Thursday, February 4, 2016

Coming to the US

Greetings from sunny Kijabe, Kenya where we are enjoying our southern hemisphere summer weather.  This year we will enjoy two summers because we will be on home assignment in the US from late March - late August.  We will be splitting most of our time between Harlingen, TX and San Antonio, TX but are planning visits to Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Greenville, SC; Nashville, TN; Salt Lake City, UT and Birmingham, AL.  We will also be attending the American Pediatric Surgical Association meeting in San Diego in May.  We hope to be able to visit and reconnect with many of you during our time in the US.  

We are always grateful for your prayers and support of our family and of the work we are doing here in Kenya.  We are excited to be able to see many of you very soon!

Erik and Amanda Hansen

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


We are so grateful that we are able to be a part of the work that the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons does in Africa.  We thought you might appreciate this video and you might even recognize someone you know!

We are excited to debut our second video that explains in greater detail the ministry of PAACS (Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons)! Again, our thanks goes out to Silent Images for a job well done. Please feel free to share widely.
Posted by PAACS - Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons

We are so proud to be a part of the work of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons as they train surgeons in Africa.  Erik is currently training surgeons from Rwanda and Cameroon.  We'd love for you to watch this new video to learn more about this ministry.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Family Vacation

We took a short vacation in Nairobi this week.  It was nice to be able to do some of the fun, touristy things in Nairobi without having to rush to get groceries and hurry back home before dark.  Here are some of the highlights from our time there.

We fed, rode & ate (I know that is strange) ostriches at the Maasai Ostrich Resort.

We witnessed this male ostrich doing his mating dance.

We visited Paradise Lost where we went into a cave, climbed rocks around a waterfall, had a picnic and rode a boat.

We went horseback riding.  This was a first for all of the kids and they were very excited.

 It was great to have time to play together and rest together.

An Overdue Update

We are back from a nice vacation and are getting caught up on things we've neglected - like this blog.  I will post some pics from our vacation soon, but first we wanted to share some prayer requests with you.

Here are some things we’d love prayer for:
  1. Praise for Ken and Sarah Muma's return and prayer for their transition back to Kijabe (they’ve been in South Africa for the last year doing the final part of training).  Ken will be joining Erik as his partner in the pediatric surgery department.  Sarah will be working as a pediatrician at the hospital.
  2. Ken and Erik will be taking the COSECSA exams in pediatric surgery (September is the written, December is the oral)
  3. Pediatric Wing – for timely completion and the provision of the necessary funds to make this happen.
  4. For ways to be able to be strategic about medical/physical and spiritual outreach, especially to non-believers from other faiths in the region.
  5. Wisdom in interviewing and selecting the next fellow-level trainee in pediatric surgery
We really appreciate your prayers and are so thankful for you.

Stay tuned for some vacation pics - including pictures of our ostrich riding experience!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Faithfulness - by Erik

My mentor and friend, John Tarpley, lives by aphorisms and one of these is: “the only way not to spill water is not to carry water.”  As a surgeon, this is so true.  Complications are intrinsic to practicing surgery, and while we can’t avoid them completely, we work hard to minimize and eliminate them where possible.  These complications can be incredibly discouraging and at times almost paralyzing.  I read once that God doesn’t call us to be successful; He calls us to be faithful. I’ve attributed this to Mother Teresa though I suspect she just passed it on and I caught it along the way.  I’ve held on to this proverb as I’ve struggled to deal with complications throughout my training and practice as a surgeon.  This is part and parcel of being a physician, and particularly a surgeon – I’m far from unique in all of this.  I hurt with families when their children suffer and especially when they die.  We can’t understand God’s plan sometimes, but I trust and believe that He is faithful in and through all the hard things in this life.  

Just recently I operated on a newborn named Wanjiku with a condition called intestinal atresia.  This condition can manifest itself in a wide spectrum of presentations but fundamentally is a congenital blockage of the intestine.  A unique thing about this girl was that I had operated on her brother, the family’s first-born child, a little over 2y ago who had the most extreme manifestation of the condition.  Despite all our prayers and best efforts, this newborn boy died not long after birth.  When Wanjiku was brought to Kijabe Hospital with the same condition, I could see in her father’s face the concern and fear that she might suffer the same fate as her brother.  As we prayed together before Wanjiku’s operation, I too felt the trepidation of what I would find at operation.  In the operating theater I was able to inspect the intestine and found Wanjiku to have a much less severe form of atresia and right then I said out loud, “thank you, Lord.”   Everyday at Wanjiku’s bedside after the operation, I found Mom and/or Dad caring for her and I could tell that while they hoped and prayed for the best, their past experience caused them to fear the worst.  Wanjiku’s post-operative course was wholly and completely uneventful.  She sailed through the first few days waiting for her bowel to start working and then quickly advanced on feeding.  She was discharged home and came to clinic this past week gaining weight and looking great.  Her parents even then were cautiously optimistic, worried that other complications might ensue.  As we talked about their son’s death and their daughter’s current progress, I saw in them hearts that had suffered and hurt deeply as they grieved the passing of their son.  However, they expressed real belief and trust in God’s faithfulness - their faith having been tested and strengthened in the Refiner’s fire in a way that no one would ever choose.  I see them and their beautiful daughter and I praise God not just for the gift of Wanjiku and her recovery from surgery, but also for the faithfulness of a God who loves us and calls us to himself.  Even when we are not successful, He is faithful.  

(Wanjiku’s parents have graciously agreed and encouraged me to share their story on our blog.  They gave permission for me to post this picture of Wanjiku at her first clinic visit.)

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Happy Ending

It’s a pleasure to work here in Kijabe, Kenya for so many reasons.  Like any physician working in a resource-challenged environment, those of us here at Kijabe Hospital see more than our fair share of patients with late-presenting and difficult to treat problems.  We grieve with the families amidst tragedies that in another context might not be so devastating or even much of a problem at all.  The upside is that we are much more acutely aware of the reality of our constant need for Christ’s Hand to lead us and keep us going.  There are certainly joyous times as well where we get to smile with families and celebrate God’s healing here in this life.  

Today, we celebrated with Hiram and his family as he was discharged from the hospital.  This 3-year-old boy was bitten in his groin a couple of weeks ago by a neighbor’s dog.  When he showed up at the hospital, he had multiple puncture wounds from the dog’s teeth, but he also had no pulses in his leg indicating that the bites had injured the main artery going into his leg.  As we prepared to take him to the operating room, we went to the lab to make sure there would be blood available.  Unfortunately, there was no blood compatible so we began calling around to folks at the nursing school and at Rift Valley Academy (RVA).  Jeff, a dorm parent at RVA, came down immediately to donate blood.  After a 5 hour operation in the middle of the night to reconstruct the main artery in the leg, Hiram was taken to the ward with pulses in his feet.  He has recovered steadily and began taking some steps over the last 2 days.  As I think about all the pieces that went into saving his leg :

1.     Well-trained anesthetists available in the middle of the night to put a 3 year old to sleep
2.     Folks like Jeff who make themselves routinely available to donate blood
3.     Friends and colleagues like Rich who came to the hospital at 4am when he wasn’t on call to bring his Doppler machine and to give me some good counsel
4.     Nurses who care all day and night for patients like Hiram
5.     Hiram’s family who were able to procure some anti-rabies medicine from the national hospital
6.     Resident physicians who are eager and willing to learn and help out with patients
7.     The Hand of God guiding all of us to bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven

I’m exceedingly grateful, humbled, and honored to be able to get to do what I do here in East Africa with friends, colleagues and fellow laborers in Christ.

Hiram's mother has given me permission to share his story and this photo with you.