Towards the end of the AMAD project, we organized a skills acquisition program for the people of the village (but of course, only the women showed up). The program was intended to help the villagers see a whole new entrepreneurial world outside Garri making and selling sweets.
In the village where I worked, we were only able to teach eggrolls and soap making because the women arrived really late. In the other village though, they were able to learn tie-dye in addition.
I MUST commend the humility of these women (especially for the soap-making). It’s not exactly easy to learn and subject yourself to lessons from a way younger generation. That was a lesson for me.
And we ate out of the eggrolls after!
At the medical outreach, I initially worked at the registration desk but later on moved to consultancy, as there was need for interpretation between the doctor and villager-patients.
This was my best part of the AMAD project. Not because I had any sort of fun or because I worked my hardest but because I actually felt the importance of what we were doing.
You know how most times, you teach someone something, you give an advice, you pray, you give gifts, you advocate on behalf of someone and so on, and after you do all that you may only feel or believe or hope that you actually were of help to the person? Well, that’s not how this one was.
I must say; I envy doctors. At the medical outreach, I witnessed the beauty (and maybe burden) derived from listening to one person pour out his worries, pains, physical (and maybe emotional) feelings in hope and anticipation that the other person has some sort of cure or advice to cure. With every word, every gesticulation, every exaggeration, every look of fear, it almost felt like the patient literally lifted his burden and placed it on the doctor and I to find a cure. It was an amazingly rare experience.
At the medical outreach, I understood why God is called the Great Physician. I understood this because the doctor I was assisting could only be a physician to her patients. She could listen to them, ask questions, counsel them and even prescribe drugs to them but she couldn’t heal them.
At the medical outreach, I realized that I knew nothing about suffering and pain. There are so many people with different types of ailments existing in this world. But everyday, I easily wake up and freely move. It only increased the gratitude in my heart.
One part of the medical outreach that really got to me was when I had to witness the doctor tell a woman with cancer (who had carried out 5 different operations) that there was really nothing she could do about the pains she was having. And that in fact, the pains in the different parts of her body indicate that the cancer has gotten to those parts. And that she must know that death is very much at hand. She must hold on fast to God and pray to Him to take her to heaven upon death. And that she must be encouraged by the perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ, who carried His cross till his death and who upon his death, He was raised to heaven… you know; talk like that. Talk like that is really emotional. I had to watch her try not to cry as she fiddled with her rosary and nodded to the instructions to prepare her for her death. It felt like I watched a woman plan her own funeral without knowing the date. I had tears in my eyes and my throat was really heavy (and that’s rare for me).
All in all, the outreach was wonderfully wonderful. Common complaints/ailments were back pain, leg pain, malaria, high blood pressure, body pain, fever… Reference letters had to be written, threats had to be made, pieces of advice had to be given, drugs were prescribed and I learnt a lot. There was even a medical talk (like a mini-seminar) before consultation started.
In my next life, I would definitely try science class and study medicine.