Nighttime at the guesthouse in Antsirabe brings many new noises to get used to. It is kind of like the first night you sleep in a new home and need to get accustomed to it all. The nighttime sky is full of stars, a nearly full moon, and many dogs barking. The morning sunrise brings roosters, chickens, and geese getting ready for the day. Our bunks provided a safe place to revitalize, and the morning brought a breakfast treat of fresh French pastries. We then joined the Lutheran Hospital for morning devotions. The staff and visitors participate in this morning worship that is broadcast through a speaker system into the patient rooms so all can begin the day in song, prayer, and praise.
Hospital workers beginning the day with worship
Today began our service through a Mercy Medical Team clinic. Our team consists of five members from the United States, a team of two missionaries from Kenya, and then a group of Malagasy who work alongside us. For this round of Mercy Medical Team clinics in Madagascar all of the site locations are brand new. The Malagasy Lutheran Church is very excited about the MMTs and wants to begin expanding them into new towns to bring the medical care and the outreach for the church body. The bishop chose five new locations for our service this week. Today we traveled to the town of Toavala and set up our clinic in the Lutheran church there. The pastor, deacons, and shepherds of the church were awaiting our arrival and had the church building all set up. This church is quite large and hosts a congregation of 500 members.
The day began with introductions and morning worship of prayer and singing with the waiting crowd of patients. The MMT clinic then began in full force. Pastor Tantely from Madagascar completed registration of the patients, obtained their weights, and provided them with medication to treat worms. Three Malagasy nurses completed intake where they obtained blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature for each patient. The patients then moved over to triage where the two American nurses, LaDonna and Kimberly, asked the patients their chief complaints. Malagasy interpreters made triage possible. Two Malagasy doctors, including our host Dr. Harison, then assessed the patients and prescribed applicable medications. The patients then moved to the pharmacy to receive prescription medications purchased with trip fees and/or over the counter medications that were donated by generous congregations, families, and friends. The pharmacy is a bustling place and was well organized and run by Domoina, Michelle, and Lorrie. Pastor Matt, Pastor Jeff, and Lisa diligently counted and bagged medications. Health education is always an opportunity, and Lisa was able to share with the children how to brush their teeth and the importance of this hygiene practice. Pastor Matt was able to enjoy some time with the children and teach them how to throw an American football.