We’re all a bit sad tonight as we pack our bags to leave tomorrow. There is something about this place and the people that draws us here and to one another as a team. The time has gone by so quickly. We are looking forward to seeing our family and friends knowing that we are leaving a little bit of ourselves here and we are taking a lot of it home with us in our hearts. Thanks to all of you for sharing our experiences with us on the blog.
We are so proud of what Team 1 accomplished while here and that we were able to follow them with an equally skilled team. The learning exchange between us and the Yetabon team has been amazing. Between very difficult surgical cases, some very heart wrenching that will stay with all of us for a while, to many that brought smiles to our faces we can say that the surgical portion of this trip has been very successful. Watching the local surgeon do his own vaginal hysterectomy brought smiles to all of us. He is so proud to have learned this technique.
Vision screening to 554 students at Project Mercy on team 2 alone with a 53% positive trachoma rate is overwhelming. Cheryl will write more details about this.
I can’t say enough about our dental team. The demand for immediate intervention is so high and the need for preventative care is essential. We have much work ahead of us in this area. It was fun to walk home with Nate and Laura as so many people stopped them to thank them for their help.
In addition our IT team learned about the ups and downs of a third world developing infrastructure. While many areas of the work went smoothly some of the work went very slowly due to the monopoly of a single cellular provider that is very good in some cases and very slow if at all responsive in other cases. In addition to completing work at the hospital, the Project Mercy library now has computers set up with educational games for the students. David and Kevin taught as they went and typical as in the US the younger folks caught on fast and were able to replicate some of the more complex technical tasks after a single viewing.
Our non-medical team said it well – ‘there is so much opportunity here to bring educational programs for sewing, personal care, computer skills, finances etc.’ We have much to discuss and plan as we return for our next visits.
The essential oils that Whitney taught to all of us and to the local team was very successful. Several of our team members utilized the oils for our own personal care – the outcomes were excellent. We can’t thank those back home enough that donated their time, talents, and money to bring this important resource to Project Mercy.
Cheryl sewed and sewed and taught sewing. She had so many proud moments. The one I personally experienced was after Cheryl and I arrived early at the hospital to put up curtains in the maternity ward I saw the staff arriving and putting their hands to their faces to express their gratefulness.
My final note for this blog is a personal experience that I had. We had a very difficult GYN case where blood transfusions were needed. The family had donated 2 units, but, I was able to help when needed. I happen to be O- (universal donor). I went in to donate a unit of blood and was so honored to see that unit run into our patient.
On that note – wish us well on our return travels.