If only all our questions had easy answers...

The Huang family newsletter

june/july 2020
We are sitting at the Libreville airport, waiting to board a flight that will get us, eventually to the United States, a country we have not stepped foot in for nearly two years and in which we haven’t lived for four years. We're leaving Gabon, the one place we've lived the longest since the birth of our son 5 years ago. We leave the hospital, our neighbours, our teammates: we’re leaving our home.

You may have questions. We have many ourselves. Not all of them are answerable. But here are, at least, the answers to a few.
Are you leaving because of the pandemic?

Not directly. Gabon has continued to see a rapid rise in cases, registering 4849 positive cases by PCR tests as of 23 June 2020. The vast majority, however, are in the capital of Libreville. The numbers at Bongolo and our local province of Ngounié remain few, and the hospital has a dedicated Covid-19 isolation ward ready to accept patients. The hospital administration remains in close contact with the provincial health leadership, and we remain confident that Bongolo is well-positioned to deal with the pandemic as it spreads throughout the country.
Are you leaving Gabon for good?

Somewhat unexpectedly, yes. Originally we had planned to stay in Gabon until the end of the year, or perhaps even longer, depending on how the Covid-19 crisis played out in the country. However, due to some unexpected changes, we have made the difficult decision to finish our term with Samaritan’s Purse a few months early and leave Gabon for good.

What unexpected changes?
This currently somewhat amorphous individual is due at the end of December.
Wow, congratulations!

Not really a question, but thank you.

Is it a boy or girl?

Kimberley is just finishing her first trimester, so we don’t yet know, and, similar to our firstborn, we will likely let ourselves be surprised.

But why leave now if the baby’s not due till December?

Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t have left until a few weeks before the anticipated delivery. However, the Gabonese land, sea, and air borders have been closed to commercial passenger traffic since March 20. We are embarking on the fourth and potentially final repatriation flight organised in conjunction with the US Embassy here in Gabon to evacuate its citizens from the country.

Seeing as we simply don’t know when the borders will reopen, adding in our desire to deliver the baby closer to where Kim’s family can be present, and knowing that the US Embassy guarantees no further repatriation flights, we were left with little option but to take the only flight available to us.
Lining up our bags at the otherwise deserted Libreville International Airport.
Where are you going?

This special charter flight (operated by, oddly enough, the national airline of the Faroe Islands) will get us to Paris. From there, we have bought tickets to Portland, Oregon, where we will plan to stay with anDrew’s parents for at least a few weeks.
Does this mean you never plan to go back to Gabon?

Never say never says Bieber, but we do not anticipate returning to Bongolo Hospital long-term.

Why not?

This is a difficult question, the answer to which could fill hours of conversation. Suffice to say, we are extraordinarily privileged to have served at Bongolo these past two years. We are sadly leaving behind deep and meaningful relationships. The work at Bongolo Hospital continues; it is always challenging, occasionally overwhelming, and certainly a blessing to many. Gabon will always have a special place in our hearts.
Bongolo Hospital remains one of the few places in Gabon with the willingness and capacity to treat some of the country's most vulnerable, like this premature infant requiring surgery.
Where are you guys going to settle?

Again, another difficult question. Our families live in the US and Taiwan, but our permanent residence (and medical insurance) is in Canada.

Our current plan (subject to the whims of air travel, government restrictions, consular hurdles, etc) is to stay in the US for a couple months, then to temporary relocate to Taipei, where the kids can enroll for a semester in preschool and kindergarten and where Kim can deliver the baby close to her family.

Soon after the baby’s expected arrival, anDrew is scheduled to start a one-year plastic surgery fellowship in Melbourne, Australia, focusing on pediatric hand surgery and microsurgery.

Wow. That seems like an ambitious plan. Haven’t Taiwan and Australia restricted entry to only their citizens?

Yes. We are acutely aware of the travel restrictions around the Pacific rim, and so even though our plans were set into motion months ago, we really have no way to tell if any of them will come to fruition. We, along with countless others during this entire year, are living with personal and collective uncertainty on so many levels. So we hold our plans with a loose grip, and we wait.
In the era of face masks, curfews, and travel embargoes: the faculty and residents of the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons residency program at Bongolo Hospital, Gabon.
What about my financial support to your work?

To those of you who have faithfully supported us financially over the past three years (or even longer), words cannot express our deep, heartfelt gratitude for your persistent, loyal giving, allowing us to learn, minister, and work in some challenging environments.  As we are no longer commissioned with Samaritan’s Purse, we thank you and release you from your financial support.

For those of you who give by automatic debit, you can stop your support:

In the US: Call 1-828-262-1980 and ask for Donor Services. Our project number is 003718.

In Canada: Call 1-800-663-6500 and ask for Donor Services. Our project number is 003718.

In the UK: Call 020-8559-1180 or 020-8559-2044 and ask for Donor Ministries.

In Australia: Call 1300-884-486, or email Our project number is AU-6216.

And now...for some family pictures!

Africans are often late to most social functions -- except, we learned, to yard sales. Many of our African friends and neighbours came extra early to our yard sale as we prepared to empty our house.
Thanks to our teammates, the kids got to experience their first-ever fire pit and marshmallow roasting. Marshmallows were roasted, burned, and eaten with delight!
One of the biggest things we'll miss? The constant supply of friends and playmates for our children. A big Merci to our neighbours and teammates!
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Copyright © 2020 The Huang Dynasty, All rights reserved.

This newsletter is about Andrew, Kimberley, Nolan, Solène and Ewen Huang, and their time in France, Gabon, Australia, and beyond.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely ours, and they do not necessarily represent those of Samaritan's Purse or World Medical Mission.

The Huang Dynasty PO Box 820152 Vancouver, WA 98682 USA
PO Box 2233, Warman SK S0K 4S0 CANADA

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