05 December 2005

Pakistan Day 10

We travelled some 3 hours to a village called Harori Bala by the Battal river. The terrain was challenging but cleverly maneuvred by our driver Sober.

The drive is always punctuated by torn houses and rubble that indicate what were once homes. I learnt that 50% of the homes have been destroyed completely - mostly mud huts - and the ones we see are the stone/brick ones that have survived. Only tents remain as protection against the winter. Temperatures are sub-zero here at night.

With a little more experience, we were faster in setting up. Quickly we set apart one tent for the women - seen by Ruth (a midwife from UK) and Faith (from Nigeria). I on the other hand saw all the men and some children at my 'clinic' - one table in the open air. Warmed by the noonday sun, the icy cold winds weren't that bad. As we worked, Wolf choppers would fly by ever so often, as eagles also circled above.

I saw some 66 patients while the other team saw 30+. OPD and Sarawak longhouse experience is proving useful here! This village seemed to have a little better standards of hygiene and sanitation. But as you can see from some of the photos - skin infections are bad. One infant I saw was bloated with worms, bleeding per rectally and eating soil.

After the long day's work, we were treated to some late lunch in a home that had a fireplace. We made good friends, gave thanks for our food and ate. Subsequently the men performed their Asar prayers just next to us.

Returning to Abottabad at about 8pm, we hastily headed for the local pharmacies to stock up for the next few days. I almost froze in the night chill.

To be honest, the first village trip was hard for me as I was very tired and nauseous from the journey. The second day was better since I ate less in the morning, slept on the way up, and spent much time meditating on the Scripture: 'Even though the mountains be removed and the hills be shaken, my covenant peace will no be removed and my unfailing love will not be shaken'. It was a promise both for the people who have literally seen mountains shake and hills stripped, as well as source of strength for me. Without the Lord's love, we have no love to give.

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