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Team Burundi :: Clinic Day 5

Jambo!

Hello from Africa, on the eve of our departure from 8000ft. (I am wearing four shirts, wool socks, scarf and jacket) (wait, are we really in Africa?) and our return to the warmth of Bujumbura…we are a dream team.

Today we saw 400 patients. Isn’t that amazing? Nearly 100 teeth pulled by our fearless dentist Dr. Dave. Our clinic was set up in the shell of a church, brick walls crumbling, partially roofed, muddy clay floor and at least 2400 eyes trained on our every move, from the windows that surrounded us. The intermittently torrential rains were deafening on the metal roof.

To choose one extraordinary moment in a day is not possible, but as I was helping fill prescriptions today this handwritten note came across the table:

I WALKED 3HOURS TO RECEIVE CARE FOR SEIZURES FROM A MACHETE WOUND TO THE HEAD. WHO WILL REFILL MY SEIZURE MEDICATIONS?

What part of this stopped me in my tracks? The round trip 6 hour walk, with no guarantee of getting one of the 400 “golden tickets” to see a doctor, with more than a thousand others turned away? Or…was it the MACHETE?

For each of us, there are dozens of these moments that simply require you to look at your life anew. Powerful, life affirming, faith restoring moments. It has been my pleasure to serve with these people, and for these people. I pray that God will continue to lift them up and help them become the great nation they desire to be.

Humbly Yours
Blessings

Jessica Schmidlapp

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Team Uganda :: Our Week in Numbers

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

   1 common mission

   2 honeymooning couples

   30 giraffes spotted on safari

   5 amazing drivers (0 flat tires!)

   8 clinic stations

   143 people accepted Christ

   1670 lives changed

+ 39 team members

_________________________

   1 amazing country – Uganda

 

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Team Uganda :: Clinic Day 5

What a week this has been. We’ve worked, laughed, cried, played, made new friends, laid down our pride, and served hundreds of people in Uganda. Today we traveled to Biizi where we set up clinic inside of a church. This was the first day we were all in one room together, and the energy of being able to work in such close proximity with the entire team kept spirits high throughout the day. A cool drizzle outside made today the coolest day in Uganda yet. We were able to see 209 patients by the end of the day, including our stellar van drivers and cool, collected security guards.

As we packed up clinic, a woman from the church serenaded us with a beautiful song. It was surreal as we prepared to leave our clinic site for the last time today and headed back to the hotel. The people we have encountered this week have taught us about true joy, perseverance, strength, and value.

This evening we rounded out our time in Masindi with a dinner with some staff from MKMC, our drivers, and other people who helped us throughout the week. These trips would be impossible without the support of our community partners, staff, and volunteers, and it was a special time to get to share a meal all together.

All in all, our bodies are tired, but our hearts are renewed. And we are all looking forward to seeing the giraffes tomorrow.

Peace and blessings,

Team Uganda

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Brief Burundi Update!

Hey friends!
The internet in Burundi is really giving this blog of ours a fit.  While we don’t have a formal blog update from Day 4,  I have heard from the team that day four was incredible.  The site for days 4 and 5 will be the same, so when the team arrived yesterday there was a crowd of almost 2,000 waiting for them!  What an incredible feeling to see that many people in one place, waiting for YOU.  The team was able to see almost 400 people together in one day.  Today, Friday, they will see 300 and then at the end of the day will see the translators who have been helping them for the last two days. 

What we have learned from past experience is that huge crowds show up for our teams because they are desperate, and feel this may be their last chance.  It takes time to establish a trusting relationship in these broken places, and it takes returning over and over again for the people to realize we are here for the long haul.  That is what makes PMI different.  We are in it for the long haul, and even those we can’t treat on our short term missions will see our longterm clinic being built, and can recieve care there any time they need it in the future.

Still wondering where our team is? Here’s a little map of Africa, so you can see where Burundi is.
burundi 

And here’s a little map of Burundi itself – our team is staying in Bujumbura, right near the foot of the Mitumba Mountains.  Beautiful country!

