Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Húê February 19, 2011

We, again, rose early for Mass. I can understand that a convent might have Mass before 6am, but that is true of every parish.

Today the Sisters Adorers of the Holy Cross of Húê (pronounced: hWAY) were offering a free clinic at their motherhouse. The timing worked perfectly for us to distribute our gifts from SARA to those who were coming for the free clinic. But then, the free clinic, in part, was also a gift from SARA because some of the medical equipment used at the sisters’ small medical facility was provided by SARA. For example, we were shown a new urine analysis machine and a blood testing machine that analyzes for everything from uric acid to cholesterol. The sisters offer these clinics in outlying areas as well.

The number of volunteers was impressive: doctors, nurses and medical students, not to mention the sisters, some of whom are nurses, medical technicians, or doctors. They do this on a monthly basis and have some volunteers who are there every time. One cardiologist had been helping for many years.

We gave out the gifts we brought from SARA to those who had been designated by the sisters, based on family need. Then, after receiving our gift, people were moved a few feet away to a makeshift waiting area in the courtyard, or on the porch. Names were called and somehow it was all organized. All I know is I saw sisters everywhere, calling names, moving chairs, directing people, directing me. They made everything work efficiently.

Most importantly, children and the elderly received basic medical treatment that they would not have been able to procure in any other way. The Sisters – in allegiance with SARA and all the volunteers – were providing what should be a basic human right. Those who received these services seemed quite grateful.

After lunch that involved speeches of gratitude for SARA, a taxi arrived to take Fr. Bình, Huong, Sr. May, and myself to Da Nang (which is Fr. Bình’s hometown) for a weekend of R&R. We bid farewell to Kim Dung and Nguyệt Le. It has been an amazing few days. I don’t think we will see each other in Vietnam again on this trip, but I hope to see them in Portland some day.

Fr. Bình with a group of people who came for the free clinic at the motherhouse of the Sisters Adorers of the Holy Cross of Húê. We distributed our gifts from SARA as the first order of business when people arrived.

Many brought their children with disabilities or other ailments.

Sr. May presents a gift to a boy who was present for the free clinic.

The elderly woman, and many like her, found it very beneficial to receive the blanket, rice, oil and candy SARA distributed as well as a free medical check up. All in one day!

Nothing makes Kim Dung happier than the sight of people who are in great need being served. She is delighted that the medical equipment donated by SARA is being put to good use at the sisters’ free clinic.

The table is still full of SARA gifts. Those who already received those gifts now sit in the waiting area for their medical appointment.

Fr. Bình "works the crowd" who are waiting for their appointment. Each room on the left, off the porch, is busy with aspects of the free clinic. A sister calls out names for who is next.

Many of the sisters are nurses and some are doctors who assist at the clinic.

Parents are comforted to know that their children’s health can receive professional attention.

A volunteer physician (in suit jacket) who got his medical degree in Germany has taught all the volunteers how to operate the equipment. The three young adult volunteers standing are medical students. The far end of the table holds a urine analysis machine. The larger machine in the foreground analyzes blood samples.

After a check up, complete with labs, the patients can attain the pharmaceuticals they need from these sisters who are trained to distribute the meds (with a smile).

The sisters also operate a day care. For families in great need, the care is provided for free. When I ask questions like, "How is all this funded?", the answer is always the same: "God provides."

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