MLMT 2014 VISIT
In fact, our mission was held in Kwara State the State of Peace, in the capital city of Ilorin. This is also where we held our first mission seven years ago at the same hospital. We were flown from Lagos to Ilorin to prevent our travel on the very crowded roads and highways through Lagos and from Lagos to Ibadin. It is only a 35 minute flight. More about that later.
There were only 15 of us on the teams. Moses Lake Medical Team went to assist a group called KSANG (KWARA STATE ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, NORTH AMERICA) who found that we had a lot of experience with high volume, quality medical missions. There were 9 of us from MLMT and we provided much of the medication as well as the expertise. We utilized quite a few Nigerian staff. In the eight days of clinic we saw close to 4,000. We didn’t have dental or vision people along. We had one surgeon so most of our work was medical in nature. We treated a lot of people for chronic pain, hypertension and malaria. It was the beginning of rainy season and the rains did come! A thunderstorm can dump 1 to 2 inches of rain in a few minutes!
I managed the pharmacy. I was able to set up a supply room where we kept our stock bottles, the rest of our medical supplies and counted out bags of pills. I have a little portable printer that works wonderfully so we can continue to print labels with the name of the drug and instructions for each little plastic bag of medication. Then we take these to the distribution room where pharmacists take the order sheets from the physicians in the clinic, fill the prescriptions and instruct the patients. It is quite an operation, seeing nearly 500 people a day, many who have orders for three or four medications. I had two wonderful young women, recent graduates in pharmacy assisting with counting as well as helping fill prescriptions and instructing patients. We enjoyed working together and they enjoyed Lateef’s knowledge of how different medications functioned in the body.
Jamie Eddie was clinic registrar. Wow, what a job! People crowded out each other, soon found ways to duplicate medical forms which weren’t numbered, etc. Lateef is the one of the organizers of MLMT and is group’s president. He is a local beloved pharmacist here in Moses Lake. He’s such a great person with whom to work and does a great job for our team. We had his son Michael on the team who just graduated from Eastern Washington University. It was his first trip to Nigeria. Lateef took him to Ogbomosho to meet his 96 year old grandfather. He was deeply touched by this opportunity. We also had Jamie’s grandson Matt on the team. Matt is a bright 16 year old who soon learned the lab procedures and was a great asset to our team. He and Dr. Rolfs, our surgeon, had a great fun matching wits. Dr. Rolfs is a puzzle maker and travels the world in puzzle competitions. Matt and Michael really enjoyed trying to figure out the puzzles.
By Saturday our team was exhausted so chose not to hold clinic. We took a bus trip to a nearby town to see the Nigerian National Museum. It was the first I’d seen of artifacts of the country. Most of these had been removed by the British and taken to England. They have now been returned and placed in this museum. It was great to see the history of the people of Nigerian preserved and information about their tribal groups and culture. On Sunday we traveled to Ogbomosho to a church were a cousin of Lateef’s is one of the pastors. Some of the team worshipped there two years ago. They have a great children’s ministry and about 45 children shared their Bible verses from memory. We didn’t stay for the whole service of 3 to 5 hours!
On the final Thursday evening we were honored with a State Dinner. I was named Honorary “Mama of Kwara State”. So you all can now call me “Mama Kwara”. 🙂
Our trip home had its’ hiccups. We were scheduled to fly from Ilorin at 5:00 PM. They weighed our baggage and said we owned another $480 for excess weight! By that time our team was pretty much out of money but we finally collected enough. The plane arrived after 6:00. Then they were overbooked and bumped Lateef and Wole off! (Our two leaders.) Then the plane had to land in Ibadin before flying on to Lagos! We had to transfer to a different airport and we had no money left. Lateef called a sister in Lagos to meet us and she arranged for a bus and taxi to move us to the international airport. It was 8:15 but United had closed its gate at 7:10 for a 9:45 flight! There was no convincing them to let us go on that flight! Thankfully their office was still open and with the excellent negotiating skills of Michael they didn’t charge us the $300 a ticket for changing our tickets to the next day and they were able to book us all, all the way through to our destinations. Overland Air had provided Lateef and Wole with a car and driver and they were at the airport by about 10:00 PM. It had looked like we would be there for the night but an official from Kwara State called and paid for each of us to have a hotel room until we needed to go to the airport on Saturday. We all were so grateful. Lagos International isn’t a place to spend a night and day with no food!
Our flight back to Houston was quite uneventful. But for those of flying through Denver it truly got dicey (icy). Lateef and my plane to Pasco had the most difficult time as it had mechanical problems as well as the fact it took 1.5 hours to get deiced. By then we’d run low enough on fuel that we had to go back to the gate and refuel! We got to Pasco at 5:30 instead of 12:30 PM. Jim waited out the afternoon for me.
It was great to get home and was greeted by beautiful roses from Delicia and a lovely bouquet from Jim. The weather was lovely and will be all week. It is nice to be home.