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8/13/05 (Saturday)

Saturday was a long and tiring day.  We saw 30 people in the clinic and scheduled more surgeries.  Starting Monday, we have 6 major cases each day through Thursday, 4 on Friday so far and 3 minor cases on Saturday.  Our anesthesiologist wants to return to Quito Saturday afternoon so we will only work in the morning then.  That will allow us to hopefully have everyone home on Sunday so we can possibly return to Quito that day.  At least we will be able to return on Monday without much worry.  It will be a long week next week.

 

Last night when we went with Jane to take the Maria Luisa and Angelita to their homes in San Lorenzo, they asked Phyl if she was a model.  She is markedly thinner than these two ladies and most everyone we see in the clinic.  These ladies were convinced that Phyl is a model and since I have lost weight I could be a model too.  In fact, they felt both of us were really good looking! J  We have laughed several times thinking about Phyl’s secret career. 

 

Yesterday, at lunch the ladies from the clinic joined us.  Nancy, our cook, fixed some boiled chicken, rice and other things.  The food was good.  The chicken was rather small and Jane said this amount of food would feed an entire family here.  The idea of having more than one piece of chicken for a meal or having a half of a chicken broiled or fried for one person is unthinkable.  She said the people here will not throw away any morsel of food.  Well, when we had finished our pieces of chicken, Maria Luisa asked us all if she could have our chicken bones.  She then commenced to eating the bones!  This was after we had eaten the meat off the bones.  She sat there and chewed on the bones until they were reduced to little bits.  She would eat the bones and chew them to the point where she would spit out little chunks of bone but she got all the marrow.  By the time she was done, all the chicken bones were reduced to a small pile of crumbs.  She enjoyed them thoroughly and we just sat there and watched as we talked.  It was quite the performance, needless to say.  I don’t know if we will ever feel good about throwing out chicken bones again.

 

Phyl is having a real education on washing dishes in Ecuador.  You take dishes that are dirty and rinse them in this water you are not supposed to drink and then swirl some soap that you rub from a tub of hard soap onto the dish and the rinse it again and put it in the dish drainer to dry.  Of course, your are being entertained the whole time by millions of little tiny ants crawling all over the counter, sink and dishes.  I have noted some small ants floating in my juice at times.  I just try to swallow quick and not think about them.  The dishes sit and dry by an open window with road dust coming in all the time.  Phyl said tonight it will be a wonder we don’t get sick.  So far, I have not had trouble in the past but I really didn’t pay attention to the dishwashing routine.  Phyl has gotten much more intimate with this process and she is now convinced that we must be way too sensitive about germs in our house in the States.  Today, two big trays of eggs were brought in by the ladies who work in the clinic.  They have sat out all day in the warm room.  We wonder if they will spoil before being eaten or will we even know it when and if we do eat them! 

 

Life goes on here as hard as it is.  We had kids club today and there were between 50 and 75 children here for a couple hours singing songs and doing some drawings.  Phyl sat on the bench to watch the kids.  This lady Jane and I saw as a patient sat next to Phyl and kept talking to her all the time.  The lady talked in Spanish and Phyl just sat there and smiled and nodded at times.  She felt trapped and had to make like she was understanding what was being said.  Phyl took a few pictures of the kids.  They are full of life and are covered with dirt.  Many are barefoot and probably have no shoes at all.  Kids would lay on the ground and just roll around in the dirt.  They were cute.  Phyl enjoyed watching them. 

Kids Club

Kids Club

Kids Club

Kids Club

 

 

 

We saw one lady today who had some major facial defect at birth.  Her mouth was misshapen and her nose was apparently rebuilt from a skin graft that had been harvested from the forehead and swung down to make a nose.  She had a large diamond-shaped scar in the middle of her forehead.  Her eyes were widely spaced and protuberant.  Her face was very flat.  The skin graft must have extended beyond the hairline because the diamond scar went up into the hair area and she also had a tuft of hair growing out of her nose.  That must have been the upper point of the diamond that was swung down to become the lower point of the nose.  Her mouth showed evidence of a major cleft palate deformity with teeth going various directions on the upper part.  The lower jaw and teeth were okay.  She talked fine and did not sound nasal.  She carried a towel with her and covered her face when she talked to us because she was so self-conscious about her appearance.  She did lower the towel occasionally and talked without it but would drool and then she would wipe the drool with the towel.  I suspect she had a terrible cleft palate defect or possibly a cranial-facial stenosis that was repaired.  She was married and has one child.  She talked intelligently and discussed some gynecologic health issues with us.  I felt really sorry for her thinking about how hard life must be for her, living in the conditions we see around us and also dealing with a deformity that makes her stand out even more.  Yet, she has worth in the eyes of her husband and family and especially in the God’s eyes.  I had to keep reminding myself that God loves this lady as much as He loves you and me.  It was a humbling experience, not only thinking about this lady but also about the people who live here and have a faith so strong.  In spite of their living conditions, they express a joy and peace that is beyond words.

We hope everything back home and elsewhere with the family is going fine.  We are doing okay, enjoying the work, breathing the dust and eating the ants. 

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