- Written by Tom Miles Tom Miles
- Created: 22 June 2017 22 June 2017
This morning the team arrived at the Mdawi clinic site to an even larger crowd of people waiting to see us. The local pastors arrive long before us and have the people begin to organize. They all greet us with warm welcomes and are so patient while we get set up and ready for the day. Today Rev. Massawe of the LCEA opened the waiting crowd in song and prayer. It is powerful to witness this spiritual connection between cultures where language does not separate.
Clinic ran smoothly today. Teamwork continues to abound, which helps us provide care efficiently and effectively. Today we were able to care for approximately 270 patients, and there are nearly that many pre-registered to be seen tomorrow as well.
Traveling and serving in a developing country with a different culture than your own can be challenging. The team is encountering and feeling the struggles of not being able to assist patients the same way we would be able to in the United States. Care options are different due to availability and financial strain. Cultural norms and understandings are also impeding our desires to assist patients in the emotional and physical ways we want to. Providing support and care options looks very different. Our hopes are to continue to be examples to the local health care team; provide a few minutes of warmth, meaning and importance to the Tanzanian people; and share the Gospel message for eternal hope and salvation.
Today we saw a few more challenging cases. A woman presented with extensive nausea and vomiting. Steph was able to start an IV and administer fluids intravenously and provide antinausea medication. Creativity ensued for how to hang the IV fluids!
An elderly woman presented with a necrotic foot. She had a couple toes amputated about ten days ago and was unable to take her antibiotics. She now has a severe infection and more necrosis. The woman needs to go to the hospital for further treatment and another amputation or the patient and family can choose to not pursue treatment. Discussions of end of life care seem to be very minimal or non-existent. Treatment discussions prevail. The woman was very distraught at the thought of losing her foot and leg. Several elderly patients presented today with end stage Alzheimer's disease. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's looks very different in Africa. Families have the burden of providing care and maintaining the safety of the person. Another woman presented with depression. Discussing safety, emotions, and treatment with the patient was a bit challenging due to cultural acceptance of this disease.
The children continue to bring joy to the days. Their happiness and excitement to play and interact lightens the mood. The elderly have joy in their eyes as well. We cared for a woman who is 105 years old today. She raised nine children and spent her life cultivating the land. She was so appreciative of the care and for our attention. Each patient has expressed great gratitude to the team. And we continue to form relationships with the local team members as well.
Today Pastor Pase served as a mentor to the seminary students. He worked with them and the local pastors to lead the evangelism section of the clinic. Various LCEA seminary students and pastors took turns sharing the Gospel message during this time. Pastor Pase was able to provide guidance and suggestions. The seminary students continue to pray for each patient as they exit the clinic as well. This is great practice for them, and they are being seen as resources to the community.
This week it has been great to observe the team come together and to see each person's strengths shine through. It is excellent to see the care, learning, education and attention to detail that the team is bringing. Each team member fills an important role, and together with the local health care providers and pastors we have become a cohesive group. Tomorrow we hope to find the time and energy to care for all those who will be waiting for us.
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?