Tuesday, September 17, 2013

one chapter ends

A cold morning mist gradually gave way to hot, sunny skies as we prepared for the drive to Emboreet village, 45 minutes away along a dusty, bumpy road...medical supplies in tow. We passed a couple of tiny settlements, nothing more than isolated clusters of low mud dwellings and an occasional boma. Everywhere we went we saw school children in their uniforms along the way, herdsmen with their goats and cattle, and donkeys hauling jugs of water.

What is it the heart aches for out here? The immense silence? The vast empty grassland? Bird song? Surely not the traffic jams and crowded malls and flashing fluorescent lights we left behind.

"The eye never forgets what the heart has seen."
--African Proverb--
The Ngorongoro Crater
 But I digress...

We pulled into an acacia grove where arrangements had been made for us to set up the clinic in a newly constructed school, scheduled to open in January. We scouted around until we decided which rooms worked best for us, and the rest was relatively easy.

This felt like home compared to working out of a tent. Check out the exam room!

Soon, people arrived...and they kept coming...and coming all day long.

(note the ubiquitous cell phone...)

Mothers came with all of their children to be seen. The population was sicker than in Loborsoit for two reasons:
  • There is no national doctor in Emboreet and the nearest clinic is...well...in Loborsoit.
  • The only well is far from the village, so the women are forced to draw unclean water from the dam. It's nearby and there's no waiting in line for water there. 
We saw more colds and coughs, more conjunctivitis and infected sores in Emboreet, all fed by the flies that hovered around the people and crawled into their eyes and mouths.
Yes, those are flies crawling into this baby's nose.
I saw another ten month-old who weighed in at ten pounds, and a 3rd degree burn that was two weeks old.

Altogether we saw 216 patients in Emboreet...and turned a few away at the end of the day. Now they are left to make their way to Loborsoit, or to see the local healer for their care...which, for the most part, means they won't actually receive any medical attention. What was I saying about heartache???

The good news is that several initiatives are already underway in the village. The new school will open in a couple of months. Hopefully a new well will be drilled closer to the village. And, CLA will definitely be back...a dewdrop of hope on a dusty plain. You can learn more at http://www.grauerschool.com/2013/news/emboreet/ :

At 3:30 we started to clean up and repack everything so we could get back to camp before dark. This was the great turning point in our adventure. Even as we reflecedt back on all we did...and all we had to leave undone...tomorrow we start a new chapter. We say goodbye to the choo, to the cold showers, to the "wildebeef stew" and to hyenas yipping in the night. We say hello to soft beds and hot showers, to fabulous food and stunning vistas...and to more than a few fine beasts.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow we leave on safari!

'Nuff said...

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