Two Project HOPE volunteers, Dr. Lynn Bemiller, and Bridget Binko helped with the preparations for work on the ground in Timor-Leste.
Dr. Bemiller traveled to a remote site, Zumalai. "It was quite an adventure,” Dr. Bemiller says. “We flew to the medical site in the small village on an Australian helicopter. The kids of the village gathered to watch the helicopters as they landed with the medical staff on board. We were able to treat a lot of patients.”
One of the more common diseases that Dr. Bemiller treated in the village was a variation of the flu. She also treated an older woman who had a problem with her eye, which kept falling out of its socket. With the medical expertise represented in the Pacific Partnership 2011medical team, they were able to take care of the woman’s problem.
Bridget Binko traveled to Dili to help set up the main medical site where the team will work in Timor-Leste. She is serving as the head nurse at the main site.
"The set-up went really well. We had an excellent team. We laid out the plans for the site, set up the fencing, and we will be ready to go when we open on Sunday," says Binko. "I am excited about being the lead, it is a great opportunity, we have a great team of nurses, and it is going to be fun."
In addition to beginning medical care, many of the volunteers and medical team onboard participated in a Marathon in Timor-Leste.
"It was spectacular out there, it felt good, came together and ran together," says volunteer Andrew Siler, a Pharmacy student from Shenandoah University, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy. “Volunteers from the NGO's and military ran side by side with the local people to show unity and support for one another.”
"It was a very good time, tons of kids, everyone came out from their homes and lined the roads and cheered us on as we went by,” adds volunteer Andrea Tanzella, another Pharmacy student from Shenandoah University. “It was nice to see the kids waving at us, and wanting to get photos with us."
As the race progressed, several HOPE volunteers staffed the medical tents at the start/finish line of the race. "We helped out about six people, hooked them up to an IV fluids for heat exhaustion," says Binko.
Volunteer Christina Grass, an Intensive Care Unit nurse in Big Pine Key, Florida used her position at the medical tent to form some bonds with the children watching the race. "We had them fill up balloons that they used to clap with when the runners came by. It was really fun getting the children engaged."
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