Entries in Nepal (11)
After several days of clinics, the Medical Mercy team is on its way home. They treated 1200 patients and 175 dental patients, administered countless prescriptions, and left water filters behind to add one more layer of better health for the children and their communities.
Dr. Beyda has used the mountains of Nepal as an analogy for sustainable healthcare. This was not an easy climb – there were patients they could not effectively treat, patients whose lives may not improve to our standards. In those times, the best medicine they can give is to see them, touch them, pray with them or over them.
The goal was to serve, and that was achieved. But as Dr. Beyda puts it, “It's a start. We reached the ‘summit’ but I'm not ready to raise the flag just yet. We need to come back and make the climb again. And maybe again after that. Thank you to the team for all that you gave and sacrificed. It was a privilege and blessing to have made this ‘climb’ with you.”
We echo Dr. Beyda’s thanks to the 22 US volunteers plus the 4 from our One Child Matters India office. Thanks to those who gave to send these servants on their way. Thanks to those who sponsor children in Nepal, who ensure children receive better opportunities for health and life.
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul gives instructions on how we are to give. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (verses 6 and 7).
This is what we love about Medical Mercy. At some point, you decided in your heart to give. You decided to give financially, but more importantly you decided to give of your time and talents, and you have done so generously. And so we pray 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 as well:
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Medical Mercy is wrapping up their time in Nepal. This is their 80th trip since they began serving several years ago. Since then, they've cared for more than 75,000 kids as well as family and community members.
Undertaking such a mission requires special motivaton, a faithfulness of heart that Dr. Beyda reflects on below.
At the beginning of this trip, I asked the team to reflect on the question of "why." Why are we here, and why did we choose to do this.
Many have asked me "what" Medical Mercy does, and that is easy to answer. We bring needed healthcare to the children who need it.
I am then asked "how" do we do that. That is easy to answer as well. We hold medical clinics, we build medical clinics and staff them with nurses and local doctors when we can, we train local teachers to become healthcare workers so they can continue to deliver needed health are, we teach first aid, we show them how to filter their water, we show them how to brush their teeth, and we show and teach them good hygiene.
But the question I am rarely asked is "why" do we do what we do. Few really want to know. They are more interested in the "what" and the "how." Both are more tangible, easier to get their minds around. So when I'm asked about the "what" and the "how," I wait for the "why" and if it doesn't come, I offer it. I've asked the team to reflect on the "why" this week. I've asked them to be prepared to answer the question if ever asked.
I have my answer. It took awhile, but it is there. It's solid, indisputable, non-negotiable, never needing defending, and personal. It is what gives me the strength to climb this "mountain" this week, this "mountain" of long days in clinics, sick children, at times frustrated because we can't "climb" higher because we just can't, and the slow trek upwards of making a child healthy enough to be able to smile and not feel pain.
I have an answer as to "why." I'll share it with the team soon, and trust that the team will share their answers with me. We may find that we all have the same answers to the "why." But before I do that, I'll spend a few minutes talking to someone who knows me and what my reasons for "why" are.
He's the answer, you know.
In all things give thanks,
The country of Nepal is home to eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world, the tallest of which is the infamous Mount Everest (which, astonishingly, is more than twice the height of Pikes Peak, the mountain we see every day outside our headquarters in Colorado Springs).
Mount Everest becomes a fitting metaphor for the task our Medical Mercy team faces in Nepal. Dr. Beyda reflects on the second day of clinics:
The rising sun brought those who were going to the base camp on Mount Everest to a gathering place where they awaited their ride. In 4-6 days they would reach 17,500 depending on their strength and endurance. Then another 10 days to 2 weeks at the base camp getting acclimated to the altitude in preparation for the trek to the 29,300 feet summit. They wait for a "window of opportunity" in the weather where they have 2 weeks to get up and back. I am in awe of their fortitude and determination.
At the same time those of us who were going to a project to hold our medical clinic gathered in a place to await our ride. A 30 minute ride to the project, a full day of clinic, children a little sicker than we saw yesterday, and I am in awe of the team's fortitude and determination.
Two very different purposes, two very different destinations, and two very different goals. We "acclimate" not to altitude, but to the poverty that we see, to the malnourished children, to the sense of hopelessness that sometimes covers the faces of the mothers who have little to care for their children.
We approach our "base camp" no differently than the trekkers. Slowly, methodically, sure of every step, making everything count in order to reach our goal. We had our own trek. We walked about a half mile today into the project and again back out, carrying all of our supplies. No "sherpas."
