Saturday, December 06, 2008
The NGO I was previously connected with went to underserved, far-flung, lower income areas of the country- some as far as 1,000 kilometers away from the capital- to conduct surgical missions. We'd stay there for 2-3 days, seeing some 50-75 patients with problems that included cataracts, cysts, benign tumors, goiter, cleft lips and palates, among others. These areas suffered from acute lack of physicians and equipment that could have helped take care of their health concerns earlier. A full complement of volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other allied health professionals and local health volunteers operated on patients free of charge.
It was priceless to see how seemingly minor surgical procedures did wonders to lives of the long-suffering patients; their smiles and profuse expression of gratitude made the trip worthwhile. The simple but nonetheless sumptuous breakfasts (and lunches and and snacks and dinners) the local residents lovingly prepared for us were excellent treats as well!