The supplies from SEE arrive at our clinic. Four huge boxes first and I manage to transfer them all into 3 big suitcases. It is quite a challenge but I use all the tricks known from all the years of traveling to stuff them all neatly into the expandable bags while keeping a keen eye out for airlines’ the weight limit of 50 pounds per bag.
Special thanks to Gordon Dahl and Katena Surgical supplies for their generous donation of much needed surgical instruments!
I had a very pleasant surprise on my return from the Liberia Surgical Mission when I opened the package from Katena! These instruments are very expensive (over $500 each) and essential for doing efficient surgery. We will be more prepared for our next mission to Mexico April 13-15th!
Today is our last day here in Liberia. I must admit I am walking around the waiting area and it seems like there are more people on the last day than on the first day! How could this be? We worked very hard every day from early morning to late night and people are still waiting in long line. Some has been waiting for days.
Words travel fast and as people hear that we are here to do eye surgery, they are coming from far away to get the care.
Take a look at the waiting area this morning and tell me if you agree with me.
Sitting in the lobby, I hear from Joe Sackor, our coordinator for this mission talk about the praise from the patients sitting outside the operating room. They sit there waiting before and after surgery. We are too busy to visit with them so we don’t get to hear these things first hand ourselves. We barely have just a few minutes in between operation to look at people eyes to give the go-ahead to get them scrub up for surgery. We don’t even have time for lunch let alone time to chit chat with anybody.
Finally, we get into the groove of things. It is rocking and rolling for the Kondrot Eye team today. There is not stopping the surgeon in charge. One cataract after another comes popping out and there’s no stopping Dr. Kondrot now. He is full of energy and keeps at it like the Energizer bunny!
The day starts as usual with the wild ride to Redemption Hospital. Take a look at this high occupancy vehicle.
What a day! We did seven surgeries today including repairing a traumatized iris prolapsed for a young four years old boy. We did surgery until late, even after the big generator has stopped, and the big light is out. We use the iPhone flashlight often.
By the grace of God, the team arrives safely at Redemption Hospital through the horrendous morning traffic and the crazy maneuvers of large sixteen wheelers tow truck near the entrance to the Monrovia Freeport on Somalia road. When a truck decides to do a U-turn on Somalia road, traffic on both ways comes to a standstill waiting for the large truck to finish its moves. At the midpoint of the U-turn, the truck would just cut off traffic completely going both ways and slowly makes it back and forth maneuvers until it is lined up to go in the driver desired direction. All the while, we have cars and tut-tuts and other vehicles mixed in with pedestrians peddling the things they are selling, either carrying them on their heads or pushing their coconuts and drinking water in plastic bags in wheel barrels. It is a dizzying scene and I wonder how many accidents happen a day. But amazingly, we actually have not witnessed one accident since we arrived and we have not even seen an ambulance here.
As we enter the hospital, we are reminded of the tough time in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak: