- Written by Tom Miles Tom Miles
- Created: 22 August 2017 22 August 2017
The morning bus devotion was very timely and appropriate today. Pastor Dave stayed back at the hotel today for some rest and recovery for a travel bug, so we used a devotion from the Medical Mission Team book as our opening. The theme of the devotion was to stay focused even though we may want to provide more and feel there is more that can be done here in rural east Africa. The writer reminds us that what we and all of the people need most in life is the Savior. This remains the first need and should be the focus. As individuals here to serve we can only do what we are given to do right now. God will lead and provide for how to continue to provide assistance. But in this moment, we need to complete what is set before us.
This message was very poignant on this fourth day of clinic that felt like a first day as we prepared for service at a new site. The morning moved very slowly as plans were made with the district health office for resources and transportation to the Lopedot site. We eventually left Amudat mid-morning in the bus loaded full with supplies and two four-wheel drive vehicles carrying some of the personnel. The full drive from Nakapiripirit to Lopedot takes about an hour and 45 minutes on a dusty, bumpy road. Instead of traveling down the road to the Lutheran church in Lopedot where the bus got stuck in the mud earlier in the week, we set up clinic in the main town area at a school. We were able to have three tents set up to provide additional clinic space in the shade. By the time everything was unpacked and set up, it was midday.
The day began with Pastor Moses providing a Gospel message for the crowd. It was neat to hear them sing together to begin. Then, with our late arrival and the large crowd of people waiting to be seen, we had to be selective in choosing the truly sick patients who would receive care. Sarah, a LCMS career missionary and nurse, and Dama, a Ugandan clinical officer, triaged patients and only allowed those with fevers and true signs of infection to be registered. This was a very challenging and exhausting task for these two women. Those working in vitals spent the majority of the day taking temperatures on children who were very apprehensive to be cared for by a white person. There were lots of tears and crying today. The children do seem to really enjoy receiving a sticker, though, as a small reward.
Overall, today we were able to provide care for 222 people in our short four-hour time frame. Patients presented with similar symptoms and diagnoses, including malaria, ear infections, sinus problems, allergies, upper respiratory tract infections and generalized body pain. There were many more patients with wounds and burns today. Several children also arrived with IV catheters already placed in their hands or arms. Apparently there is a private health clinic in the area that is providing questionable medical treatment at a high cost. Those who truly need the care have paid the fees, traveled by foot to the clinic and then may have received incorrect treatment. This is an unfortunate use of resources in this area where the need for accessible and accurate healthcare is very high.
Late in the afternoon we packed up all of the supplies and hauled them across the field to store them in the Full Gospel Church (Pentecostal) for the night. We had our late lunch of rice, beans and posho before beginning the return bus ride. The team was able to explore the local Pokot village a bit throughout the day and see the cooking hut where a dik dik (a type of small antelope) that had been killed in the bush was being cooked. The women were also cooking up some donated food for the villagers. We were also able to see the camels that were wandering through the community. These animals seem to belong to local villagers and are not wild.
Tomorrow we will return to this clinic site in Lopedot in hope of seeing many patients. We anticipate a larger crowd in the morning as the Lutheran church congregation members from five kilometers away in the next village over come to be treated. The word will also spread that we are providing care, and additional people will seek treatment. Our hope and plan is to leave a bit earlier in the morning in hopes of arriving to the clinic site, getting set up and beginning to see patients in a timely fashion. The team is feeling disheartened that we are leaving patients without medical care. However, the prayer and hope is that we are pulling out and treating the sickest. Others can certainly benefit from medical care, but our goal is to make sure the critically ill are treated and that all receive spiritual care. We will see what African time brings in the morning!
“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?