After a very chaotic Friday of organizing and building plans for the week, today was the day to test things out in reality as we went to our first village and performed the first surgeries.
The General Surgery Team came back smiling after completing their day with time to walk home before the sun set. Many years, there are so many problems that slow the team and force them to work into the night and miss dinner. Not fun. This year, the team arrived early and had great success with the equipment and support from the hospital staff. People are already asking to return next year. The patients receiving hernia repairs have waited years in most cases, and are overjoyed that finally someone has come to meet their individual need. The fact that they will have post op pain, or wait all day to be served is not an issue. They are only thankful. I know that sounds “sugar coated,” but it is the reality that makes it such a joy to serve here in Belize.
The Endoscopy Team missed a lot of the student party last night. They stayed Friday to see patients until 7 PM that had been there waiting since 7 PM. How could they not stay and see them? They had all the chemicals that are quite hard to find in Belize to sterilize their unique process in between cases. All their cases were down by 5 PM also.
The Audiology Team spent the first half of the day in Corozal at the Corozal Community Hospital where the surgeries and Endoscopy takes place. Then after lunch they traveled to Orange Walk 45 minutes down the highway to the south. There at the Northern Regional Hospital, patients were seen all afternoon. The testing in October was finalized with the presentation of brand new hearing aides to hear in one or both ears. What a fun job to teach them how they now can hear for the first time in many years!
We have some pictures of the Construction Team. They went straight to work on Friday. If you look at last week’s pictures of the blog and the church under construction, you will be amazed to see the roof complete, the doors in place, and the wall torn down into the main church area. A lot of digging has also been going on behind the kindergarten for the septic pit and the sink drainage. The outside supports are off for the concrete roof overhang and tomorrow the team will be stucco plastering the outside.
The Village Team traveled to Patchakan Village south of Corozal Town. It was a steady day of patients nearly one hundred. We planned this as a good way to test systems close in town and easily accessible to the Hospital for the first day. This is a village we have served for many years and the clinic is one started by the Presbyterians, although today was an open day for any patients in the village or area.
The day began at 6:30 breakfast with sharing from the teams as to what happened on Friday before the students arrived and we had a chance to talk about the students and read some of their thank you letters. Sponsoring them for $350 to cover a school year seemed like a very small thing in light of the impact. The weather has turned to dry and sunny as it normally is in Belize this time of year, after many days of rain.