Saturday, November 29, 2014

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ― Booker T. Washington

The doctor that removed the malignancy from my jaw last Sunday came by yesterday to check on me.  He would have come earlier, but Shaban’s little boy had very bad malaria and the doctor had gone to Shaban’s to take care of him.  He told me the boy’s skin was as hot as an iron when he first touched it, but he would be fine now.  Yes, here in the third world, doctors make house calls.  He did my surgery in his small clinic office.  The office was about eight feet by twelve feet with four feet set aside with a portable bed behind a sheet to separate it from his desk.  The space was tight, with the nurse having to stand behind him in the office to hand him instruments and sutures and stuff.  There were no bright surgical lights, just the overhead light bulb.  I had no gown, just a tee shirt that was so soaked with blood at the end that it had to be thrown away.  He did a fantastic job under the circumstances although some of the doctors in the television series “M*A*S*H” had more room and better equipment.  He would like to have an operating room and has the space there in his little clinic but no money for a surgical table or good operating lights.  This is a man who has completed all his medical training, his surgery residency, and has performed countless highly successful operations in his clinic and at the local hospital, such as it is.  His wife is also a certified surgeon and does almost as many procedures and operations as he does.  She specializes in fistula which you will just have to Google as it is a little gross to describe but very, very necessary for women here.  They could make a lot more money and live a much more upscale lifestyle in Dar Es Salaam or Nairobi or just about any other country, but they have chosen to stay and work here in the backwater of Bunda.  They put all of their money back into their practice.  They own no car and Dr. Chris makes his rounds on a small motor bike.  Dr. Chris was pleased with the progress of my surgery and reassured me that he had gotten all of the cancer which was why the incision was so long.  I would post a picture, but my sister stops reading the blog if I do that until the image in her mind goes away (and that was with the bandage on).  We were able to spend some time just talking, and I asked him why he chose to work and struggle here in Bunda when life could be so much better for him elsewhere.  He didn’t say anything for a little while, then he smiled and asked me, “Why are you here in Bunda and not living a much better life in the United States?”  I told him that this was where God called us and that we were very happy here doing what we could to help.  He said the same was true of he and his wife.  He said he could not be really happy living a soft life somewhere else when his skills and his wife’s were so desperately needed here.  I told him he was an “mtu kweli” which means as good a man as a man can be.  He said in good old English slang, “It takes one to know one.”  We shook hands, and he left to go help someone else.  See the quote above, it is true for us.
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