We have just finished our outreach in Oro Province. It has felt like a very quick week. Ben has been helping out in the Galley as they were struggling with numbers and Angela has been busy in clinics.
The Galley is busy as anything, feeding 120 people with freshly cooked meals. Ben has been in charge of lunch for those on the ship and doing some of the vego meals for dinner also. Despite the heat and the hard work, the Galley is always filled with a lot of music, laughter and fun.
The clinics this week were long and tiring with long steep climbs up to the villages (which was a fun challenge) and hot days. The landscape has been beautiful and the boat rides to the villages refreshing. Angela has had a lot of physio patients and particularly a lot of broken bones requiring casts/splinting and referrals. For many of the villages it is a full days journey to get to the hospital and costs more than many can afford so often people will not go the hospital even if they desperately need to. Angela saw a man today that had broken his leg 6 years ago and the bone was visibly displaced and deformed, and having had no treatment he was not able to walk and had significant contractures in his knee. It is hard to see how treatable injuries and sickness can so significantly affect people here.
The clinics have seen a lot of very sick people this week, especially exceptional amounts of malaria. It seems all of the health centres have been out of Malaria medication for the past few weeks or months! There were two very very sick kids that were able to be seen by the nurses and doctors, both requiring iv fluids and serious medical treatment. It was truly a miracle that we went to these villages as these kids were only just clinging onto life. One was a little 12 year old girl that we were able to diagnose with tuberculosis and the other a little 4 year old boy with severe malaria as well as possible meningitis. Both cases were heart wrenching. The little girl had a sister who had died earlier this year with the same symptoms so for us to be able to get a positive test result for tuberculosis in the lab on the ship meant she could now start treatment and another blessing was that one of the health care workers on the ship was from that village so will be able to oversee her treatment. The little boy was so sick he was barely responding and the team put him on a drip Friday morning to start fluids and antibiotics. His parents did not leave his side all day and night, constantly holding his hand to keep his iv patent and the team went back out to the village to check on him at 9pm Friday night and 7am Saturday morning. This morning he was awake, went to the toilet and was wanting to drink some water for the first time in days, with thanks to God he is on the road to recovery.