September 2017 Heart of Nuba Update

an update on your fundraising efforts for Mother of Mercy Hospital

Posted by OBS Team on September 26th, 2017

In October 2016, Operation Broken Silence launched the Heart of Nuba Campaign, an online fundraising movement focused on supporting Mother of Mercy Hospital in the war-torn Nuba Mountains of Sudan. This is a brief update about Dr. Tom and your progress so far. 


People in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan have been living in emergency conditions since June of 2011, when the government of Sudan launched a relentless campaign of terror and death against their communities. The Sudanese government has officially banned all aid and media organizations from the Nuba Mountains in an attempt to cover it’s crimes. The deteriorating situation here has become a forgotten conflict for much of the world. Click or tap the map for a visual. 

In the warzone sits Mother of Mercy hospital, one of the only medical facilities in the region. This life-saving facility is led by American Dr. Tom Catena and a small local staff. Dr. Tom and the local staff refuses to leave and does their best to save lives in the midst of carnage and terror, treating as many as 400 patients a day at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Access to basic medical supplies is extremely limited.  The hospital depends entirely on fundraising and donations to treat the wounded and train the staff.

Heart of Nuba Campaign Update

The Heart of Nuba Campaign is the official online fundraising effort of The Heart of Nuba film, a feature-length documentary about Dr. Tom and the staff at Mother of Mercy Hospital. Funds raised through the Heart of Nuba Campaign go to supporting the amazing work being done everyday at the hospital. You can watch the trailer below:

To date, 13 fundraisers and 2 fundraising teams have raised over $20,000 from 90 donors through their fundraising pages. So far, $16,000 of these funds you have already raised have been sent to the hospital! Great work!

Here's a recent update from Dr. Tom himself:

Dear Friend,

August is the middle of the rainy season and the time of the most acute food shortages. This time of year we have what’s called a ‘hunger gap’ which is the time from when last year’s food has run out and people have yet to harvest this year’s crop. The hunger gap is normally from the end of June through August. The problem is that this year’s hunger gap started in March and has gotten progressively worse over the past few months. The women from the villages have lined up at the hospital gate every morning since March offering to work for a small amount of grain. The grain meant for general distribution has been getting depleted as more and more women come seeking work in exchange for food. It’s very difficult to send a hungry person away especially when they are willing to work for their food. Our staff have no food at home and come to us asking for help. We are a hospital and we struggle to take care of the huge number of patients that come to us every day. However, as one of the few functioning institutions in a region wracked by civil war and poverty, we have to take on the role of humanitarian food relief as well because the large international organizations that normally perform this role are barred from entering the Nuba Mountains by order of the Sudan government.  Despite these challenges, we are hopeful that the Nuba people will make it through this trying period with their characteristic resilience and toughness.

Last month, we experienced a major flood at the hospital as the normally dry river beds filled with water and overflowed its banks after a torrential downpour. The hospital building was under water as the river flowed swiftly through the hospital grounds. I went to the operating room to find our equipment floating around on a foot and a half of water. Our staff reacted quickly to the crisis by getting the critically ill patients evacuated to higher ground and continuing on with their treatment. It took us two days to get to get the place cleaned up but we managed to continue with all of our usual services with no major disruptions. Because of the grace of God, there was no major damage or loss of life although our main 25 kW generator has been damaged and rendered unusable. The river bed has now changed course and leaves us vulnerable to repeated floods so we are trying to find ways now to divert the river’s course and protect the river banks from further erosion.

In the midst of these difficulties we place our trust in the Lord that He will see us through. With every challenge, there is a sign of hope to buoy our spirits and keep us moving ahead. A newborn baby recently came to us with a rare condition called a sacral myelomeningocele. This is a condition where the baby has a congenital defect in the spinal canal and develops a large sac at the base of the lower back full of spinal fluid and nerve tissue. The anesthesia was expertly done by two of our local nurses who received their anesthesia training at Kijabe Mission Hospital in Kenya supported by African Mission Healthcare Foundation. The operation was a success and the baby can expect a normal life.

As a mission hospital in remote rebel held territory, we are almost completely dependent on donors to allow us to continue the work in taking care of the Nuba people. I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all of our donors for their generous contributions. 

God bless you, Tom Catena

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The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is working to accelerate their ability to generate lasting change through media and mobilization, education and emergency response, and advocacy programs. Here are a few different ways you can support Dr. Tom and Mother of Mercy Hospital:

1. Give Monthly. This is the best and easiest way to support the lifesaving work being done every day at Mother of Mercy Hospital. You can play a huge role in their work by joining The Renewal, which is our monthly recurring giving program. LEARN MORE »

2. Start Fundraising. You can start a personal fundraising page for the Heart of Nuba Campaign and ask your friends and family to give. This is an excellent way to support these classrooms and get your community involved as well. START FUNDRAISING »

3. Give. If you're not ready to make a monthly giving or fundraising commitment yet, making a one-time donation is the perfect next step for you. GIVE HERE »

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