By 8 am, our medical/dental team has transformed a local grade school into a fully functional clinic—complete with several examining rooms and a pharmacy—and is ready to see their first patients…and there will be no shortage.
Just outside the main gates, more than a hundred people from Mazan and other villages wait in line, most sitting on wood bleachers. Some have traveled more than four hours by boat. Many have even spent the night in one of the classrooms, determined not to miss their opportunity for free medical/dental care.
Celmira sits in the middle of the crowd, patiently waiting like all the others. Her grandson, Maximo, waits with her. She looks concerned, and we soon find out why. Fifteen days ago, she began going blind in one eye. For her, this clinic is a godsend. She waits…and hopes someone up ahead has an answer.
She gets checked in and sits down with Dr. Budi Bahureksa, one of our volunteer physicians. It doesn’t take long for him to pinpoint the problem—her blood sugar registers 511, at least 300 points above normal.
“You’re too sweet,” Dr. Bahureksa says, his bedside manner eliciting a smile. “Your blindness is from the diabetes, so we’re going to give you some good medicine. You need to be on this medication all of the time.”
He gives Celmira a prescription, which she fills at our pharmacy, two doors down. Thankfully, her blindness can be reversed…they caught it just in time.
The pharmacy is filled with others just like her…a steady stream of people eager to trade their prescriptions for medicines. Volunteer Nurse Kelly Johnston helps keep the operation running smoothly. It’s her fifth medical trip with Hand of Hope, and she thrills at another chance to see the faces of relieved mothers and children.
“We give them a little bit of hope,” she says. ““It’s a little thing for us, but it’s not little to them. Here they have no options.”
Texas-native Nurse Mickey Brown agrees: “We’re amazed at how God touches their lives. It’s so fun to be able to do all this…it’s like Christmas.”
And it looks like Christmas. Heaping piles of antibiotics are all neatly stacked and organized on long tables, ready to be dispensed. The team has come prepared, knowing for the most part what illnesses to expect.
Here in Mazan, more times than not, they simply learn to live with the pain. But today they don’t have to.