Thursday, March 26, 2009

WHERE THERE IS NO DENTIST ~ Mission in Uganda by Dr. T.R. Shively

Ugandan huts = mission headquarters/home...
It started with an e-mail from Karen Gleason. We'd met at a Global Episcopal Mission Network conference two years earlier...
KIDA (Kitojo Inter-Developmental Association) Clinic in Uganda

...and about one year ago, her informational e-mail arrived with an inquiry to me.

Dr. T.R. Shively with one of his first Ugandan patients and an interpreter...
First, the Friends of Ruwenzori Mission 2009 was interested in finding a dentist to travel with them to Uganda in February 2009. We electronically discussed this need, the options and right person for this assignment. Karen knew that I'd had experience with this type of health care mission, but since I'd already committed for a mission to Africa (Swaziland) in the fall of 2008, I had no real thoughts of returning to that continent three months later. However, after a few e-mails and a lot of prayers, that person did turn out to be me. Thus, began an intensified study of conditions, language and needs before I left for Swaziland in October 2008 and after I returned.

On January 31, 2009, we [Friends of Ruwenzori Mission 2009] traveled to Uganda. My orientation had been brief by necessity, as I was over 1,000 miles from the rest of the medical team, many of whom resided in California. During the month that I was in Uganda, I had the pleasure of treating patients with a very capable health care team: Delia O'Hara and Ewa Zaborowski. Delia capably handled the pre-op screening, including vitals and health histories, and post-op care and instructions. Ewa served a triple role as a physical therapy expert, dental assistant and sterilization coordinator. Both were superb teammates.

The adapted dental office at KIDA Clinic...
The dental team divided its time between the Manna Rescue Orphanage in Fort Portal, and the KIDA Clinic at Kitojo. While at Manna, we examined, diagnosed and treated over 35 patients, including all the children currently living there. Our time at KIDA found me starting the days early and seeing patients clear through into the evening. The norm was 30 to 40 patients per day.

Even with the challenge of no potable water, no compressed air, only periodic electricity and no dental chair, we were able to care for well over 200 patients. The vast majority of the patients are HIV/AIDS positive, as were the children in the orphanage. Most of these patients had never seen a dentist.
Presentation of curing light to Fr. Ezra Musobosi, KIDA Clinic Director

It was a blessing to mentor a young man who had dental technician training. We worked together well at KIDA. This answered my prayers to "teach them how to fish," so that they might realize dental care after I left. In that spirit, I donated several instruments to this man so that he could continue patient care. Also in that same mode, I donated my UV curing light for the dental wing of the future hospital at KIDA.

It was an honor and a privilege to serve the Lord's calling with all my teammates. Certainly, the LORD was with us and guided us in our activities.

Inspiration in Uganda~ St. Stephen's at Kissisi

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dominican Republic Experience by Ken Messer

In late January through the first week in February, Ken Messer joined an Episcopal medical team led by Father Larry Snyder in the Dominican Republic.

Ken says: Just a short note to say that the mission experience humbles one and it does not make one feel lucky as much as it makes one feel blessed. One forgets about all the privileges that we take for granted. At some point in one's life, a transition should be made to thank God for all the problems they are experiencing and to thank God for all the problems that they are not experiencing.

Although the numbers of care providers could always be larger, it was gratifying to see all the people from different corners of the United States that were offering their services for the benefit of others. God works in mysterious ways.

The work conditions were limited; generally to electricity, no running water, tables and chairs pushed around to channel the flow of people. The afternnons were busier than the mornings. At lunchtime, some of the workers would walk through the villages, and the grapevine had an impact for the afternoons. There is so much need for everything. Basic survival rather than luxury living.

It felt like a time warp for me when I was in the Dominican Republic. I did not read a newspaper, or read a book, or watch television. I mostly absorbed the sights and sounds and smells in a limited way, a small part of the culture. I am amazed how many beautiful people God has created.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dr. T.R. Shively Safely Home from Uganda by Stevie Shively

Dear Friends ~
Terry is home from a month long health care mission to southwest Uganda. Four members of the seven person team were from Episcopal churches in the San Francisco area. They treated 40+ children who live in an orphanage in Ft. Portal & 200+ people at a KIDA clinic in rural Karabole district. All are HIV/AIDS positive. What an opportunity! He has many experiences to share!
Thank you for all your prayers! Stevie Shively :-)

Tuesday, February 17 in Galveston by Fr. Pat Genereux

The crew went back to the house we left yesterday and I have stayed at WTEC to get caught up with ODRR 'paperwork' and reply to and send emails. After lunch, we took a trip to Bolivar Peninsula. This is the area that got what is called the 'dirty' side of the hurricane; that is torrential rains, storm surge, high winds and tornados... most of the homes were severely damaged or destroyed. The community at the west end was completely destroyed as was the community at Gilchrist about 30 miles up the peninsula where only one house was left standing. The area reminded us of Parkersburg, Iowa.
Pictures tell the story better than words. The search for bodies was called off just this past week, but they expect to find more 'missing persons' as brush and debris are slowly cleared away. This is another moment when words fail and all I can do is look. We don't stay long, because it feels like we are entering a sacred space to which we have not yet been invited. The Gilchrist Volunteer Fire Department has asked the Episcopal Diocese to help them rebuild their firehouse so that an essential service can be reestablished. I wish we could stay to do that. We return to Galveston via the State Highway Department's free ferry service.

Galveston Hearts & Hands -- Jesus of the Trash Icon by Fr. Pat Genereux

Monday, February 16 ~ ...cooler, though sunny this morning... our first job is to clear out a 'garden shed.' For we midwesterners, a garden shed is a 3x6 building (plastic or wood) from Lowe's. This was more the size of a small house and filled mostly with ceramic pieces & molds. Someone had done a lot of work making plywood Christmas decorations for the lawn, all of which had to go to the dump... along with 'Spiderman' and other superhero comics from Marvel Comics, a collection of 78 LPs (from the 40s and 50s) and original children's Golden Books (invaluable in many ways... memories as well as cash) and a ton (figuratively speaking) of Milton Bradley games from the 50s and 60s... so many things, all in the dump...

And at the very top, this picture... an icon of hope and renewal... 'Jesus of the Trash' is iconic in the sense of the hope that is seen in the recovery work being done in the area. Bishop Alan reverently placed this portrait on the pile after the homeowner said she didn't want it...

Apart from trashing all these memories, the crew had to deal with a nest of cockroaches the size of mice... or so it seemed, and at least one poor rat that was more confused and frightened of us than we of it...

After lunch, we headed for a new job, doing some of the finishing work on a house that the Mennonites had started. This task has a different feel. No more throwing out or taking apart of people's lives, but now we were helping in the final stages of putting life back together. For some of the crew, it was a new experience. Wielding a drill and sheet rock screws, laying the underlayment in the kitchen... a sight to behold with many new skills learned!