Day 18 – Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Mercy Care Clinic, near Mwengi in the town of Kamugongo, is run by a group of Franciscan nuns from India. My goodness can they get things done! We’re no longer on African time with them. With the help of the locals, they built an amazing medical facility in 2003. Sister Bastian taught the locals how to make cement. She’d send them down to the dry river to collect buckets of sand to mix for the building. After a week in Mikinduri where so much was outside, this facility was ‘heavenly’.
A typical day for us: We have a great big breakfast at our hotel around 7am and get in the combie at 7:30 for a 30 minute very bumpy ride. When we arrive at Mercy Care Clinic, we go to our separate stations, and start with a prayer every morning. Then we meet at 11am for tea the sisters have prepared and a treat called Mondazi, like a doughnut. We are all starving for lunch at 1pm, but are so amazed every time for how tasty the food is. There’s an incredible stew, a fresh fruit from the grounds (watermelon, papya, etc), amazing Chapati (African pancakes that are tortilla-like), a coleslaw, and corn flour (a maize-like substance). Also there is often a special treat….a soda! We go back for a few more hours work, then head back to the hotel for a nice evening. Dinner is around 7pm, and I’m never hungry for how much I ate at lunch! We had a special dinner treat on Monday night: French fries and fried fish!
On Wednesday, the vision team split off in the morning to do local visits of local huts, more specifically Danelle, Alana, Ryann, Edwin, Jordan, Emily, George, Jenny, Theresa, Jo Ann, Cheri, Ted, and Greg. Here are thoughts from that group: They dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, where we walked up and down a crazy path where the local women were wearing heels! We arrived at a very humble farm that was very clean. They had a separate storage hut above ground with a thatched roof. There was a small hut for a house that is primarily a sleeping area. The third hut was the cooking area. The other two places we visited were similar, but the roof varied between tin and sticks and mud, and the walls were sticks and mud or home-made bricks. One man cultivated honey and he put 5 hollow logs high in a tree to attract the bees. They climb the trees once a year and get 50 litres of honey! It was ridiculously hot on this visit!
Meanwhile the vision clinic was running back at Mercy Care Clinic, and 5 workers (Karen, Greg B, Cat, Shawna, and Libby) saw 100 people! In vision today, there was a woman I tested who was 101! Shawna adds, she wanted reading glasses for sewing! What an inspiration!
Later in the afternoon, the group went to a local town and did an off-site vision clinic. It was the home town of one of our translators, and we met her grandmother: the chief of the town! We set up in a miraculous 5 minutes in the local school and were operating in no time! We helped 40 people in the local town! Theresa adds, the best part, there were no speeches! After the clinic we got back to Mercy Care Clinic in time for Ash Wednesday mass. As we were leaving for the hotel, all of the children burst into a simultaneous cheer! It was awesome! Jo Ann recalls, as one little girl yelled after we send ‘bye’, ‘hi I’m fine!’ It was totally adorable!
Shawna has been doing double duty in the vision and dental clinic. Here are some of her thoughts: I’m assisting Bill (the dentist). This entails loading the needles, passing the instruments, calming the patients, identifying which tooth is the problem, and other dental assist acts. It’s been a great team this year. Mwengi is the first time we’ve had a smoking hot shower. (We need to be careful what we wish for as the hot shower is unbearably hot!) Today we pulled 21 teeth in the afternoon, because Dr Bill hurt his foot and spent the morning in town getting an xray. Luckily there were no broken bones, and he got to go eat lunch with the nuns today. Yesterday, Dr Bill pulled 30 teeth! Bill and Shawna say: Hallelujah, Amen! We got through another day again!
From Karen: When counters were needed in the pharmacy, Cat and Karen leaped into action! Karen’s highlight was learning how to cut pills without crushing them! They counted pills into smaller bottles. Karen related a funny situation: Cat and I were sitting there pretending we could do this job. Ryan hands us a bottle and asked for 40 pills. Neither of us could get the bottle open! We thought it was childproof! Well Wycliffe made us feel better by pulling out a knife to open the bottle! It was a blast but Karen will stick to running the vision ‘kingdom’.
Today has obviously been a very busy day, and we’re quite happy to relax back at our hotel. We are just past the ½ point for most of the volunteers. We miss our families and are so appreciative of everything we’re experienced here so far!
Summary: Crazy day! Super fun! I held 2 babies!