Thanks for following along!

burundilarger

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Uganda Clinic Day #4

Hi Family and Friends,

As day 4 of clinic came to a close, a beautiful sunset grazed the mountain range of Biizi, where we served today. Like every other day this week, we pulled into our clinic site to hundreds of people waiting for us and cheering our arrival. Many had once again slept overnight just to be seen by our medical team and by the end of the day we had a final total of 328 patients provided for.

An unexpected guest joined us late this afternoon – RAIN. It was such a nice and refreshing gift, while it did create a few complications finishing up clinic. The children around our site loved every minute of running and playing in the rain and jumping in huge puddles over and over. The rain brought a renewed energy to all of our physically and mentally tired bodies. Our days have been incredible, but exhausting as well with only four to five hours of sleep a night.

What many of us continue to notice at many of our clinic sites are the “friendly reminders” posted all over the primary schools we use as our sites. For example: “It is good to have a friend. In the interest of safety, say no to bad. Virginity is healthy. Overthinking is bad. Pre-marital sex is risky. Say no to plastic bags because they clog up our rivers and entangle our wildlife.” All of these phrases provide us with some comedic relief, but also confirm the continued pursuance of greater health the Ugandan area is searching for.

We had another amazing day serving so many gracious people. As many of us mentioned in our morning devotion we recognize more than sickness and the great medical necessity many Ugandans need, they still are always smiling day after day. Despite their daily pain and suffering, their smiles are bigger, brighter and forever genuine. The smiles are what many of us will cling to this time next week as we all try to assimilate back into our normal schedules. We are having an indescribable week serving those who are emotionally rich, yet lack the medical care to fully function.

Thanks for supporting and encouraging us,

Jaime and Mary Helen Maskill

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Team Burundi, Day 3 – Better late than never!

Sorry for the late update folks! Internet woes.

Today was an incredible day! We started off the day with a beautiful bus ride thorugh the mountains singing “Rains Down in Africa” and music from the Lion King soundtrack courtesy of Lacey.

Claire and I were able to assist Monica (aka MO) and Rebecca with Triage. We were a triage machine. WE SAW A TOTAL OF 350 PATIENTS! The day started off warm and sunny, but we learned the meaning of rainy season when there was a torrential downpour in the middle of the afternoon for a couple of hours. Which I oddly loved because I think that storms are super exciting! Plus it allowed us to appreciate the beautiful sky that showed up later in the day. The registration team, Jenny and Jessica, kept working through the rain and mud and were amazing spearheads getting us through all the patients. Through the help of God, the team was able to do a lot of good for the Burundians that were seen. There were countless numbers of babies with pneumonia, people with back pain/stomach pain/knee pain/back pain/eye pain, warts on eyes, ringworm and the list goes on and on.

The babies were adorable!! I had a couple scream and run away from me, but I was able to hold and play with others. Claire was showing so much attention to one of the babiesthat the mom asked her if she wanted to keep her baby and take her back home with her! So, mom, don’t be surprised if we have another family member when we return:)

Side Note: The latrines did no thave a great reputation of smelling great, so a lot of our team members went the day without peeing. And just so you have a mental picture, it consisted of two bricks for you to stand on over a hole. Lovely!

We closed the day with a bunch of shout outs: Leslie and Shannon helped a crippled man up the steep and muddy mountainside and it brough tears to all of our eyes, Lauren and Patrick were an amazing team filling non-stop prescriptions, Steve was an amazing runner, Dan and David did a great job pulling teeth, Geoff for just being the bomb.com provider, Simon for feeding us bananas for energy towards the end of the day and all of our wonderful Burundian translorts for being incredibly helpful and patient.

Love you family–Daniel, Mom, Dad, Mike & Megan, Gabe, Abi, Noah, John, Matt & Kristy, Katie, James, Mark Daniel, Caroline and Luke!!!

Love,
Marie and Claire
Team Burundi

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Uganda Team :: Clinic Day Three

Hi Family and Friends!

It’s hump day and our day was definitely filled with lots of humps as we traveled on the bumpiest of rides to today’s clinic site. It was a long two-hour commute, but our drivers got us there safely. Although a long journey, it was a beautiful one. We got the treat of seeing many baboons, inclusive of a mother carrying a baby, along with herds of longhorn. Better than that was the beauty of Lake Albert in the distance. Little did we know, this would be the backdrop view of our clinic today.

