Thursday, January 14, 2010

Un-Medical Medical Mission

Yesterday I was invited to go to Sacasacan, a village about 1.5 hours away from our home in Bontoc. There was a medical outreach that was coordinated through YWAM Mountain Province. As you can see in the next few pictures, Sacasacan is high in the mountains - at the top of the one on which it is located.

Below are two examples of what homes look like in the village: corrugated metal as in the upper left of the photo and the traditional nepa hut in the center. Some houses are made of concrete. Others are interesting in that they are on stilts, with the stilts resting on a rock on the ground, not exactly solid footing.

When we arrived, many people were already gathered at the barangay offices where the clinic would be held.

In the lower level, is the barangay clinic which is normally staffed by a midwife.

Outside, several midwives registered people and took their blood pressure.

Then, as their need dictated, they might go upstairs to see the dentist who was participating in the work. I took this photo early on, but did not stay long, it looked too painful. When I wandered into the room later, one of many teeth that were pulled during the day was on its way out. Once again, I left - too painful to watch. Although I never heard any screams or even moans so the anesthetic must have been sufficient.

Downstairs, the doctora was seeing patients and distributing donated medications to those in need. (The treatment room from the picture above is on the other side of the bookshelves.)

I took the two pictures below because I generally find the kids and old ladies here the most interesting subjects for photography.

...which brings me to the kids. I had thought I may be of some use on the medical side of things. But when we arrived we found that there was plenty of help for all things medical and logistical. So I sat on the steps and was soon an object of curiosity to the younger crowd. Of particular interest was the hair on my arms. I am somewhat hairy even compared to most westerners, but these kids were very interested in the thick covering of blonde hair on my arms. One little guy even pulled the collar on my shirt down when he noticed I had hair on my chest.

Some of the kids were braver than others. Mary Chris for instance, walked up to me and was perfectly content to sit in my lap as the others generally came only close enough to pet my arms.

Then the others began to warm up to me. I tried to get their names using my limited Ilocano. Generally the person I asked would not answer, but one of the other kids would answer for him.

The little girl on my lap in the picture below became my best-good-friend. Keana (pronounced Kyana) climbed into my lap with a big smile and made herself comfortable there.

Very comfortable...

In fact, for the rest of the day she would only be away from me for short periods of time. Then she would come running back and raise her arms for me to carry her wherever I went. When I put her on my shoulders, I did not need to understand the dialect to know that she was now queen and the envy of her peers.

I went to minister to others using my limited medical knowledge. Instead people of limited stature ministered to me.

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