Guesthouses are like onions: they have layers.
The outer layer of the CURE Niger patient guesthouse meets a physical need. Our patients come not only from all over Niger but also from all parts of West Africa. Our guesthouse ensures that these patients won’t have to worry about whether they can afford a place to stay when they make (what can be) an expensive, multi-day voyage to our hospital for surgeries and doctor appointments.
The next layer of the guesthouse ensures the thorough and diligent execution of CURE’s mission to heal the sick. Niger consistently ranks among the world’s most underdeveloped countries, and some villages lack the roads needed to connect them to our hospital. Public transportation systems are unreliable at best. Frankly, these obstacles mean that many (if not most) patients would never make it back to CURE Niger after their initial surgery. Having a guesthouse where patients can stay for extended lengths of time is an invaluable asset to the hospital. The guesthouse ensures patients can complete post-operative care programs, minimizing the chance of complications and possible repeat surgeries.
The final (and most important) layer ensures CURE’s mission of proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Our spiritual ministry at CURE Niger looks vastly different than many of our other hospitals. While the other hospitals certainly have their work cut out for them, many of their patients already call themselves Christian. In Niger, where less than 1% of the population identifies as Christian, the spiritual staff has to start from scratch. Conversion to Christianity or participation in spiritual ministry activities is never required; all are welcome at our hospital. Our spiritual team is there to explain the motivation behind the good work that CURE does. (If you’re not sure what that motivation is, I’ll give you a hint. It’s Jesus.) The guesthouse provides the spiritual staff with the time needed to not only tell our patients about Christ but to also consistently demonstrate and offer the love of Christ to the patients and their caretakers.
The basics of Christianity are a foreign concept to most of our patients, and we don’t witness the spiritual fruit that develops in most of our patients. The planted seeds need to be nurtured and cared for, and extended stays at the guesthouse give us time to do just that.
Our current guesthouse has room for 14 patients and their guardians, and it is almost always filled to the brim. Over the past seven months, CURE Niger built a second guesthouse, more than doubling the number of patients and guardians we can house for long-term stays. (The new guesthouse is the result of a collaborative effort between CURE International and Australian Aid.)
Our grand opening was a big event! The US and Australian Ambassadors were in attendance along with several representatives from the Nigerien Ministry of Community Development.
But the most important guests have yet to arrive. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll fill these new beds with new patients who have traveled from near and far in search of healing. We will give these patients the life-changing surgeries they need, we’ll both explain and demonstrate the love of Christ to them, and we will welcome them into our loving, transient family for as long as the Lord will have them stay!
Photos chronicling the construction of our second guesthouse: