I have often told my social work students that my wish for them is that they can find employment such that when they get up in the morning they are excited to go to work and and during the day they can say "I can't believe they pay me for this - I would do it for free!" Then at the end of the day they know that they spent the day doing something worthwhile. Not everyone can do this in their life - but I am so happy that I have been doing this for years. Now I am somewhere in which I am doing this for free. I love every minute and can't wait to get back to the children when I wake up in the morning.
So much has happened in the last three days. We have been running a health screening for all of the children that includes overall exam - ears, eyes, throat, skelatal, skin, other as needed. We have a pediatrician and a family practitioner and three nurses volunteering from one team plus they have other folks volunteering. There is a lady here that is volunteering and working hard every day in the heat who turned 80 yesterday. The cooks in the kitchen at school made her the best cake ever. We have found a variety of problems. The hardest one for me is that we have 3 children who have scoleosis and I have no idea where to refer them for what they need to have a straight spine. We have one boy who had surgery on his club feet - but no follow up. He wore the worst looking sore on the side of his foot from the brace to the point that about an inch thick callous has formed and part of it looks like a bed sore. No complaints. We have had several cases of scabies, impetigo and ear infections. We have major wax build up in the ears. One child had a broken arm. She was not complaining. I do not even want to try to give a number to the cuts - especially on the feet. Severe athletes foot was also uncovered along with numerous other skin rashes and infected bug bites. We also have two children who have tongues that will not stick out of their mouth and it is affecting their speech. Many children need glasses. So...this seems overwhelming...but the team handled it all and worked togehter so good - keeping a sense of humor and total care for the children.
I am awed by the pediatrician. He has done home visits and seen many babies. You can tell he truly loves the kids and has even treated some moms. He is an excellent diagnostic person as he sees things right off that are signals of something wrong. He and I have covered ourselves in antiseptic - whatever we can use after hugging children with scabies. I am going to learn to use the audiology machine they are donating so I can test hearing next week. We just couldn't do it all.
There are dentists here too. This is hat happens here...the dentist asked me to talk with a mom of two children that have terrible gum disease and problems witht their teeth. Plus they were filthy. I talked with mom and she just sighed heavily and said I try to get them to wash and brush their teeth but it is like they do not care (10 and 11 years. old). She told me that she was a single mom because her husband died - well he left her for a "bar woman" but he was still paying support for the children. The woman left him and then the man came to this mom's home (where his children were) and hung himself on the veranda at 2 am - so I guess they all would find him. She asked me to talk with the children - her son thinks he will do like his dad. There is no one on the island usually to send these kids to for counseling. Then she tells me that she is so embarrased because they have been asked to bring something for the valentine festival party friday and she has no money - not even to feed them. She is trying to get what jobs she can cleaning. She prays everyday that someone will need her services. When she left I was sad and took a moment to compose myself. As I prayed and got myself back together - one of the volunteers came in (a couple who are helping any way they can) and said we have $100 that folks from home sent and asked us to give to a family in need. I know there are so many but should we give it to one or two families and who? I am amazed at how quick God can answer prayer. I told her the story.
It is such a blessing for me and anyone who spends time with these children and families. I gain so many rewards. One of the docs turned to me yesterday and said - You really work hard. How do you do this week after week? I just looked at him as I was thinking "work? How can this be classified as work? I love it so much." Thus my thoughts at the beginning of this blog.
Ok - Linda went in to the kitchen to get the grocery order for today. She thought it was chicken day - so she asked how many chickens did they need. The head cook said "I can't cook chicken - there or no beans." Of course. You can't eat chicken without beans. Apparently, we now have a bean shortage. Now this is not good.
I have not gotten my hair cut and it is a mess - especially in the wind. One little girls came running up to me on the beach walking to school. she said "You're hair is a mess. Of course hers was nicely braided. I said myabe I need braids - She agreed and began to hustle me to allow her mom to braid my hair. She even remembered today and asked me when I was coming as her mom said she would braid my hair.
So, that sums it up. Love and miss ou all, Kim