Today was the day the veterans were looking forward to the most. Over the years, Speroway has forged a special bond with the Remar Orphanage, and more specifically, the children who live there. In some cases, they were abandoned and in others, their parents were drug addicts, in jail or in gangs. Regardless of the reason, these children are their own family now. They are cared for, educated and loved. Today we brought our clinic right to the orphanage where we assessed and treated the kids first and then the hundreds of people from the surrounding community.
When we arrived, those who had been here before went hunting for any of the kids we got to know on previous visits. If you read the first blog post in this series, you will remember that Parmedic Glen Canavan had his heart stolen by 3 year-old Carmen back in 2010. This morning, Glen walked into the orphanage courtyard, turned the corner and, against all odds, she was there. It was clear that she remembered him and they had quite a reunion. It was a very special moment – I don’t think Glen has touched down since.
After hearing so much about this place and these kids, the newcomers to our team, didn’t miss a beat and drew as much from the experience as they possibly could. When they weren’t examining and treating the kids, RN, Lauren Hubley and Paramedic, Ron Sonoda were in the courtyard playing soccer with them. These two caring professionals are tailor-made for work like this and we’re thrilled to have them here with us.
Paul and Jane Fox, civilian volunteers have helped Rebecca turn the Distribution department into a well-oiled and very productive machine. Paul has gravitated to the crucial behind-the-scenes work managing inventory and organizing the “pick and pack” process while Jane’s on the front line charming the locals with her warmth and smile.
Dentist Donna Brode and her daughter Kristen DeMarco have jumped into the deep end playing a key role in Dental. Kristen, a Biochemistry grad is applying to medical school – just the kind of volunteer we love to have around. This twosome put their heads down and worked through patients one after another as if they’d been with us for years.
Steve Rider, another civilian volunteer, has, in just three days, perfected the challenging job of traffic management. Steve manages line-ups of hundreds of people desperate to be seen by our Medics. It’s one of our toughest jobs – far from glamourous with lots of stress. With the numbers we’ve seen thus far, this role is fundamental to success everyday. Steve’s caring approach to crowd control makes it a positive experience for all.
Heather Parr, a Pharmacist from Port Perry, has been a welcome addition to the Pharmacy team. She quietly goes about her work and has filled hundreds of prescriptions in the first three days alone. She’s also the daughter of veteran Speroway Pharmacist, Jim Lawrence and he clearly prepared her well for work in this kind of third world dispensary.
Team Leader Tony Brown recruited colleague Dr. Bob Allin for this trip and he’s fit right in as if he’d been on board for years. His experience and wisdom have been real assets – this doctor’s been around!
RN, Debra Dowson has been in great demand for her expertise in wound care and has been called upon several times by the others. In the first three days, she’s been initiated into the team by several rare and fascinating cases – but nothing phases Debra. Her spirit and sense of humour make her a perfect fit for this work and this group.
Bringing more hand-picked pros into the Speroway fold is an intentional growth strategy for Ken and Tony for whom fit is critical to the success of any clinic trip. Welcome aboard to all our newcomers. After just three days, you’ve helped make this a tight group and we’re really gaining momentum as we move towards our huge Saturday clinic in Somalia.
OK – enough with the words – let me leave you with something far more powerful – the faces of some of the children we saw today – we’ll never forget them. Tomorrow is our day off – and yes, we need it. I’ll post some more pics then to give you a better idea of how the first three clinics have gone. Until then.