Friday, August 17, 2012

Preparing for Screening in Guinea

Our home is currently moving.  We are sailing across the North Atlantic - currently off the west coast of Western Sahara.  We will arrive in Conakry, Guinea sometime next week. 

We have already started running, but once we hit the ground, our running picks up the pace.  We are preparing for our main screening day.

Mercy Ships has not been to Guinea since 1999 so we will be working with a lot of new connections, new places, and new crew members.  Also, since we haven't been in the country for 13 years, we anticipate that there will be a huge amount of need - creating larger than normal crowds.

This year we won't be using a stadium for our screening, but rather the People's Palace (Palais du peuple).  This is a "large, Chinese-built auditorium that is home to two national ballet troupes."
This three-story building should be a great resource for us on screening day. We are arriving at the end of rainy season (an average of 44 inches over 27 days of rain in August, and dropping to 25 inches over 22 days of rain in September).  So, there is a good chance that rain will be falling outside.  Being able to bring the potential patients inside and having all the stations out of the rain (or intense sun) will be helpful.

Will you join us in praying over these next two weeks as we plan, prepare and train all those that will be involved? 

The entire crew plays a part in screening.  We need:
*drivers that will transport workers to and from the screening site,
*trained medical staff to take histories, do evaluations, draw lab work, and make the hard calls of who we will be able to assist,
*administrative folks (like myself) that will enter all the data onto each patient's card and our database,
*schedulers to methodically fill our OR calendars for the next ten months,
*pharmacists to give pre-op medications and vitamins,
*palliative care team to talk with patients who have incurable and untreatable conditions,
*prayer teams to comfort, console or rejoice with patients or family members,
*enthusiastic crew members to entertain the children waiting for hours in line,
*people willing to help with logistics to handle the water, snacks, lunch, toilet paper, trash bag, light bulbs and other necessities,
*our photographers to collect pre-op photos for each patient scheduled,
*public relations representatives to field any questions or make statements for the media or any government officials that show up,
*security guards to manage the crowd and keep everyone calm and orderly in the midst of desperation,
*and the list goes on.

But most importantly we need the patients. 

We anticipate long hours. Sore feet.  Blisters. Sweat.  Glitches in the best laid plans.  Long lines. 

But we also look forward with positive anticipation to bring a little bit of oxygen for that spark of hope that thousands have been carrying around with them.  A spark of hope that tells them, "one day, you might get medical help."  "Maybe there will be a way for you to receive treatment, despite the lack of resources." 

Thank you, Jesus, that you provide us that hope each day.  And thank you that we get to share that hope in a physical, tangible way to the thousands we will see.

Please pray with us that hope would be kindled at screening day. 

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