Dave Bowman

Bowman undertakes next ‘humanly impossible task’

December 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

No one believed Dave Bowman’s first “humanly impossible” undertaking could become a reality. When the Rockford man, retired and with poor health, discovered that the Lost Boys of Sudan, brought to Grand Rapids in 2000, had never had access to health care, a dentist or doctor, he vowed to build a hospital in that war-ravaged country. There was no infrastructure there—no roads, airport, buildings, government. Bowman remained undeterred. “I asked God how this could be and asked people to do something,” he said. Finally he understood that he had to take the first step and go to Sudan to get the project started.  He formed a nonprofit organization Partners in Compassionate Care Sudan (PCCSudan.org). Less than a decade and thousands of volunteer hours and dollars later, the Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) was built and staffed, and sees 60 to 70 people a day. Bowman doesn’t believe in offering free services to the Sudanese people, but in helping them build an economy where they can use the resources at their disposal. With this in mind, he is on to his next series of what he calls ‘”humanly impossible tasks.” He wants the hospital to be self-sufficient by the year 2015. He wants to help the people in Sudan have access to clean water. He wants to see an economy become established, with drip irrigation, fish farms, and a year-round landing air strip. “It may sound impossible. What hospital is self-supporting, even here in the United States?” Bowman asked. “Is that possible, humanly speaking? No. I believe it’s going to happen.” Bowman described himself as practically floating in the air since his recent return from the World Medical Conference. While there he saw an example of an incredibly efficient water filter. Water-born illness is the prime source of sickness and death in Sudan, especially in children. The filters are small, simple and efficient. Bowman bought 100. Bowman said he wanted to be sure the filters worked before taking them back to Sudan. He took some water from his tap and ran it through the filter. Then he filtered some water from a fetid duck pond near his Bostwick Lake home. Both samples went to the Kent County Health Department for testing. They came back clean. The filters […]

Rockford man’s ‘humanly impossible’ task saving lives

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA What did you do for spring break? One Rockford man and his family spent it in war-torn Sudan, Africa, seeing the result of ten years of passion, faith and miracles. Dave Bowman, with his wife, sons and daughter and their children, underwent a 24-hour trip to Sudan to see the dedication of a hospital that is the only one of its kind in a country where the people literally had no medical options.   The trip, with family members ranging in age from 11-year-old Sarah Hammond to Dave and his wife Nancy, who had her 72nd birthday on the trip. The experience included close proximity to scorpions, termites “on steroids” and two choices of toilet: the long-drop or short-drop outhouse. Still, each family member considers the venture a journey that changed their lives profoundly and permanently.   The ten family members went to see the result of ten years of passion, prayer and hands-on work: a hospital in Sudan. At the outset of the effort to build the hospital, organizers were told it was a humanly impossible endeavor. “Imaging building a hospital in New York and you have to bring the supplies to build it from Florida and there are no roads in between,” said Bowman. “Supplies either came from Nairobi, 16,000 miles away or they came from Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s what gives me goose bumps.” In a way, the hospital is the result of a diagnosis of severe heart disease and diabetes Bowman received. His doctor recommended he no longer work and he was forced to re-evaluate his life. At the time, there had been news stories of a genocidal war in Sudan where entire tribes of people were killed so their land could be taken. Children, primarily boys as young as four, were without living family members and fending for themselves in a harsh and desolate landscape. Bowman had heard about these “lost boys” who were being brought to the United States by the U.S. government. “I thought, ‘I can’t work, but maybe I can be a father to these boys.’” Bowman picked up his new sons at the airport in December, 2000. “At that time I had absolutely no idea I’d have a second career like this.” As […]