Sunrise outside "The Ark" guesthouse at New Day
Thursday morning brought more patients for evaluation and casting. Thursday's group of patients were to meet at the Macha radio station, which had been announcing our upcoming trip for some weeks. Blu went to Macha with the New Day bus to pick everyone up to bring them back to the orphanage for us to see. We had set up a casting area in the garage for prosthetic patients, and John had a table in The Ark set up for evaluating patients.
The "Macha" group of people varied so much from the "Choma" group of people. Patients that we saw at Choma mostly live in a town. People who can live in one of the cities generally have a better quality of life. They had nicer clothes, had shoes, at least one guy had a vehicle that he drove to the clinic, and they had the means to travel distances to see us, as several were from Livingstone which is a few hours away. The people that met at the Macha radio station to come see us are the ones living out in the bush. Many of them did not own shoes, their clothes were very worn, transport is difficult...they often walk or ride a bicycle if they have one.
Before the bus arrived back at New Day with all the patients from Macha, we had a patient that had hired transport by motorcycle and came straight to New Day. It was Joel! We saw Joel last year for a below knee prosthesis. He never came back for fitting, so we had left the prosthesis with Blu and Wes, and we had instructed them on how to fit it if he ever came back. Apparently, he said he never heard his name announced over the radio to come back for fitting. He waited a whole year to get his leg...and this man was so excited to get a prosthesis and walk!
Chris and I were so excited Joel had come back...it bothered us so much that he wasn't able to get his leg last year. This is Chris and Joel praying together before fitting. We were both so emotional on this fitting.
Chris fitting Joel with the prosthesis made last year...it fit great! The man standing behind is Fence, who did translating for us.
Chris teaching Joel how to walk with the prosthesis. He had crutches but quickly put those aside, because he wanted to walk independently.
Joel on the motorbike as he's leaving...incredibly excited!
Another patient who came before the Macha group arrived was Killion. I made Killion's prosthesis last year. He is a below knee amputee due to a car accident, and he was a truck driver who was able to return to work after being fit with the prosthesis. He brought the prosthesis I made with him and was wearing one that he had gotten in the city of Ndola. His leg had atrophied so the prosthesis I made became ill fitting. He was able to purchase a new leg for 4,000 kwacha (about $550 USD). His leg had become more atrophied since being fit with the newer prosthesis, so I gave him a liner to take up the volume and adjusted the height of the prosthesis for him. He left the older prosthesis I made him last year so I could use the parts for other people.
Before the bus came with people from Macha, John also had people come straight to New Day. He had 3 patients to evaluate before everyone else arrived.
"Bus Number New Day" was full of people when they arrived! There were 8 people for Chris and I to see, plus some family members who came. John had 9 patients, plus family members of those patients. Chairs were set up outside The Ark for all of John's patients, and we set up chairs in the garage for the prosthetic patients.
The prosthetic "waiting area"
The eye "waiting area"
Chris and I casted 5 people for prostheses: Anold- was casted for his third prosthesis...Chris made him his first one in 2012 and since he's a child he needs a new one each year due to growth, Mooya- was casted for a different style of prosthesis since she has not been able to use the first prosthesis Chris made her in 2012 because of discomfort, Jimmy- needed a new leg since he broke the one he got in 2012 while riding a bicycle this past year, Rafael- was casted for a new prosthesis since he was unable to use the one Chris made in 2012 due to discomfort and falling, and Obote- was casted for an above knee prosthesis for the first time. We also saw Jessica for repairs to her leg made last year. Gladys, a woman with polio, came hoping for new crutches or a repair to her crutches. She didn't come expecting us to do something for her weak and smaller right leg due to polio...she just needed some forearm crutches that worked. Unfortunately we did not have a new pair of forearm crutches to give her, but I was able to repair both crutches so that they worked properly again. We also saw Mary, who is an older lady and not a candidate for a prosthesis, because she is not strong enough to stand and wouldn't have the strength and energy needed to walk with a prosthesis. There is a wheelchair on the shipping container that should be arriving at New Day soon that she can have. The woman who came with Mary had to pick her up to move her from the bus to the chair in the garage. The wheelchair will enable her to move around without someone needing to lift her. We got the contact information for Mary, so they can contact her once the container arrives at New Day.
Jessica and her husband. She was very pleased with the function of her prosthesis once the repairs were made.
The lady in the purple is interviewing Mooya. She came from the Macha radio station with the patients to interview different people during the evaluation processes. They will air the interviews and story about our mission trip on their radio station. The lady wanted to interview Chris but was disappointed Chris didn't speak Tonga. She ended up interviewing Blu instead.
Chris casting Jimmy.
Before picture of a boy John fit with an eye. John had made some eyes before the trip to bring with him that he could try and make minor adjustments to for fitting. This enabled him to fit more patients since he didn't have to take impressions and make custom eyes for all the people he saw.
This is Emmanuel, and he traveled with 2 other people on a motorbike about 100km to see John. He's completely blind, but John was able to fit him with a left eye.
This lady was too funny. I wasn't there for the fitting of her eye, but the story was great. She danced around after John fit her with the prosthetic eye. Blu then told her she could take the eye out to clean it. She said "No I'm not taking the eye out. The doctor put it in and I'm not taking it out. If I do, a chicken might eat and then I'd have to kill the chicken because it ate my eye." She was definitely excited about her eye and very entertaining.
After the the first group of people were taken back to Macha, they brought 2 more patients for John to see that were waiting at the radio station. Not everyone that comes to see John is able to be fit with a prosthetic eye, and some who come are confused about what John does exactly. Many people who come just can't see well and need glasses...John brought over 35 pairs of reading glasses and donated prescription glasses, and those were all fit by the end of the trip. Some people who come are completely blind and thinking John can give them sight...which is obviously a difficult and disappointing conversation for John and the person who came.
Later in the afternoon, Hacompwe (pronounced Ha-jomp-way) came for repair and check-up to his prosthesis. He's had his prosthesis since 2012. Last year, the knee had to be replaced because he had broken it playing soccer. This year, the foot was worn and replaced. He also got a new liner and socks.
After a very busy second work day, we had planned to go back to the garage for more work after dinner. But...the power went out during dinner, which we finished by candlelight and flashlight, and didn't come back on for 2 hours. So we got some much needed rest instead.
*Next post: Friday, May 15: Determination=riding a bicycle 5 hours to get a leg...