Four-Day Visit To Cogo

WP_20160710_001July 12-15 our family traveled to the interior community of Cogo in southwestern Equatorial Guinea. We were hosted by Pastor Clemente and his family. Pastor Clemente is a graduate of our seminary. Cogo is located near the southern boarder of the country just a few miles north of Gabon. It only took about 90 minutes to drive from Bata to Cogo. Our family had some absolutely amazing experiences.

The purpose of our visit was twofold; 1) to get to know the Fang language and culture better, and, 2) to get a taste of life in the interior of the country.

Pastor Clemente’s house, where we stayed, is a typical home in the small communities that pock the jungle interior of the country. Five kids and two adults share a simple house. The kitchen is a small detached building with scrap wood walls and a wood burning stove. There is no running water in any home in the community and the electricity only comes on for a few hours each day. Like every home in the 2,000 person community, the pastor’s family baths in the river or carts water up the hill to be used for a sponge bath in their outhouse.

WP_20160713_103Erin brought her bag of medical supplies and she and Maddy worked with the local pastors to hold impromptu medical clinics either under shade canopy in the jungle or inside somebodies simple home. Over three clinics Erin treated more than 100 patients. She tested for Malaria and diagnosed many cases of anemia and high blood pressure. In many cases Erin was able to identify many very treatable problems, but the people didn’t have the funds to purchase the medication from the nearest pharmacy. In other cases, Erin gave people the hard news that they had major health problems and needed to find a way to get into Bata to see medical specialists.

WP_20160712_027Our family visited two different churches. Mike was afforded the opportunity to preach at both churches. Mike preached in Spanish and his message was simultaneously translated into Fang. The first church we visited was in the small community of Rio Muni where pastor Clemente serves. The second church we visited was an amazing church with dirt floors and rotten wood walls. The community was in the middle of the deep jungle. It took 30 minutes of driving on dirt roads to reach the church. The 300 people who live there have no electricity or water source other than rain water. This church in the dense jungle was planted 85 years ago by passing missionaries and has existed continuously ever since.

WP_20160713_080The highlight for our family was taking a 20-minute boat trip out to a small island named Gandai. The island has no power or water and 30 people live on the island in small wood homes. The residents seldom go onto the mainland and sustain themselves by fishing and farming. We spent time with the salty old fishermen who still fish from carved out wooden canoes and hand woven fishing nets. We also spent time with the other residents, which consisted of lots of kids. Unless these people have an emergency they don’t go to the mainland for medical treatment. Erin and Maddy were able to whip up a quick medical clinic and provide important vitamins to the kids and wound care for a couple of seriously infected cuts. Some of the residents had never been off of the small island.

This was an amazing experience to better get to know the rural, jungle, Fang culture that is so prevalent here. This was an experience few outsiders would ever get the chance to see.