This little girl in the picture perhaps gives you a sense of who we cared for today. We treated children with asthma, pneumonia, and ear infections. We saw children who were stunted, short for their age, as a result of being malnourished (as, it is estimated, half of the children in Nepal are). Those children will be vulnerable to chronic illnesses and a short life span.
Our sponsored children were seen, given the best we had, and for that they have been given a chance to reach the "summit." The summit of making a life out of nothing and being able to breathe without coughing and wheezing. As for us tonight, we rest, and prepare for tomorrow, becoming more acclimated to what we've seen and ready for what will be seen tomorrow.
Nepal is a beautiful country. The children are uniquely beautiful with facial features and smiles that radiate. I'll sleep a few hours tonight and wait for the rising sun and gather to a place in the morning where we will trek to the next project. A few thousand feet more and we are closer to the top: healthcare for those who need it the most.
Dr. Beyda and a team of volunteers are serving in Nepal. Dr. Beyda reflects on what draws most people to Nepal -- the allure of Mt. Everest -- and why the team is there instead:
A mountain that has claimed many lives and has given many more the satisfaction of beating it, beckons us not to climb it but to wonder in awe how magnificent it is. Children beckon us as well. Children who are cared for by loving teachers and pastors. We will also wonder in awe how beautiful they are, how innocent they are and how much they need.
We will be there to run 5 days of medical clinics and to bring a sense of calm to the illnesses that the children have. We make no pretense of being able to climb the mountain of sustainable healthcare and perfect nutritional growth just yet. The 22 members of the US team have been preparing for this climb, this trek. We have been in prayer, we have had many many emails back and forth, we have had set backs, roadblocks and yes even a slip or two down the side of this mountain. Not too far, but far enough that we've had to climb a ways back up. But no worries here.
As those who begin the climb of Mt. Everest, so too will we begin the climb of daily clinics, seeing as many children and adults as is meant to be. We will go slowly, methodically, carefully, taking each step with determination, comforted in the fact that we have the best "guide" with us. Him.
When nothing happens out of the ordinary, one wonders what went wrong. And that is just what happened today. This was probably the best first day of clinics we've ever had in all the trips we've made. Easy setup, smooth flow, patients seen, changes made without questions, and 200 patients seen with time to spare.
Well, there were a few glitches. No electricity, no generator, therefore no power to drive the drills and power tools the dentists needed to do their job. They improvised all the same, and teeth got pulled, repaired, beautified and cleaned, and all was good.
The children were relatively healthy with a few falling outside the norm, but were easily attended to. Several children caught our attention: a 10 year old girl with a heart murmur who was told she needed surgery at the age of 2, and got lost to follow-up, only to return today, 8 years later wondering if now was a good time to get the surgery done. Nope, wouldn't happen, not today, not tomorrow, not any time soon unfortunately.
A 10 year old boy shows up in a wheel chair with a mechanical brace on his right leg. History: hit by a motorcycle 1 year ago, some type of surgery was performed, the leg put in this brace, and now a year later, having not walked all this time, asked us to fix it so he could. The leg was misaligned, turned inward and would need a competent orthopedic surgeon to make things right. Out of the blue, an anesthesiologist who also happened to be the director of a private hospital close by, comes for an unannounced visit, and offers to have an orthopedic surgeon see the child at no cost.
So we started the "climb", got a few hundred feet up the mountain, and there we sit until tomorrow. Then up we go. Serving those who come to see us.
We will post more from Dr. Beyda as he is able to update us -- in the meantime, please join us in praying for the team and for the children they are caring for on our behalf!
If you want to send a small gift to your sponsored child, what should you send? How can you best ensure that these items make it to your sponsored child? Learn about the restrictions and see pictures of what cannot be sent so you can encourage your sponsored child well!
Water affects so much of your child's life -- is there enough to wash up before school? Is it safe to drink? Can I go out and play? What season is your sponsored child experiencing right now, and what does that mean for daily life?
Children love games – this is no secret. Often in letters from your sponsored child, you’ll hear that your child loves to play a particular game or sport. But what do those games look like?
Continuing our little series on the sports our sponsored children favor, we'll look into another game with funny rules and a mad following. Get ready, because the pace has picked up since you played in junior high!
When Rijul began attending one of Mission of Mercy’s programs 10 years ago, the staff immediately recognized that the sad little boy was ill. How did coming to the project change Rijul's life?
The goal of any Mission of Mercy program is to equip children in developing nations to reach their God-given potential. So how does that work in our schools?