Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ba Me Thout

We arrived at the rural central-Vietnam church a few minutes past 6 o'clock in the morning. We scrambled off of the bus, groggy and tired and made our way behind the church to a patch of sand and weeds where we brushed our teeth, rinsing and spitting onto the dirt beneath out feet. It was so gloriously awkward in a weird way.

We set up stations - blood pressure, doctor, pharmacy, just like the day at the other church. The indigenous people here spoke another language, so even our Vietnamese speakers couldn't really communicate with them. However, we were able to find two translators to help us translate their native language.

A large crowd began to build up outside of our little medical clinic, and it only got larger as the day progressed. The constant flow of patients never seemed to stop, and the crowd never waned.

At one of the tables, a majority of our group worked to package little bags of vitamins and Tylenol. Some people helped with traffic control, and others of us helped measure blood pressure at the first table. One of the patients who came through was an old man in his nineties. His blood pressure was over 200 systolic, and Norris told the man to stop smoking, but he just shrugged it off, which was a little disheartening.

We began to run out of medicine long before lunch. Norris and Lisa went to get more medicine from a local pharmacy near the area. The people at the church cooked us some lunch and some wonderful sticky snacks, for which we were very grateful.

There was still a large crowd of people waiting outside by the end of the day, but we just didn't have time to see all of them. As we shut down door, we felt really terrible! There was a little girl holding her toddler brother who was naked, and he had all these rashes and boils on his butt! It looked so painful, and it should have been looked at by a doctor, but unfortunately we had already closed down for the day.

We left around 6PM, which meant we had basically spent 12 straight hours working. It was our most exhausting day, but also the most rewarding. As we walked past the church to board our bus, we saw little kids at school in the church, and they were so cute!

We played mafia for a while, but most of us were so tired we could hardly focus. Nevertheless, it was fun for a while.

We arrived back at the hotel around 3AM in the morning.

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