Last week I was able to tour the off-ships program sites. There was a large group, 2 Land Rovers full, of us that went to the Eye Screening site, Dental Clinic, and the HOPE Center. There were so many people at the Eye Screening, it made me realize how precious sight really is. Right now Mercy Ships is only accepting people for surgery if they have double cataracts. It may seem cruel to deny people with only one good eye, but its better to help the totally blind to see. There are so many eye problems here and it is so hard to tell people that we cannot help. But we are limited in space and in the types of procedures that we can perform. It broke my heart to see one little baby, 9 months old, totally blind from dense cataracts in both eyes, and as skinny as a newborn.
|Patients waiting to be screened|
|The inside of the Church where the screening was held. To the far right is where they test the vision of the patients with the standard "E" charts. In the middle the local eye surgeon examines each patient to determine if surgery can be performed. To the left is where glasses are handed out to the few who desprately need it - and close by is the prayer support for the patients who are beyond our capacity to help.|
The Dental Clinic is in a 3 story building close to the beach road in the Goverment section of Lome. There are screenings Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the clinics are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 2nd floor holds the Dental clinic which has 6 patient chairs.
|Dental intruments that have been sterilized and are ready to be used|
The HOPE (Hospital OutPatient Extension) Center is fairly close to the port, about a 5-10 minute zimmi ride, and has bed space for 60 people. The children there are friendly and happy, even though they have obviously suffered so so much. Once we pull out our cameras, they want a "Yovo Foto! Yovo Foto!" Which basically translates to "I'll-take-your-camera-and-take-a-bajillion-photos-of-everyone-and-everything!" They were adorable. And yes, playing with them made me miss my siblings...