A Clinic Day….

We’re here; they’re there. We’re asleep and their day is underway. What happens in tandem with our busy lives, what happens on the other side of the world? What goes into the Thursday clinic at 1000 Hills, what goes on, who is helped, and who is loved?

Wendy and Stina arrive at the clinic at 7 AM this morning ready to serve. Dawn, founder of 1000 Hills Clinic, has been there since 5. Even before she arrives, patients begin lining up outside the gate. Karin, Dawn’s daughter, opens the gate and allows people into the waiting room. 0-19Before the other doctors and nurses arrive, Karin begins to triage the patients, running tests and determining who needs a doctor and who could benefit from a nurse’s touch. 0-41One of the first patients is this 12 boy. He lost his mother in March and is now cared for by his gogo (grandmother). Yesterday, he burned his leg while trying to cook an egg. He is taken to the treatment room to be bandaged.0-42

8:30ish: One of the health workers starts singing a hymn. Almost all of the waiting patients join in. Then, they begin praying their individual prayers out loud. 0-46While waiting for the healing of this world, it makes sense to pray to the Great Physician. We are thrilled that His love and salvation are shared with every bandage, pill, and check-up!

Nurse Joyce and pharmacists Jimmy (82 years old) and Peter arrive to man the pharmacy.0-47

9 AM: There are no seats left inside the clinic. Patients arriving now must wait outside in the muggy weather. 0-35Dr. Kirstie (chief doctor) and 2 volunteer doctors from the UK are now here too. 0-33Over at the kitchen, it is time for morning porridge and for the bread line. 0-31Many of the patients line up outside the kitchen to receive two loaves of day old bread which would otherwise have been thrown away. 0-32Also, local school students are asked to bring an extra sandwich to give to the less fortunate. These are also distributed through the bread line.

Time is awash now. So many people need treatment and the day is creeping, scampering, fleeting. Next patient… 14 month baby Thando. Thando was badly burned on Saturday when she was scalded by boiling water at her aunt’s house. There are many burns in the clinic because most of the cooking is done on the ground. Thando was taken to hospital but, like so many people who can’t pay, was released way too early, before the wounds can begin to heal. Her mom needs the bandages changed. Infection is a fear. Wendy explains, “The mom and health worker were trying to get the bandages off with warm water. It was a long process and we all cried with little Thando.”0-43 0-44 0-45

Stina treats a woman with an ear infection.1234546_10151600495771791_842250301_n

Patients continue to pour in. Scabies-like rashes, coughs, lung infections, stomach ulcers are common complaints. People needing TB treatments also arrive. 8 year old Spellilli has an abscess on his tummy that needs drained. His courage during the process earns him some stickers Wendy brought with her. 0-37The pharmacy hums with busyness.0-39

Wendy takes a break and heads to the nursery to check on Zowakha, a one month old who was brought to Dawn. “You’re lucky I didn’t chuck him in the toilet. Here’s one for you,” said his mother.  1045059_10151597323681791_89119693_nHe has gone to hospital for a thorough exam. When he returns, a new infant is in the nursery. Okuhle, an girl, has been brought by her mother this morning. “I can’t take care of her any longer.” A third infant wails nearby. Asiphile, Zowakha, and Okuhle will spend their days in the nursery and their nights with caregivers… for now.0-34

Back in the clinic, another line forms. Each person is given two pieces of fruit. In another line, patients can pick out items of used clothing. Dawn hands out condoms.

110 patients today. 0-36110 stories of strife, deprivation, injury, hardship. 110 opportunities to heal, help, share. While we slept on the other side of the world. Simultaneously.

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