Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring 2013 Update #5

This evening for about 10 minutes Paul and I got a glimpse of what it
is like to live in Koidu. Our clinic finished much earlier today and
so we decided to play soccer with the village team again( Paul was
goalie!). Before the game I put both our eyeglasses in the jeep. After
the game on our way back to Phebian's house I suddenly realized we did
not have our glasses and we could not find them anywhere. The prospect
of spending the next week without glasses was pretty scary. We drove
back to the field and luckily they were both lying along side the
dusty road still intact and we could see again.
But all week I have not seen one patient who wears glasses and plenty
have c/o of poor vision and on exam had cataracts or simply needed a
pair of glasses. But for the people of Koidu they would need to travel
6-7 hrs to see eye doctor and it would be cost prohibitive for most.
So they gradually become blind.
This morning on our way to Woama village for our clinic we drove right
alongside the infamous Koidu diamond mine. It is several hundred acres
enclosed by a tall stone fence with electric wires on top and armed
guards patrolling all entrances. During the war rebels from Liberia
took over the mine and sold "conflict diamonds" to finance their
terror. Eventually the rebels were defeated and the mine is now back
under operation by a South African owned company. Even though some
people from Koidu get jobs at the mine and the government of Sierra
Leone gets a share of the profit it is quite clear that little of the
diamond money is benefiting this community. So in a town where we
could not even find a single thermometer to buy  (ours are on the crate
which we last heard is still weeks away ) diamonds are being produced
to sell all over the world. I for one get nauseated at the idea of
ever buying a diamond again.
At our clinic today we received word that a man in another village
close by had fell out of a coconut tree and was hurting bad and could
we help? So since there is only one "ambulance" in all of Kono
district we sent one of our team to get him and bring him in. On exam
it was clear he had a broken wrist( although the nearest X-ray is a
days journey away) and we did not bring splints or casting material.
But we ended up creating a quite beautiful splint using what material
we did have and I think he will heal fine.
I also saw two people with seizures today. One woman told us she has
had the seizures from a child and had always been told it was from an
evil spirit. The other was a 7 yr old boy whose mom brought him in
saying he is always wetting himself and shaking. Luckily when I put
him on the exam table he had a seizure and urinated on himself while
Phebian and I were in the room watching so we know the diagnosis.
Unfortunately we did not bring seizure meds but we will find some and
these two pts will be someone Phebian will be visiting regularly in
the future.

It is great to know that Phebian will be continuing to visit these
villages. We have a whole list of pts she will follow. She is doing
great clinically. Her and I are working together and I am trying to
teach her everything I know. Yesterday someone walked in with a BP of
180/130 and rapid heart rate and just by observing and examining the
pt she identified hyperthyroidism ( bulging eyes and neck mass) and
congestive heart failure( edema and crackles) and chose the right
Our team is doing great. The Sierra Leonian members of our team are
amazing people. In spite of their lack of money and things we take for
granted they are so giving, faithful to God, fun to be with and hard
workers. It is humbling to be in their presence. Phebian is taking
great care of us. Tomorrow her sister is washing my clothes the old
fashioned way by hand. No washing machines here.
Because of Phebian’s faithfulness Jericho Road is now demonstrating the
love of Jesus through word and deed to the people of Kono District.
This project will make an incredible difference.
Thanks for your prayers and thank you for supporting this new mission
of Jericho Road.
God Bless. Myron

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