Posted By: Jon Brack on July 12, 2011

Labels: Indonesia , Volunteers

Over the course of five days, the Pacific Angel 2011 Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) clinic in Pekanbaru, Indonesia resembles a well-oiled machine, processing, evaluating and treating patients efficiently and effectively. 

Project HOPE volunteer and Midwife Denise Barnes saw a steady stream of pregnant patients for most of the day.  Many came with family members and children in tow, all interested in seeing the inside of the HARRT clinic. 

Most recently from Spokane, Washington, Barnes currently lives in Jakarta, Indonesia, with her husband who operates from there as a pilot.  Her previous experience with the John’s Hopkin’s JHPIEGO program in Banda Aceh has helped provide insight into medical situations in Indonesia and local language skills.  Her humanitarian medical experience also extends to time with Mercy Ships and Medical Teams International, MTI, in Asia and Africa.

Barnes has always been interested in traveling and finds that working with medical teams provides a good crossover beyond being just a tourist and actually giving something back to the people in places she visits. 

Convinced that she wanted to pursue interior decorating, Barnes didn’t think much of joining a friend her senior year of high school in a nursing mentorship program.  When she saw her first birth, though, she was hooked.  “All I ever wanted to do after that was deliver babies.”  From there she attended nursing school at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and spent a year in Wichita Falls, Texas, working near an Air Force base familiar to several Pacific Angel personnel on this mission.

In Pekanbaru, Barnes delights in working closely with her student Midwife translator and local Midwife assistant.  The ability to collaborate and not just teach information helps each member of her team fill in blanks in their knowledge and take something away from the experience.  Aulia, a second year Midwife student, has begun to take more of a lead in their diagnoses as the week progresses.  She also passes details to Barnes about everything from local medical care to common pregnancy wives-tales both real and fantastical. 

The day finished with another record breaking total: 814 patients.  Everyone is exhausted but exhilarated heading into the clinic’s final day.

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