MCN Heathcare staff give back in a variety of ways during the year. One of our clinical staff recently travelled to Madagascar through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. This group sends short term medical teams into a variety of countries to provide much needed care to rural, under-served areas. Each team is made up of 14 members from all over the US; pastors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical and lay persons. We will be sharing her experiences with you over the next few weeks.
Zebu are water buffalo. They can be seen all over the area in rice paddies, outside homes, pulling carts or just being herded. We ate Zebu the other night and the meat is very tasty.
Travel in the city of Antsirabe is tricky. There are cars, bicycles, walkers, and the pousse pousse (rickshaw). The pousse pousse drivers have to learn about driving on the shared road before their license is issued. Many parents send their children to school in pousse pousse. The pousse pousse are all over the roads.
Mora mora (moora moora) means to slow down. One of the translators told me that mora mora is Malagasy time. If an appointment is for 0700, then the Malagasy will be there at 0730. No rushing here.
Aviavy is the fig tree. It is planted only at the House of Kings. There are not many figs available in the country, many other delectable fruits though. The place we were yesterday is known for the carrots that are produced. Today we went west and the area is well known for the fruit. We saw many mango trees.
The Malagasy people are a physically attractive race of people. They are a blend of Asian, African and European. Their hair is black and their eyes are dark brown. Their skin color ranges from light golden brown to a rich burnished bronze. Many of them have almond shaped eyes, a unique bone structure, broad noses, petite noses, etc. They are a joyful people, friendly and truly impoverished. AND, their names are musical.
The people we work with and interact with at the hospital are incredible. The drivers weave us in and out of traffic, around pot holes, on unpaved, rough roads, and continue to smile. Our translators are so much fun to be with. I have had three different translators for triage. They are so good that they anticipate the questions I am going to ask and begin before I say much more than “hello.” The men who prepare our food and serve us breakfast and supper are quiet, polite and gracious. Our hosts are Dr. Harison and Domoina; two very hardworking, dedicated, gracious people. They are strong in their faith and are making such a difference in so many lives.
Today we saw 650 patients in 5 ½ hours. The day was steady but not overwhelming. The location was an hour and a half away over dusty roads into the country. The majority of the patients do not wear shoes. The school uniform is pink. Dry, itchy skin, heartburn and headache were the chief complaints. We again saw some interesting cases; new onset Type 1 diabetes, abscessed tooth with pus pocket in the cheek, failure to thrive in a 5 month old at a weight of 4 pounds. Dental hygiene was taught today. Tooth care is not a priority.
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