Monday, November 24, 2008

Project HOPE Volunteers Finish Rotation in Guyana

I’ve been without a reliable connection to the Internet for a few days, so I apologize for the delayed update.

I wanted to give a final recap on HOPE activity in Guyana. While in Guyana’s interior, Project HOPE and the Continuing Promise personnel saw over 4,000 patients at three different clinics across the country. Optometrists handed out glasses, dentists cleaned teeth and medical professionals supplied medication to those in need. And there is a lot of need.

I also visited Georgetown Hospital to learn more about the surgery team’s activities, something I hadn’t had the opportunity to do while living on the Kearsarge. The HOPE volunteers had been training nurses and midwives while a urology team performed approximately six surgeries a day for the past two weeks. When I finally saw them in action on their last day in the operation room they were joking with each other and, literally, operating like clockwork. They understood each other and had a system worked out to make sure their patients were not under any longer than they needed to be. Their time together had formed a cohesive unit that was functioning at maximum efficiency. This group of volunteers came together from Alabama, Virginia, California and New Jersey to help the Guyanese people. It’s great to see a group of strangers from across the USA working together to help the rest of the world.

The visit to Georgetown Hospital also brought home closer to me. In a strange coincidence, the hospital’s scrubs were stamped with “Kettering Medical Center” – the hospital in my hometown of Kettering, Ohio. I’m guessing the scrubs were donated to a philanthropic organization, and by some twist of fate ended up in the cross-equatorial hospital I happened to visit while in Guyana. One of the nurses told me it was a sign that I should visit, so I’ll see you all for Thanksgiving.

The day after my visit to the OR, I stopped by the hospital ward to make rounds with Rob, HOPE’s urologist on this mission. The ward would best be described as a giant open room with wooden floors and rows of beds. While there I asked Anne, a pediatrician that had spent time in other developing nations, how this hospital compared. She said it was about the same and that hospitals like this were a glimpse into the past. It looked like something straight out of period piece set in a British colony. Despite its dingy look, those admitted were up and in good spirits. Some of the patients that underwent prostate surgery were without a catheter for the first time in three years. I can’t imagine the relief those people must feel.

And we were relieved that everything went well. With a day left for tourist activity, some of the HOPE team went out to Kaieteur Falls – an amazing site to behold. Over a celebratory dinner, I had a chance to see the joy on the faces of the medical team and hear the highlights of their trip. Everyone was happy to lend their services and was looking for future volunteer work.

For me, I was happy to visit another part of the world and use my professional skills to help others – something public relations representatives do not usually get to do. I enjoy photography and Project HOPE gave me the opportunity to make good use of my hobby. I would also like to thank the Navy personnel that helped shuttle me around Guyana, in particular Mass Communication Specialist 1 Crawford of the Public Affairs Office. I hope I wasn’t too big a pain in the neck.

I’ll read your comments when I get back and hope you’ll continue to follow the HOPE blog. You never know when I’ll have more entries.

Photos and Blog Entry by John Bobosh

No comments:

Post a Comment