The morning routine here in Madagascar starts the day off quite well. Today following breakfast and devotions we departed earlier as we traveled 1.5 hours west to the town of Ankazo. The drive again provided magnificent views of the Madagascar landscape. As we left Antsirabe we drove into agricultural land where it seems the Malagasy farm every available piece of land, including the very tops of the hillsides. The farming is done by hand or with zebu and plow for the most part. As we ventured farther west we began to notice a drier climate, and the temperature quickly warmed up. We left rain clouds and cooler temperatures for blue skies and bright sun.
Upon our arrival we greeted the pastors, members of the congregation, and shared songs, gospel reading, the Apostle's Creed, and the Lord's Prayer with the people waiting before we began. It was really neat to see the people pull out their Bibles and follow along with the gospel reading. There was a loud speaker system set up outside today where the church played Christian music all day. This provided some entertainment for our team, but it was also neat to watch the Malagasy sing and dance along. The immense faith of these people shows true passion.
Our clinic today was set up in the Lutheran school on the same campus as the church. Three rooms were utilized for registration and intake (vital signs), nurse triage and doctor assessment, and the pharmacy. As we began we quickly were reminded that organized lines are challenging at times here in Africa. After many room layout rearrangements and explanations to the Malagasy church members assisting, we eventually came up with a functioning flow of people in the room with the nurses and doctors. And through all of the trial and error, the Malagasy were patient, kind, and understanding.
For the day we were able to see 423 patients and help provide them with needed care. Common diagnoses today included high blood pressure, seizures, and body wounds. A couple interesting cases included surgery referrals for a ruptured Achilles' tendon and a goiter. Our team confirmed a couple pregnancies for two women who were hoping for different results. Counseling and prayer was offered to them as well. The pharmacy has come up with a new flow system that has increased efficiency immensely. Lisa was able to complete her health education again with the children and provided valuable information on handwashing and teeth brushing. Pastor Matt was able to spend some time with the children playing football and basketball. Additionally he enjoyed time with the children in an empty classroom where they worked on learning numbers, the alphabet, and John 3:16.