Each trip has its own special things that happen, which I'm so excited to share with you in these posts. This year, including new patients and follow ups, we had 42 prosthetic patients, 24 ocular patients, 7 orthotic patients, 7 patients for physical therapy only, gave out countless eyeglasses and toothbrushes and worked to reflect the love of Christ in providing these services---all in just 14 working days.
Our trip began with leaving DFW airport on Friday, April 20th. We had 4 team members traveling from DFW: John (ocularist), Chris (prosthetist), Amanda (physical therapist) and myself, Katie (prosthetist/orthotist).
(L to R) John, Chris, Katie and Amanda
Introducing newcomer Amanda! She is a physical therapist who works in Denton, TX at a rehab hospital. Amanda and I get to work together with some patients, which is how I know her and she found out about Prosthetic Promises. I just loved being able to work with Amanda on this trip and get to develop our friendship more outside of our usual work setting!
As usual on our trips, we had a ton of bags to check for the flights so it takes a while at the check-in counter (about an hour). 17 trunks again this year, which thankfully all made it to Livingstone, Zambia without issue. One of the checked containers had our laminating resin, so we were so thrilled to see it made it through without issue. We've been trying to figure out the best option on getting laminating resin for the past few trips since it's a chemical and can't be shipped months ahead of time on the shipping container due to shelf life. We've shipped it ahead of time, which is terribly expensive, then ordered it from a supplier in Africa, which is difficult to ensure we get it in time. So, we found a non-hazmat resin which is allowed to be a checked item on flights...so excited about this...seriously, loads of stress relief to have a reliable resin option figured out. Praise God!
Our flights were from DFW to London (John, Amanda and I did a little sightseeing during our layover) to Johannesburg, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia...arriving in Zambia on Sunday. Protashow (our PPIHN team member in Zambia) picked us up from the Livingstone airport for a little over 3 hour bus ride to New Day Orphanage. New Day is where we stay each trip and is where our clinic is located. On the way to New Day, we stopped in Choma to pick up Carolin, who joined us for our trip. She is an Orthopedic Mechanic (in the U.S. the title is Technician) in Germany. She is also a volunteer and board member at an orphanage in Choma, which is about an hour from New Day. She had emailed us about joining the team since her trip to Zambia lined up with our trip. It was really awesome to be able to meet and work with Carolin! I found it cool to talk about differences between orthotics and prosthetics in Germany vs the U.S., and we reinforced the fact that the U.S. use of the standard system rather than metric is ridiculous. We had a bit of a battle between centimeters and inches for measurements throughout the trip. :)
We arrived at New Day before dark, so we were able to take our supplies in the trunks to the clinic and get settled in at the guesthouse. Work was planned to start right away on Monday with Chris and John going with Protashow to the Macha radio station to screen patients and bring them back to the clinic while Amanda, Carolin and I set up the clinic to get ready for evaluating and casting patients.
*Next post- Monday, April 23: Macha area patients