Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hand Hygiene Happens Here

Hand Hygiene Happens Here ... hmmmm
Sign on one of the Hospital exam room doors.
(they all have the same sign and look like this)
Lepeka and another senior missionary (both nurses) were asked to  do a walk through inspection of the hospital to make recommendations on how they could make some improvements in their cleanliness.  They do have limited resources and are trying to make the most out of what they have.   I have to admit that it is pretty neat that they are seeking input from outsiders as they look to improve.

The Tongan people genuinely want to help one another and healthcare is no exception.  Everyone we work with including Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, etc. have such great customer service attitudes.  They want to help.  It is difficult to compare healthcare with what we are used to in the good ol' U.S. of A. so we make these observations not as a critique but as the opportunities we see here for improvement.

Private hospital room.  We rounded up
the   chairs but one of them was broken. 
We had our busiest medical week as one missionary broke three bones in his foot and one was sick and actually in the Hospital for two days, so we thought we'd take this week to highlight healthcare in Tonga.  We are not trying to run it down but we thought it might be interesting to some to see what their healthcare consists of since so many of our friends back home are healthcare professionals.  From the photos you can tell that they do keep the patient rooms tidy and clean.

The room also had a nice sink that
worked, a soap dispenser but no paper
towels or garbage can.
Lepeka is great at making them feel loved and cared for as she takes care of the blisters, boils, sprains, occasional dog bite (only one so far) and various other maladies like rashes, hay fever, dehydration headaches and diarea dehare diahreahea the runs.  The toilet and shower are located in a community bathroom at the end of the hall.  Before Lepeka discharged the missionary from the hospital, they wanted another blood sample.  The doctor came in to the room to draw the blood.  Lepeka told him in America doctors didn't draw blood.  He smiled and said doctor's draw all the blood and if they didn't do that, what would they do.  Lepeka commented - 'they could sit around the nurses station and talk about their last golf game or next trip around the world'.  He laughed.  Guess he doesn't play golf!

Hospital bill for one day stay (to be
paid prior to discharge). TOP $30.00
(approx. $13.80 USD)
The bill on the left is for one full day in a private room and must be paid in full (cash only) prior to discharge.  Everything is included except the sheets and pillows, food, any drinking water, soap, towels, etc.  (no T.V. or internet).  Because the missionary was not from Tonga, we had a bill.  Healthcare is free for those who are from the Kingdom.  Just so you don't worry, both missionaries are doing great and are well on their way to a full recovery.  It was interesting finding an orthopaedic boot anywhere on the island, but with persistence and inspiration, we finally prevailed.  Plaster casts don't do well in this humidity and fiberglass is well ... there may not actually be a Tongan word for that.

We didn't get much done on the technology side this week as the seriousness of the missionary health issue took front stage but we did manage to get one more site survey completed and I was able to get started on the translation of the training material into Tongan. I also scheduled a formal technology training class for this Saturday morning.  I hope it goes well.

We also had a new missionary couple come in this week.  They were welcomed with open arms as we have not had any other couples arrive since we did in January and we have had 5 couples leave in the past month.  The Oldroyd's arrived safe and sound on Friday.  If you are a senior and feel the prompting of the Holy Ghost to serve a mission, you might consider Tonga as a destination preference on your application.  I can guarantee you will love serving here.  The Tongans are the best this world has to offer!

Viola Hospital in Nuku'alofa

The Kingdom of Tonga consists of 176 islands (31 inhabited) approx. 108,000.  Viola Hospital is located on the outskirts of Nuku'alofa on the main island (Tongatapu) and serves most of the population.  There are 3 community hospitals located on other islands and a few health clinics.  We try to avoid taking missionaries to the hospital as we really seem to be able to take care of most of the ailments with a little bit of nursing care, the local physician clinic ran by Dr. Latu (we really like him and he treats the missionaries very well) and some personal "mom" medicine".

When we're not doing technology training or meetinghouse surveys, I am mostly Lepeka's chauffeur, but I have wrapped a sprained ankle and given several Priesthood blessings.  I also help inspect their MQ's for cleanliness and reinforce her instructions if I sense someone needs additional coercing.  In addition to that she has made me the keeper of the lollipop.  We have a box in the car and pass them out as we meet the missionaries while we're out and about.  We also carry vai (water) in our cooler so we have that if needed.  I think the lollipops are actually what cures most of the ailments but don't tell Lepeka.

Pretty typical to see chairs (from your local church) set-up in the back of a truck, or
if they are youth, they typically just stand and cram as many people on as possible.
I didn't get a photo but I did see a tractor towing a truck with a flat bed similar to
the one above with school kids in the back.  I guess the truck must not have been
running and they needed to get the kids to school.

See if you can locate the 3 broken bones.  We have to take photos of any X-rays
to send them to NZ to be viewed by the Area Medical Authority.  We typically
just use the PC for back lighting and take the photo with our iPhone (it's the
best we have).  I think I may have been able to convince one of the techs to
upload the image to a USB next time.  We'll see how that goes but I did get the
eyebrows up signal so I'm hoping.

L-R, Elder Malimali (Tonga),  Elder Mafi (Seattle), Elder Faleao (Lehi, UT)
At our home for breakfast on Saturday morning.  They wanted grilled cheese
and ham sandwiches and a couple of fried eggs, orange juice, chips and salsa and
guacamole, ice cream and cookies.  At least all of the food groups were covered.
We love getting to know the missionaries, it is on of the highlights of our mission.

Geckos feasting on the bugs that are attracted to the light just outside the local
pizza shop across the street from Liahona High School.  As you can see,
they are well fed.


  1. Thanks for the update! Love reading about your experiences!

  2. Hope all is well with your family Cody. Give Sharice a hug for us!

  3. Dearest Elder and Sister Kapp,
    What a wonderful blog. Thank you for accepting a call to Tonga. Thank you for being a positive influence in my son's life and mission. He loves you very much and because he loves you I love you!
    The care you give to the missionaries relieves our minds here at home and when Elder Mafi mentioned you both yesterday in our chat I knew he was feeling blessed. (Words cannot convey my heartfelt appreciation) Elder Kapp your advice to him has been timely and we are thankful.
    He said you both made up the difference in $ for his uke as well. Thank you, you didn't have to do that.
    It was good to see him eating at your table as well. (All his photos got deleted so we haven't gotten many lately).
    Thank you for your kindness, talents and wisdom, and selfishly, loving our son:)
    We hope you continue to feel well and accomplish your mission there in Tonga.
    Ofa Lahi Atu!
    Heidi jo & Beni Are!

    1. We absolutely love Elder Mafi. He is a great young man with a strong spirit about him. He has blessed our lives in several ways. Thanks for the kind words! We'll keep our eyes on him.

  4. Heidi jo & Beni Mafi
    Not Are! Dang auto correct! :)

  5. 1. Guatemalans are the best the world can offer
    2. The second, third and fourth metatarsals have clean breaks.
    3. We would have cuijas(geckos) in our apartment in Malacatan. They would make kissing sounds. Looks like you have the same kind too, white almost transparent. I would leave them alone since they would eat the bugs. I wouldn't leave the ginormous flying cockroaches alone though, they saw the back of the broom.

  6. You know if you'd only just listen to the geckos, they might be able to save you 15% on car insurance.

  7. I am reminded of the value of bug getters. You have geckos there, but in Hurricane we had bats flying around every evening. They were very effective. Hopefully the balance of nature keeps all in check. Love the updates and experiences. I think of you often. Love Sam