2006-11-04 Saturday Evening
Today we had the opportunity to travel with the Mobile Medical
Clinic team to the town of “Kalah” which is about 30
minutes from Project Mercy. As usual, the roads we travel, whether
paved or not are used by everyone—people and animals alike.
Taxis (horse or donkey-drawn two-wheeled carts), herds of cattle,
goats and sheep, children and people of all ages and a few vehicles
all use the road at the same time. (Just imagine this as Canada
Road in Woodside on bicycle Sunday). You see mothers carrying babies
in slings on their backs; very young children herding their animals;
donkeys with large packs of tree branches used for firewood in circular
homes with thatched roofs called “tukels”.
Having passed only a few people on the steep winding road to our
clinic site, we were amazed to be greeted by hundreds of adults
and children. Obviously, the word of our pending arrival had spread
in this land of no TV, radio, or telephones! We were scheduled to
work half day and see about half the number of patients of a “normal”
working day in the mobile clinic. Our playbook called for treating
30 patients instead of the normal 60. However, due to the vast number
of people, we called an audible at the scrimmage line! Triage nurses
hand-picked people by going into the crowd, and, with God’s
wisdom they were able to select those to be seen by Drs. Chris and
Phil. In addition, God gave wisdom to Nurse Tara and Dr. Chris to
formulate a plan of distributing packets of Tylenol to over 100
people complaining of headaches. The people left the clinic grateful
that they had been treated. The local church leaders had the difficult
task of sending the rest of the people home. That part was heart-breaking
for both of us to witness. However, the mobile clinic docs and nurses
will return to the same site on Monday for a full day, so those
people will be blessed to experience a lessening of their painful
As we looked at the throngs of the people sitting and squatting
on the hillside in this ancient and remote land of Ethiopia, we
were reminded of Jesus as he walked through the crowds touching
and healing the people. We felt that God was working through us
to bring comfort, love, and peace to those who suffer here.
Today was a first for the medical mobile clinics from MPPC. Dr.
Marshall and dental assistant Judy performed two extractions of
abscessed teeth – in the field! Our dental clinic consisted
of a vacant room, a chair, a table, and Judy’s hand providing
the headrest. Language was unnecessary to observe the patient’s
gratefulness as he bowed his head many times and smiled without
This afternoon our leader, Frank Marsh, gave us time off for good
behavior! Several of our team members went into the nearby town
of Butajira for shopping and internet café. Others went on
a hike up the beautiful mountainside to see a rural Orthodox church
built in the familiar “tukel” style.
Some people actually rested, while others baked with Peggy Ifft
in her lovely “American” kitchen. Peggy generously supplies
home-baked cakes, tea, and cappuccino for tea time in the morning
and afternoon at the hospital. Peggy is a gift and we are privileged
to be recipients of her and Gary’s warm hospitality. Please
add them to your prayer list as they deal with challenges of administrating
a modern hospital in rural Yetebon, Ethiopia.
Judy counseled her first client in Africa today! She was able to
give much encouragement to a 12 year old child who is one of the
70 children that Marta and Deme have adopted here at Project Mercy.
She has two or three more appointments on our last day her with
Obviously, the needs here are great, and sometimes we wonder how
much difference we are really making, but we are finding so much
joy in serving “the least among us” knowing that God
will use our service to touch them with His amazing love and comfort.
We are definitely on the receiving end of much love and gratefulness
from these beautiful people.