The final day of the Pacific Angel 2011 medical clinic in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, was a busy one. Crowds outside at 9:00 a.m. exceeded anything seen during the previous five days of operation, probably because Friday is the holy day in Islam and a common day off. Motorbikes jammed the side road to the clinic and people huddled in every pocket of shade, waiting in the hot day for their turn to go inside. Afternoon temperatures again soared above 100 degrees F as they had all week.
Determined to care for as many of the remaining patients as possible, The Pacific Angel medical team and volunteers extended hours and packed waiting rooms, managing to get 900 patients through the door and cared for.
Optometry saw the clinic’s final patients, outlasting dentistry by a few minutes when they finished pulling teeth and teaching oral hygiene well after the 4:00 p.m. closing time. In the six days that the clinic was operational, the two groups gave out 882 pairs of prescription glasses and pulled 325 teeth, proud totals for the exhausted Air Force personnel.
Project HOPE volunteers cared for another barrage of women and children, again transforming their wing of the clinic into one full of playing children and crying babies. They also shared their space on this final day with the Army’s Sight, Sound and Smile Team (3S) who had finished performing their surgeries at the main hospital in Pekanbaru. The 3S team spent the day examining ears and performing a few basic procedures such as suturing cuts and cleaning out a large abscess.
Grand totals for the Air Force’s joint Pacific Angel, Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team (HARRT) mission quantify the good feelings of camaraderie and a job-well-done amongst the personnel from Indonesia, the U.S., Singapore, Bangladesh and Timor-Leste. The clinic treated 3,956 patients in six days and passed out 7,046 prescriptions from the pharmacy. These totals show the group’s dedication to service and hopefully have lasting affects in the region.
Tomorrow morning, a wide variety of VIPs will attend a closing ceremony and afterwards take a full tour of the facilities. The clinic tents will then be disassembled and packed away for their flight back to Guam with all remaining medications and equipment donated to nearby organizations.
Denise Barnes will travel back to Jakarta where she currently lives while Noreen Prokuski and Susan Opas will catch long flights back to Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively. All three plan on joining future Project HOPE missions as soon as possible.
While the entire camp was ready to sleep in beds after ten nights on hard cots, few were ready for their time in Indonesia to be over.
“This is one of the hardest, but most rewarding, things that I’ve ever done,” mentioned Susan.
Project HOPE volunteers will again participate in a Pacific Angel mission later this month in Mongolia.
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