The village that we visited today named Bugoigo, is the furthest distance from Masindi that we will travel this trip. The patients here were also the sickest and most impoverished that we have encountered. The day was filled with a lot of tough emotions due to the severity of illness seen here. Our first patient of the day was a baby with high fevers for weeks, and in the time following he suffered a febrile seizure, had neurological damage along with congenital cataracts, and could no long eat on his own. Nonetheless, we treated the sweet child as best we could with all that we had. Although we have no idea how long he will live, we tried our best to give the most compassionate care we could and offer spiritual support to the family.

One of the most inspiring stories of the day and actually the trip thus far, is of a young boy named Steven. He was orphaned at age 3 and had traveled to stand in line for our clinic by himself. He was living with his aunt, who was financially strapped and overstretched by the needs of her family. Steven is HIV positive, and had not been able to receive any of the medications necessary to treat his disease. Unfortunately, his disease had progressed to the point where he was very weak, malnourished and developing opportunistic infections due to his compromised immune system. With the help of the entire team, we were able to bring him to Masindi for him and his aunt to see if Family Spirit Orphanage would be a good option for him. We praise God for this blessing!

Thank you for tuning in, we appreciate your support and prayers so much!

J’vonne and Beth

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Team Burundi, Clinic Day 2

Today’s clinic was different from yesterday in that there were far
more people who were there when we arrived than there were yesterday.
So many, in fact, that the community leaders called us before we left
to let us know that the crowd was huge – people had been gathering
since midnight!

We began the day getting the stations set up, and Jessica and I
started registration. Our translator, Willy, was an incredible
blessing to us – he wrote everyone’s names for us (spelling is hard)
and helped us communicate with our patients. The great thing about
being the Team Leader for Registration is that you get to see
everyone! Granted, the interaction is brief and conversation is
limited by the language barrier, but it’s pretty awesome to be the
first “mzungu” they come in contact with.

We registered and saw about 250 people, including some very
interesting cases. The providers saw everything from a bug in an older
woman’s ear to a woman who was found to be pregnant with twins to a
surgical removal of a subdural tumor on the exterior of a woman’s head
to leprosy and fungal infections. We even saw a 5-year old girl who
tested positive for HIV – that was very tough to see.

Jessica and I ventured into the crowd at one point to put wristbands
on some people the church leaders had gathered, and that was an
experience I’ll never forget. The desperate gesturing and the pleading
eyes of those gathered that could not be seen by our team were
absolutely heart wrenching. The Burundians are a beautiful people, and
we all wished we could see each and every one of them – it broke my
heart to have to turn them away. The encouraging thing, though, is
that we are not abandoning those people. PMI will continue to send
teams and will shortly begin building a hospital that will serve
generations to come. This is not just a short-term trip, but an
investment that will last a lifetime.

All my best,
Jenny, Team Burundi

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Team Uganda :: Clinic Day 2

(Morgan) After having an incredible first day of clinic, I was curious how each day would top the previous. As a first year PA student, I was apprehensive about taking someone else’s health and life into my hands, but as always God provides. I have found that I have been able to diagnosis and treat many things, but even if I felt lost I still had an amazing provider to work with to ask questions and further expand my knowledge. More importantly, I was able to touch and love the people of Kiwetwe along with the rest of our team. Even if they were our 300th patient, we were their first encounter and that always fills me with joy, endurance, and humbleness for each and every patient that walks into clinic. I am always so impressed with their willingness to learn and want to improve their condition and overall life. They have such a love for life, more than I have ever experienced myself. Every time I am rejuvenated and enriched with their spirit and faith.

