This morning began with a big group laugh as our dentist Dr Kyle reminded us to ask our patients if they are having dental pain. Dental pain is translated “CaCa”. Speaking of Dr. Kyle … he and Amanda are very busy and face many difficult extractions each day. They are doing a fantastic job!
Today was the biggest clinic we have ever had. We were too tired to count our charts. The rains continue to hold off which allowed us to work a long 13 hour day with one quick lunch break. We were faced with some very, very challenging cases and it took a huge team effort to make our way through the crowd one person at a time. Dr. Carol and I spent about 2 hours running what I like to call a “rapid assessment gynecology clinic”. I had a moment where I had to stop and collect myself when I recognized, once again, the reality that the majority of these women had lost one if not more of their children. Their pain was palpable and I found myself trying to imagine life without one or two or three of my children. Most of these kids died of the very things we are treating: diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia.
The surgical team continues to do amazing work despite receiving disappointing news that 2 surgeons due to arrive today for 5 days have been delayed by 48 hours. They are determined to help as many as humanly possible and are making lists and plans for 2011. I think they are up to 120 procedures.
Tomorrow we need to dig deep. We are all physically and mentally weary and we are expecting a huge crowd. David tells us that our fame is spreading so far that people from the Ivory Coast arrived to Carpenter already to wait for our clinic. Oh my. Please pray for strength for each team member and that our supply of drugs will be enough for what sounds like more people than we anticipated. The miracle of the loaves and the fishes would be very timely right now!
We were challenged by Pastor Jacob at church yesterday to consider our life and, in all things, love one another and push ourselves beyond what makes us happy. As I watch this group of people work I recognize that they are doing just that. They are caring for the sick, relieving suffering, and giving sight to the blind in the midst of sweat, tears, diarrhea, and insect bites, and missing their families. They have gone way beyond personal happiness. This mission has been a powerful demonstration of love on so many levels.