The two hours of bumpy and treacherous roads, unpredictable weather, and traveling sickness is all worth it once the voices of the children are heard. As the convoy approaches the project of the day, we hear the songs of joy and happiness from the hundreds of children in the project. It is clear that so much work and effort is put into their greeting, which shows their level of gratitude. Hundreds of hands are extended in welcome. Without knowing what is to be expected, their level of trust is astounding.
Throughout the entire day of examining and poking, that level of trust is maintained. A little boy who is examined has jiggers boring holes throughout his feet. Even though he is unsure to what is happening while his painful sores are cleaned and scrubbed, he stays composed, trusting that we are there to help. Even though he leaves crying, he appears a few hours later, playing soccer on his newly healed feet while giving us high fives with a big smile on his face. The second patient is a young woman who complains of stomach pain. She tells us her habit of breaking off pieces of the mud walls of her house and how she consumes them. Her gums and conjunctiva are white. Pica. Something you see in a book but never in a patient. Does she understand her condition? Does she think she is crazy? Her level of comfort with her examiners is prominent, the physician-patient relationship at its finest.
With the team working optimally, we were able to treat all the children as well as the parents. A successful day.