I started out today with the vision team. After breakfast, the entire GP team went to the hospital. The surgical team went with Dr. Fakedu for their morning round, while Sally, Jean Ann, Cherry and I did vision screenings for the hospital staff. We planned to check for far- and near-sightedness, lazy eyes, and trachoma. We used the training room (a.k.a. storage room, a.k.a. lunch room, a.k.a. break room, a.k.a. Ethiopian social media outlet) for the screening.
After we finished setting up the different stations for the vision screening, we saw Cofa standing by the door. Cofa was a young man who lost his left forearm while riding his donkey. His arm was fractured, but his family didn’t think much of it until it was infected. By that time it was too late to save his arm. Little Cofa had to have his left arm amputated. He was then brought to Project Mercy’s hospital for further medical care. Cofa was at the hospital when we first arrived at the hospital Monday. We all saw him quietly standing in his room as our team toured the place. Over the course of 2 days, he got braver and started checking out what this bunch of foreigners were doing at the hospital.
Throughout the day, we had hospital staff coming in and out of the training room. A total of 40-50 people had their vision checked. Sadly, the eyesight of some staff was so bad, they would be blind without any glasses. How they could continue to function at their workplace without being able to see clearly was a miracle by itself. Hopefully, they would be able to purchase eyewear at the Butajera eye clinic. According to the information we received, a pair of eye glasses would cost US$25. I sincerely hoped that they would be able to afford these.
While our vision team was busy screening “patients,” Cofa quietly sat at the corner of the room and no doubt observed every single movement we made. At one point, our translator was called into the OR, and our vision team was struggling trying to explain the vision screening process to the hospital staff in Amharic. Quietly, Cofa stood up from his chair and started explaining the steps to the staff for us. He has now become our little substitute translator. Humm…how should we reward him for his service? Katie brought over some coloring books from pre-op/recovery for him to color. Cofa showed us his natural talent not only by coloring on the book neatly, but also by tracing the animal outline on the back of the page. What a smart and wonderful little mind. I wished I could take him home with me.
I truly believe that God has something very special planned for Cofa in the future.