Midnight of day one the volunteers arrive, concluding two straight days of travel by plane and by bus. The team is welcomed to Botosani by the sound of traditional Romanian music and the dance of a festive wedding. The bride’s mother approaches us and relays that the bride had actually been helped by the Medical Mission Foundation years before. This miraculous coincidence is a living symbol of the lasting impact 15 years of medical aid has had on this community.
After a short rest, the team shrugs off jet lag and the day begins with a flurry of activity. Just 9 hours after arriving, preparations are well underway. The team wastes no time and within two hours the clinic is providing aid. The volunteers arrive as old friends and strangers that mesh immediately with their Romanian counterparts. The team is exceptional at overcoming any language barriers and at a glance you may think they have worked their whole lives together. Smiles are abundant and the hospital is bustling.
Early in the day, a returning patient visits the clinic who has already had two surgeries from Medical Missions Foundation. 14 year old Marcella first met Dr. Gutek when she was one to fix a lip defect she was born with. Marcella is aspiring to be a chef and is already practicing baking cakes. When asked what she would like to say to the doctors on our team, she replies “I am grateful. Thanks to the doctors who have made my life better.”
The children’s clinic waiting room caters to a steady flow of families both new and old. Shy smiles come easily from the children with looks of curiosity. Vitamins by the suitcase are distributed to the families alongside check ups from the team. Small toys are passed to welcome arms, such as a boy of 11 named Beckham who was aptly given a soccer ball. The children go through general medicals by Dr Jim Hall and Karen Turner before being referred to surgery or sent home with goodies. The pharmacy, led by our pharmacist Lance Miller, is busy handing out eye glasses, pills, vitamins, toys and anything else available for our patients.
Simple procedures such as cleaning a patient’s ears take little time and drastically improve their quality of life. 20 minutes and a patient’s hearing is restored to clarity. The impacts from the volume of people helped in ways such as this ripple throughout the community with cascading effects. Improving such fundamental aspects of a person’s daily life trickle down to help in establishing a closer knit community. As people are more content and are able to see altruism present in their life, these values and emotions are spread to others. The mission is an investment in the well being of our friends in Romania that can only appreciate in degree and magnitude.
The amazing photos from the Romania Mission are provided by Vlad Catana. You can follow his work at www.facebook.com/VladCatanaPh
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