Day three began slightly earlier than usual since we had to drive for an hour and a half each way to and from our clinic location in Ankobra, the farthest of the trip so far. Francis maneuvered the giant bus on dirt roads between houses that were only slightly taller than the van. We arrived at our final location for clinic and looked up to find nothing but sky. Instead of a school or a church, we were given a small courtyard for clinic! However, God always provides. Kyle and Mark stretched ropes between the surrounding buildings and tied sheets to the ropes in order to make shade. Kyle called it the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and it certainly felt wonderful once we hit noon!
A sailor will tell you it takes three shots for a Navy ship to hit its target. The first one they aim short, the second they aim long, and the third always makes contact. Today we hit. On day one we were so swarmed that we hardly took a lunch break, on day two our lunch break was meant to reset so we could fix our slightly dysfunctional system, but on day three there was no talk of efficiency or frustration. Instead we could actually relax, eat, and receive visits from wandering toddlers before resuming our day.
When we did resume the day, there were hardly any road bumps. I continued pumping kids and adult through triage and we never had to slow down. At some point AJ came to me and offered to switch me out of triage so I could sit in with the care providers. I took up his offer and went to listen to my dad, Dr. Lloyd Yeh give diagnoses to patients, including some people I had previously sent through triage. It allowed me to see the clinic from a different angle, but more importantly it allowed me to hear the stories of each person as it was translated back to us in English by our translator, Genesis. I got to see hope when a father and his children were told their infections could be healed and I felt sorrow when I saw my dad write HIV on a clinical test request. Through the good and the bad, every interaction tells me more of what it really means to be a doctor and what it means to be a conduit for Jesus. We can give these people medicine, we can give them advice, but when those both fail us, we can give them hope. Today, I realized that the most destitute of the people here can always use hope.