Thursday, November 3, 2011

Clinic days in Korah

We participated in a week long clinic for the people of Korah to receive free medical attention. The 6 of us (Katie, De, Kevin, Denise, Blaine and I) joined up with a the first ever medical group that Visiting Orphans had sent out. The group consisted of a retired doctor, a nurse practitioner, a 4th year medical student, many nurses, a pharmacist and non-medical people.

I am an LPN, albeit a rusty one. My job, along with Janet was to do triage. All the patients came to us first and we, through interpreters found out what what there medical problem was. A group of about 15 people came into our half of the church and came one at a time to our table.

We saw a huge variety of people with a myriad of medical concerns. The boy above had problems with his eyes. They were so red and bothered him. Unfortunately, we had nothing go give him. This was often the case and that was the frustrating part. Next time...bring eye drops.

Beautiful mother and her 2 little ones.

This was the side of clinic where the patients received treatment. These 2 nurses showed the people a lot of love and care.

All the patients received a bottle of water, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Toothpaste was in huge demand. They call it "Colgate" whether it is actually Colgate of not.

More sweeties. These kids had already been triaged and were waiting to see the doctor.

I guess you can see who Blaine attracts...the girls! Like father, like son...Blake did the same thing. In all his pictures from last year, he is surrounded by girls.

There is no such thing as being lonely in Korah. The minute the van drives in the kids surround you, run after the van and follow it until you get out. It is so wonderful!

The little girl on the far left is Marta. She is in love with De. She comes off as a tough little cookie but she really is soft and tender. The second day we were there, she presented De with an envelope with a love letter inside and a cute heart shaped necklace. He wore it the rest of the, so sweet. On the last day when we pulled away, she stood there watching us drive away with big tears running down her cheeks. The other girls were surprised at her show of emotion and began laughing at her. She made her 'mean face' and stomped off. De has a special way of bringing out the very best in people, even tough cookies like Marta.

The girl in turquoise with her elbow on Blaine's shoulder is Beza. She is a girl we sponsor there in Korah. She's very sweet and as all the girls do, she loved Blaine.

The girl in the brown sweater toward the right is Fasika. If you have an amazing memory, you will remember that she and Katie bonded when they were there a couple summers ago. If you remember, the group of kids from Korah were taken out into the countryside for a field trip and while they were out there, Fasika demonstrated to Katie how to properly use the restroom where there is absolutely no restroom and shielded Katie with her large skirt. A girl like this is of course, we had to sponsor her, too!

This is the street outside the church compound. These people were waiting their turn to come in to be triaged and see the doctor.

I enjoyed doing this triaging job immensely. I loved meeting each person, asking them their name and telling them mine. I loved shaking each persons hand.

Blaine tells me that I paint a very rosy picture of life in Ethiopia and I suppose that's true. I'm not one to sensationalize what I see...I tend to downplay it. That's because I personally think it's wrong to 'use' people for a picture. It's wrong to make yourself look like a saint because of 'what you've done.' The truth is, each person to me is beautiful. They may have leprosy and have no fingers. I'm guessing these people don't get touched much. They may be crippled to to the point where they can hardly get around on their crutches. They may have scabies. They may be blind and have weeping eyes. They may have TB and be coughing uncontrollably. Snot may be pouring out of their nose. Most always they are filthy and smell.

I don't care...I honestly don't see those things. Well, I guess I do see them but they don't matter to me whatsoever.

I touch every. single. one.

I smile at them and listen to their complaints. I show them I care and take them seriously.

There were multiple amazing 'photo ops' where a sensational picture could have been taken. But I'd rather live in the moment and not make suffering people feel like spectacles. So we don't have any pictures like that. I prefer to give people their dignity.

There were frustrating moments in clinic. The most frustrating moment for me was when the man, who was probably about my age came in with his wife. His complaint? He couldn't read his Bible. He brought it in to show me. What did this man need? Reading glasses. I saw them at the dollar store before we left. $1. $1 reading glasses would have changed this mans life. We didn't have them. Next time...bring reading glasses.

At the bottom of a bin, someone did find a pair of glasses. Not sure where they came from. I tried them on and couldn't see a thing. They had been someones prescription glasses which they donated.

At the end of the day another man came in with his wife, complaining of vision problems. Feeling frustrated and wishing I had some glasses, I remembered this pair of prescription glasses. I realized it was the biggest long shot in the world, but I offered this man these glasses. He slowly looked around, blinked a few times and declared that he could see people better. He left happy. I was happy. God knew which person needed those particular glasses. He prompted me to give them to the right man.

At the end of each day, we saw between 110-150 people every day.

Amazing experience.

Tomorrow...our trip to Hossana.

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