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at Project MercyThe first full day at Project Mercy was filled planning the clinic set-ups, discussing the process for seeing the primary grade students in grades Kindergarten and 1st grade in the three large tents in the field near the school buildings.

One tent was setup for the dental exams, another tent for public heath teaching hand washing and basic hygiene.  The children were brought to the dental tent and seated in groups of 5 on a bench so they could observe the patient before them. With kindness the dentist calmed their fears of the exam and quickly assessed the child “acute, chronic or none” with notes to follow up in the days following.Day 2

The “intake/assessment” medical tent is staffed by three Ethiopian nurse/interpreters, in addition to  our American nurses.  This is where the children are taught skills in cleanliness that can prevent over 50% of the many health issues found in the students at Project Mercy.  Large flash cards with pictures are taught by our public health nurse, with an Ethiopian translator.

Day 2The third tent houses our medical clinic staffed by our team doctors and nurses. The children are examined and further assessed. If the children need medication, they go to the pharmacy area where   medication or treatment is given.

The doctors are finding lung congestion, lice, goiter and a variety of skin problems. Patients are charted and recorded with follow up if further assessment is needed.  The exam ended with an individual prayer with the child for their Day 2physical and spiritual health.

Because I am the team photographer, I observed many amazing situations in the tents and around the compound which overwhelmed me (as someone who has a health plan from a modern country.) My first impression was the love and dedication each member of our team shared treating the patient working with the Ethiopian nurses alongside our medical team.

Day 2At the end of a long day, we gathered before dinner for devotions and sharing of the day. As the doctors shared their day of assessment and treatment of these very small patients, the electricity failed and we and we changed over to using our flashlights.  I was glad for the loss electricity since the darkness hid my tears.
I understand now why we come to serve and bring the healing hands of Jesus Christ with skill not available in this community.

Addis

LaugtherSleep was welcome and deep before we were awakened by the call to prayer from a nearby mosque just before dawn. After our morning ablutions, we all donned scrubs to prepare for our first day in the clinic. Our morning devotion focused on prayer, and as we joined the MTW/ACT team for their morning devotion, we weren’t surprised that their devotion also was about prayer. Their voices singing several beautiful Ethiopian worship songs helped prepare us for our first set of home visits.

We split into 3 groups as we walked through the narrow cobblestone streets in the Lideta district, each group visiting several homes of the project’s beneficiaries. All of the women we visited were single mothers, all widows, and all HIV+. The homes were smaller than a typical bedroom of one of our homes back in the US, usually about 10x5 feet, with a small kerosene stove or charcoal fire as the sole source for cooking and heat. A deep pan of gray liquid outside the door was the only sign of water. One woman described how she was in her last month of treatment for TB, and that her 5 yo HIV+ son at home with her was not off at school as he was also being treated for TB.

When we asked her if she had any worries, she replied with a smile “No!” Another described how she was extremely ill before joining the project 7 years ago, and with the help of the antiretroviral drugs, and the overall care from the project, she is now healthy. We also heard one woman tearfully describe how one of her daughters left for the Middle East 16 months ago with the promise of being a well paid maid in a home. When she finally heard from her a couple of months ago, she cried as she told of her daughter reporting back a “bad
situation”, likely human slavery, with an inability to escape. Her anguish was made all the worse by the fact thaThankst her other teenage daughter has dropped out of school and also wants to go to the Middle East with promises of money and a job. How different the concerns of the mothers of Addis Ababa are from the moms of the Bay area…

Our afternoon was spent in our first medical clinic as we saw 36 patients in the clinic at the MTW/ACT office. Chronic untreated infections, respiratory infections, severe rheumatic mitral valve disease, uterine cancer, skin diseases- there was no lack of variety to the medical problems we saw in addition to the treated HIV infection. Each patient asked for prayer, understanding the power of the Great Physician. As we packed up our medical bags and prepared to leave the clinic, a large group of children gathered around one of us, posing in goofy ways and laughing uncontrollably as they ran to look at the digital image of their silliness on the camera. We are a world away from our children, but were reminded that when having fun, kids speak a universal language. With this joyful picture in mind, we headed back to the guest house for dinner, and preparation for the
next full day of clinic.

Dessie

DessieThis was a day of building relationships and preparation. We meet with the woman who is head of the Dessie Bureau of Health and the Administrator of the only Government DessieHospital, the Administrator also mentioned that the preventive Health teaching of LifeWind’s community Health Education (CHE) had significantly reduce almost all of the major Diseases.

In the afternoon we trained the 22 Ethiopian Medical Professionals and support people. They will totally run the Health Screening tomorrow. They all showed excellent enthusiasm and the Hope School directors Said “I love this; this is just what we need.”