoned to report that a wall of tiles in the operating theatre had ‘got tired’ and slipped to the floor. They have since been put up and steps taken to make sure the theatre is better ventilated. He also told us of the soaring price of drugs, and in the same breath, of romance on the campus. One of our newly qualified eye doctors has got engaged to one of our eye technicians. Both are Yemeni and great workers. We are intrigued to know how the romance began.
On the wider front, Yemen’s relatively new, interim President Adrabbah Mansour Hadi faces awesome problems – political, economic and humanitarian. The friend from whose e-mail I quoted earlier wrote in it of grinding poverty and widespread hunger and of the country’s almost complete economic collapse. But the long and irresponsible rule of the previous President, Abd-al-Saleh is thankfully over and the dire prediction of the country’s descent into civil war have mercifully not been realised up to now.
We hope we shall be able to write more authoritatively on these things when we return to Aden for another short stint in a few weeks’ time. While there, we look forward to welcoming back Drs Adel Wahba from Egypt and Jihong from Korea for intensive bouts of cataract surgery and the further training of our own eye team. Bishop Michael is also due to visit, which is exciting.
We look forward to returning with our usual mixture of eager anticipation and apprehension! The last months at home have been good and we have enjoyed getting to know grand daughter Jessica better. Peter has finished writing the book whose draft cover page is shown here and which we hope will be published before the end of the year.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to you all for your continued encouragement and support of the ministry of Christ Church and the clinics. It is a good work.
God bless and keep you. With our love and best wishes,
Peter and Nancy