Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stories in their eyes.

Firstly, yes chloe and i are both on my hotel bed. both with laptops at 'critical power levels'. one powerpack. much to do on the internet. THIS is life. haha we're really living on the edge, it's hilarious.
Anyway, since it's crazy busy and I'll never be able to say everything I want and feel without being a complete zombie in the morning, I thought I'd share some photos with you from screening.. Screening is the first two days when hundreds of patients (we saw over 400) come to the hospital and get evaluated.. We establish which and how many patients we will be able to operate on this mission. (There's a whole priority system, I'll explain later) We spent most of our time playing outside with kids, going sticker and bubble crazy. And we've really kinda taken on the role of... childlife therapy assistants. Jo (the childlife therapist) is AMAZING! Honestly brilliant. Been learning so much from her. From proper telephone manner to what lifelessons i should learn from an evening with the ambassador..
(The crowd on surgery announcement day. The most hearbreaking of them all. When we announce those who will be getting surgery this week -FLIP their faces when they hear their names, the parents' excitement sparkles in their eyes!! a light shines through like none ive seen before- and which people can't get surgery this year, but will definitely be first next mission.. Jo and Carin (psychologist) have counselling sessions with them after the announcement to console them and answer any questions. It's slightly easier here in Madagascar bc people know us here, and they know we actually will come back. And they know beforehand that it's not confirmed that they'll get surgery. It's still difficult though. It still makes your heart ache when this little girl's mom was pleading in a language I couldn't understand, for her daughter to be operated on. Bc many people who had been scheduled hadn't arrived today, she said. Bc she travelled from another town days before and had no where to stay. Bc she only had this one lil bag (the size of an A4 page, maximum 2inches deep..) of their belongings.. And bc it breaks her heart for her child to live like this.. She began to cry and all I could do was hug her. All I could do was smile at her daughter, make her feel like everything would be okay.. Like the delicious lolipop that her mom told us "she can only lick" is all that matters rightnow, that someday things would change.
Tamlin handled it wonderfully. She organised with Lilena (YouthForChrist and translator co-ordinator) for them to stay at the patient accomodation we arrange, and for her daughter to get an obturator.. to atleast provide temporary relief. She always says how important it is to make every person feel heard, and cared for.
So many of these kids arrive, like this little girl in her most wonderful princess dress, with her filthy tattered clothes underneath.. It's both heartbreaking and heartwarming. The life of poverty from which they come is devastating. Yet the fact that her mom put on her best dress for this gives us insight into how much this surgery, the possibility we present for them, really means to them.

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