How it started…
The leprosarium had not seen a doctor in nine years or a missionary in four. The mud brick buildings were run-down and inadequate and funding was about to be withdrawn. It looked like the mission work at Cavango would close down. When Dr. Robert Foster and his wife, Belva arrived in December of 1970, there were 250 leprosy patients and a few African staff members that had been caring for them as best they could. Dr. Foster preached of the saving grace of Jesus Christ in the Luchazi language on the first Sunday and began to forge strong relationships with the Africans there, hoping to build up the people as well as a clinic.
By 1974, the hospital had seen nearly 100,000 patients with Dr. Foster often performing 2-3 major surgeries each day. About 350 new converts had been added to God’s family and twenty churches had been established in the surrounding villages. Many of the leprosy patients had healed enough to return to their villages.
In February of 1975, the war in Angola, which had seemed so far away, escalated and came like a wildfire to Cavango. Dr. Foster and the other missionaries had to flee leaving all behind.
Soldiers ransacked the entire compound. All the drugs, furnishings and equipment were stolen; missionaries’ homes emptied…everything gone. Leprosy patients fled into the bush and staff disappeared. Thirty of the weakest and most deformed patients were herded into a grass hut and set ablaze. No one escaped.
Restoring it again…
In July of 2006, 81 year old Dr. Robert Foster returned to Cavango, with his grandson, Daniel, daughter and son-in-law, Shelley and Peter Duplantis and friend Sean Reimer. With a financial commitment from Samaritan’s Purse, the re-building of a clinic had begun. The clinic is now a satellite of the larger /CEML hospital in Lubango. See our video about the Needs in Angola.
During his six weeks in Cavango, Dr. Foster again preached, after 30 years, in the Luchazi language. After 4 weeks of primitive bush living, piping was completed from a near-by spring producing 90 liters of water per minute. The Lord also provided Angolans, trained as nurses, to run the clinic. Tim and Betsy Kubacki, a medical doctor and his wife have now been stationed at Cavango, but the 500 kilometer trip by car from Lubango is a bone-jarring 12-hour adventure. The need for an airstrip is evident and funds have come in through AGA and MAF to start the 1,000 meter (3,000 feet) runway project.
To learn how you can give to the support the work at the Cavango Mission Station and to bring Doctors by air, click here, or click below on 'Donate Now' and designate to 'Cavango Mission Station'.
Click on the slideshow below to view pictures of the missionary home and the clinic at Cavango.