The best part of the day was my 22-year-old female interpreter. The same age as myself, she sacrificed her whole day to translate while only taking a 5-minute lunch break. She has ambitions and dreams to go to college but she told me she will probably never have the chance to go. She loves helping people and desires to give back in a way. How is it that this woman, who herself has not much wealth, lives in poverty stricken conditions wants to give her life and finances to give back to others? It was this woman who fulfilled this selfish void in my heart, humbled my intentions and made me feel overall blessed for all the opportunities God has placed in my life. As the day continued on, we had to turn away 50 patients but were able to see a total of 350 patients with every single one receiving treatment and prayer. As I was packing up to head back to Masindi, my 22 year old friend told me that she would see me again and that one day she hopes she will be able to give back like our PMI group has been able to give back to her village and country. God is good all the time!

(Kayla) It is so neat to see how God places each person on this team for a specific reason. We are from all over the country and many have never met until we sit down together on the long plane ride over here. I have never seen such amazing teamwork. Starting as strangers, in just a day we are a family working together to show our love through the unique and specific gifts God has given us.

The pharmacy has a reputation for being the last station to finish clinic each night- but today the dental team took home the trophy. (Chris & Jared worked super hard to finish the evening strong- it was beginning to get dark so the other providers stood close with their headlamps to light up the mouth.) Children were peaking in through the windows trying to get a glimpse at what these crazy guys were doing. Everyone began to clap as the last tooth was pulled and we headed back to the hotel for an amazing dinner. Each day brings new miracles as well as new challenges. We can feel each prayer for our team and send a big hug and thanks allllll the way from Masindi!

PS: Son Trask says to tell his wife he is alive! He’s keeping a smile on all of our faces!!

Love you all!

Kayla & Morgan

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Uganda Clinic Day 1

After breakfast and our morning devotional, we headed out on the hour-long, bumpy, dirt road to our first clinic site, Mihembero. The drive was thoroughly entertaining as we all waved excitedly at the children running down the roads on their way to school. When we arrived at the schoolhouse that was to be our clinic site for the day, I was overwhelmed at the response. Well before we got to the driveway to the entrance of the school, we drove past people who were lined up down the road, all clapping and cheering our arrival. After snapping a few pictures, we eagerly unloaded our supply boxes to set up for our respective clinic areas. The rooms of the schoolhouse allowed for a nice flow with patients starting with registration, moving swiftly to triage and then getting brought in to providers. From there, based on their symptoms and complaints, they were taken to glasses, physical therapy, dentistry, pharmacy, and/or prayer team. The line of people was more than I ever expected. There were at least 600 people waiting for us when we arrived. After quickly meeting my translator, Jackie, she informed me that many of the people had started arriving yesterday morning and the majority of the patients had spent the night at the site waiting to be seen this morning. It was a big culture shock, because I usually hear an earful from my patients in the US when they have to wait 15 minutes, much less if they would have to camp out overnight to be seen. Before we could even get settled, our first patient was brought immediately back because “he had the sickness.” The history of the complaint was hard to discern, but he had lost the ability to walk due to right-sided weakness and had an eye infection that was causing him to have swelling of his eyelid and inability to see from his right eye. At the end of his clinic visit, his eye infection had been treated, he had a device to hold open his eyelid, which improved his vision, and he had received new shoes so he wouldn’t trip over his oversized flip-flops. Also, he was now using a walker to get around! This was amazing considering this is something he had been unable to do for a long time. The day started with a bang, but the excitement never dwindled. I feel registration had the hardest job by far today as unfortunately the line had to be cut short without everyone being seen by a provider. The good news is, no one walked away empty-handed as all were given vitamins, medication to remove stomach worms, and received prayers from our prayer team. One lady who had come to be seen and didn’t make the cut off stayed all day, working with the prayer team and witnessing to the rest of the patients, knowing she herself would not be able to receive medical care. Due to her sacrifices, one of the local ministers who did have a ticket to be seen gave up his spot to this woman. Out of the ~600 people, almost 450 received care by providers (355 medical patients, 40 dental patients, and 50 patients participated in back pain clinic with the physical therapy team). All and all, not too shabby for day one especially since we are just learning the system. The final patient received their medications all by the glow of headlamps as daylight had evaded us, and we packed up and headed back to the hotel around 8PM. I can say, without a doubt, after I get all the red clay scrubbed off of me from today’s work (and I must say, it is everywhere), I will sleep well tonight. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

 

Mandy

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