The day starts early in this hospital like no other. When we arrive at 7 a.m., the families are lined up, waiting patiently. They’ve come from remote villages in the hopes of getting the necessary treatment their babies need to repair their damaged cleft palates and lips. Many families are also here for routine dental work, fillings and extractions, that are either not available, or out of reach for them financially.
There has never been a hospital quite like this. The plumbing is sporadic at best. There are few sheets and no towels. The equipment is on again/off again and requires a crack team of handymen to keeps things running. But the Lord is working mightily in the midst of the commotion! Slowly things get up and running. Surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses are in action. Dentists and their assistants are doing routine dental repairs. Support staff are washing and prepping babies for surgery and for post-op care. Film crews are filming, musicians are playing, and everyone is praying for the Lord’s healing and calming hand in this important work. Suddenly, miracles are happening. Lives and hearts are being changed, one by one!
As the day winds down, the waiting rooms start to slowly empty. Parents are hot and tired, but filled with hope. Some babies will stay overnight and be released later in the week. Families are sent home with supply bags of items we take for granted – a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a little toy, a hair band and comb, maybe some simple medicines like aspirin. They are so grateful for each precious item. Most of these families will be returning to homes with no running water, no refrigeration and perhaps a bare light bulb to light the night. But they are also leaving with a most precious gift. HOPE! Hope for the future of their child, which they did not have before they came to the clinic. Hope for a beautiful smile and a better life. The hope which the Lord promises to us all.
It’s late and the doctors are tired. They’ve been standing all day. Everyone is tired and sweaty. There is no air conditioning and only a very occasional fan. But as we clean up and head out, it is evident that each heart is filled. It’s been a good first day and we are all thankful to have been a part of it.
Pictures by Brad Peters