WERKOK, Sudan -- It’s a movement that started right here in West Michigan, and it’s helping to improve life half a world away. They call themselves Partners in Compassionate Care and they built a hospital in Africa. Now they hope to help rebuild a war-torn country.
Fox 17’s Cassandra Arsenault traveled to South Sudan to see how people from West Michigan are making a difference thousands of miles away.
Partners in Compassionate Care is not just building a hospital for the South Sudanese and saying “Good luck.” What’s different about this organization than some other western organizations is that they have plans to help the community thrive off these developments, and are committed to helping them see it through.
Memorial Christian Hospital that Partners in Compassionate Care built is the only hospital with an x-ray machine and ultra sound in South Sudan. Government officials want it to stay standing for years, but construction is always a concern, and a learning process.
“Because black cotton soil is the worse in the world to build on, we have some cracking problems, and they have to be fixed. It’s going to cost money. Where is that money going to come from? I don’t know,” said David Bowman, founder of Partners in Compassionate Care.
There are more people in need of medical help than the hospital can handle.
there are more people in need of medical help than the hospital can handle.
“My hope is to expand PCC. By expanding I don’t mean to build more hospitals that is not what if am talking about. I am talking about building small clinics in rural areas,” said Deng Alier, a lost boy and part of Partners in Compassionate Care.
One of the places they are looking to expand their clinics to is Malek. They make the villages provide the buildings, but then they provide the equipment and the staff to run the pharmacies.
The hospital is a five mile walk, and a sick person would never make it and the roads are barely passable.
“You can’t even call it a road,” said Bowman.
The non-existent roads make it hard to respond to emergencies. While we were in South Sudan we experience it firsthand. We had several cars break down to do the deep ditches.
An African immigrant now living in Salt Lake City is building new roads from Bor to the hospital. This is a huge success for the hospital and the hospital staff.
“Abraham is into the road building business so what the government has been promising to do for us since 2008, Abraham did in one weekend. I am so thrilled,” said Bowman.
They are also turning trash filled abandoned buildings back into schools. The schools have been abandoned for over a year due to the violence in the area. A large compound with nine well-built buildings sits unused.
“The vision for that school, and the reason why I am passionate about that is because South Sudan will never develop if the people aren’t educated,” said Bowman.
Roads, healthcare and education are easy to come by in West Michigan, but a work in progress in one of the worlds’ newest nations. It’s a challenge PCC is trying to take on.