Now that the team has returned home safely, your scribe thought it would be helpful for you, dear readers, to see what the working conditions were at the two clinics. (Just click on any picture for a larger version.)
First Clinic Location.
This is the Waiting Area and Intake. Once the procedure was refined, the Waiting Area became the place where Intake forms were distributed and the name, village, and phone number of each individual were written down. It was also the area where people were segregated by their chief complaint and designated to be a dental, optical, or medical patient. The Intake was where the vitals were taken as well as the chief complaint recorded for medical. Take note of the number of people waiting; this was the sight that greeted the team as we arrived at the clinic location on Saturday, which was to be only a half-day clinic. The number of people waiting was both breathtaking and probably a bit anxiety-producing for some of the team. It was clear that the word had spread from the previous two days that there was a free clinic. It was sad in that we knew that we could not treat all of the people who had come, and many had to be turned away, disappointed.
The tents and chairs were rented for the clinic and provided welcome relief from the oppressive heat of the sun as well as the occasional rain shower.
This is the Pharmacy, from the inside (notice the suitcases in which the drugs were transported) and from the outside, where there was a small waiting area.
This is the Dental area. One of the dentists brought a pretty cool portable unit enabling them to do more advanced procedures like drilling and filling (and surely other procedures of which your scribe lacks knowledge). Unfortunately, for many patients, the only option was extractions, but at least they no longer suffered from toothache pain.
This is part of the Optical area; not shown is the other treating area inside the building. Both of the gentlemen providing treatment were Cambodians.
This is the Medical area. It was, relatively, quite a nice area, being inside with lots of open windows, but also a very busy area. Several hundred people were seen in this area over the two-and-a-half days. The team was aided by two doctors from a local hospital – one a Cambodian Christian and the other an Italian, who is not a Christian. (Your scribe developed an instant rapport with him by saying one name: “Valentino Rossi.” Much enthusiastic discussion ensued.)
This is the Prayer tent, where much spiritual transformation and spiritual battles took place. (At the far left end is the waiting area for Dental.)
Second Clinic Location
The second location was cramped for space. Whereas the first location was expansive, we were wishing for a bit more room at the second location.
This was the scene in front of the clinic; several ambitious and entrepreneurial food vendors had set up shop and did quite well selling their products to the waiting crowd.
This is the Waiting and Intake area. Notice how limited the space is; there is a fence on the left side and a building on the right side. The Intake tables were placed as tightly together as possible, while still allowing for some space to move about. When it rained, as it did on both days, everyone had to move in closer together to stay under the tent and to avoid those places where the tent was leaking.
This was Pharmacy; notice the people waiting on the left in the left picture. This was usually what it looked like once people had finished seeing the doctors. I was impressed with the resourcefulness of the team to make work whatever space was available.
This is the Medical area; the space used was nothing more than the porch to the clinic building which was made available to us. In the left picture, a mostly successful attempt is being made to hang some fabric as a protection against the intense rays of the sun. In the right picture, John Mayeno in the foreground and Patti Yonemura in the background are treating patients.
A word must be said about a little known, but necessary, job and that is that of runner. That’s the word we used, but perhaps a better word would be guide. These are the people who walked with the patients from Intake to any one of the treatment locations, showing them the way. Your scribe was impressed by how even this simple act was done with grace and love (shown is Alan Chi). It was uncomfortable at times, especially during a particularly heavy rainstorm which turned the ground into a sloshy, mucky mess. Yet no one complained; indeed, they continued to smile through it all.
This is the Dental area; notice that, again, they are in a covered open-air space. The Dentists are experienced at working in less than ideal situations, having been on many mission trips. On the right, Bob and Kerry together worked for a very long time on a young woman whose teeth were all rotted.
On the right are some of the devices laid out for the Dental procedures. On the left are the sterilization containers; your scribe was surprised to learn that it is a several-step process to sterilize dental tools, and that one of the steps involved soaking in a particular solution for twenty minutes.
Your scribe was presented with a quandary from the Physical Therapy area; the mats had been laid down on the rock surface and the patients found it quite uncomfortable. The solution? A layer of sand over the rock. On the left, your scribe is smoothing out the sand for the second mat. Past experience in finishing many yards of concrete came in handy here. On the right, one of our translators is testing the comfort level while Heather, being reminded of sandy beaches, is doing her best impression of surfing.
This was the Optical location, under a tree. This worked well until the rains came. When that happened, they moved the desk to one end of the prayer tent. Again, the men providing care were Cambodians.
This is the Prayer tent. There are some wonderful stories that came from this tent. On the left, team members, pastors, and interpreters are counseling and praying. On the right, the soggy conditions that made things more challenging are shown.
A word must be said about the thunderstorm that came through on the last day of the clinic. Afternoon rainstorms were usually welcomed as they cooled the air; they brought a respite from the intense heat of the day. But this storm, with its lightning strikes all around, brought some real danger. A quick check of the different treatment areas showed that Medical, Pharmacy, and Dental personnel were relatively safe. The floors and their feet were dry, and they were under a solid covering. The Prayer tent was less so, but at least there was some dry ground in the middle where people could stand. Of more concern was the Intake tent. Crowded with people and the ground mostly soaked from the intense rain, it was not a good place to be. But there was no other place to go, and it probably would have been worse to send the hundred people out into the open. Praise God the storm passed over us without incident.