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Posted By: Jon Brack on June 30, 2011

Labels: Indonesia , Volunteers

The morning started busy and maintained that pace throughout the day for Project HOPE volunteers with Operation Pacific Angel in Pekanbaru, Indonesia.  An influx of babies and children had pediatrician Susan Opas bouncing from one curtained room to another diagnosing everything from a scabies rash to the cause of some moped-accident pain.  “After two days with only a few children, it’s great to have so many kids around," Opas syas. "I feel so useful!” 

Midwife Denise Barnes worked with a steady stream of pregnant women seeking advice and care.  She utilized all opportunities throughout day for training and talking the local midwifes through her thought processes. 

Noreen Prokuski spent most of her day working in pediatrics instead of in her usual midwife capacity because of the unusually high amount of young visitors.  Patients had a variety of issues, or sometimes nothing more than a curiosity to see inside the strange U.S. military clinic that magically appeared in a field near their home, but all received her complete attention and kind style. 

From Burr Ridge, west of Chicago, Illinois, Noreen has been a Certified Nurse-Midwife for 18 years.  When her first child was born using a midwife, “it seemed like the greatest job in the world and I wanted to do the same thing” even though she had no formal medical training at the time.  She’s never looked back and still gets a glow in her eyes when talking about babies, even after a long day of work. 

In the HARRT clinic today, Noreen saw a 40 year-old-patient who came in with some abdominal pain that seemed like acid reflux.  While investigating, she realized that this woman was little more than skin and bones, not something easy to observe through the long, flowing clothing and head coverings that Muslim women wear.  The woman revealed that she had lost 40 pounds in the previous year (around a third of her weight) for an unknown reason.  It was determined that this patient had intestinal parasites, or worms, a situation curable with a single, easy pill.  The simple solution brought Noreen nearly to tears. 

“We have so much, they have so little.”  She gets undeniable satisfaction from helping people and wants to make working with the less fortunate through organizations like Project HOPE a new focus in her life. 

Overall, the clinic saw 586 patients today, clearly the most successful day yet.  Cheers and applause from the entire staff greeted the announcement at the close-of-day meeting.

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