Our last day in China was super busy. People had heard we were here and wanted to see us before we left. Dr. Lin evaluated lots of children and some of those were cases that had a tough prognosis to give. We spent a lot of time with each child demonstrating treatment activities for the staff and educating parents on strategies for home. The parents have been so receptive to our recommendations and it was great to have them there to share moments of success their children have accomplished this week. The staff has worked so hard this week to collaborate with us, parents, and the children to serve their needs, and they have all shown great patience which we have really appreciated (especially in our moments of jet lag!). We ended the day at the clinic with a group debriefing with Dr. Lin and the staff to discuss the week and goals for the next visit. It was exciting to hear everyone's thoughts on how the week went as well as ideas for next time. We know that great things are happening now and that the clinic will continue to grow and change each time we visit. We wrapped up the meeting with a selfie photo shoot and said our goodbyes to our new Changsha family who we can't wait to see again!
"You will never be completely home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place."
We began our day at Dr. Lin's clinic. We were greeted by a mom of a little one who has been receiving services for 3 months. He is making great gains. She was elated today because he is using more spontaneous speech and doing new things each day this week. She had lots of tears and hugs for us. She thanked us and the previous teams for coming to China and helping her son. It seemed like it was going to be a quiet day, then all of a sudden we were swamped with children to treat and assess. We were blessed to meet a little boy whose family drove 1.5 hours to be assessed by Dr Lin and the rest of the team. He needs all therapies and further neurological testing to determine how to best serve his needs and medical issues.
Dr Lin's mother treated us to a wonderful (our favorite meal so fair) lunch. She thanked us for our collaboration with her son, Dr Lin and willingness to come to China to help train the staff and assess / treat the children. She said she is grateful for the opportunity to assist the local orphanage. She told us we are welcome in China anytime.
We spent the afternoon at the orphanage. We were presented with cases to discuss with the staff. We each gave recommendations and hands on demonstratoins on how to treat the children. It was nice to have Dr. Lin present to address medical needs / concerns. The staff at the orphanage was very attentive and showed eagerness to follow through!
We had a delicious dinner in the countryside on the way back to the city. When we get home in the evenings, we make develop treatment plans for each child. Tonight we reviewed each plan and discussed what we will need to do at the clinic tomorrow since it will be our last day there.
We are blessed to have crossed paths with Dr Lin, have the opportunity to serve the clinic and orphanage and make friendships that will last a lifetime!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean on him not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
We spent our day in Dr. Lin's clinic. We were able to see some returning patients and evaluate some new children for the program. Dr. Lin assessed some babies, one was only 17 days old. We were able to assess a 1 year, 2 month old little girl with signficant global delays. We were able to begin making recommendations for her intervention. She needs so much so it will take good communication over time to provide for her needs. We requested that she come back to the clinic tomorrow and Friday so we can get a detailed plan together and begin intervention. We will need to send supplies with the TEAM coming next month. It was fun to treat some of the returning patients, a few of the children have been seen by our TEAM 3 times since we have arrived. Dr. Lin treated us to Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and shopping this evening! Our new friend Dr Dee (deethebomb.com) joined us for a fun, westernized evening! A little Arkansas in Changsha tonight!
We spent the morning at Dr. Lin's clinic doing assessments on several children along with education of parents and grandparents. It was so wonderful to have the parents and grandparents attend therapy sessions and want to learn how to help their child. Bridget has continued to educate on assessing and planning therapy activities. Bridget's sweet and calm spirit has been wonderful for our friends here in China. Carol observed the intake nurse complete an assessment and gave suggestions on functional activities to help with development. Cindy assessed two children and made recommendations on therapy. She also had the chance to talk with the therapists about some tools to add to their therapy toolbox.
We then spent time preparing for our presentations that afternoon at the orphanage. Once at the orphanage we took a tour, and gave presentations. We had caregivers, administrators, and physicians present for the presentations. We found out that many of the workers grew up there and are now helping raise the next generation of children. We were able to present the orphange with some toys and they provided a nice dinner for us.
Dr. Lin assessed several babies in the clinic and then was an amazing help during our presentations that afternoon at the orphanage. He is the best interpreter and so passionate about sharing with others working with children.
Sunday was a day of reflection and final preparations. We organized materials to give to the second clinic and labeled orthotics for children we had measured previously in the week. Mike finished setting up a wheelchair that the clinic will use as needed. We also took time to reflect on our trip and make plans for next year. Sunday night the community of Gatagara held us a farewell dinner, where we received gifts, delivered a thank you speech, and participated in dinner and traditional African dancing. Videos will not be on the blog...
Monday we met with the director, head physical therapist, head surgeon, and school director to conclude our trip and discuss "the beginning of our journey and partnership" for the future years. We were impressed by their initiation of this meeting and eagerness to receive training and to be challenged in the future. After the conclusion of the meeting, we were given a tour of the surgery and radiology center. The remainder of the day was spent in the physical therapy clinic where we were able to demonstrate PT/OT co-treating, equipment adjustment, and strength training. The children tolerated handling and facilitation techniques well and were very motivated to self initiate activities. After skills and techniques were demonstrated, staff members were eager to participate in our previously demonstrated activities. Mike was able to give a new seat cushion to a boy with spinal cord injury who was having regular pressure sores. We also educated staff and patient on the importance of pressure relief and regular urine checks.
At the conclusion of our trip at Gatagara we are all excited to see where God will continue to lead us in Rwanda! Overflowing with thankfulness for the gracious hospitality we received and the energy the staff of Gatagara expressed toward our future. Prayers for safe travel and continued communication with Gatagara.
We had a great day, seeing 20 kids at Dr. Lin's clinic. Carol was able to observe Dr. Lin complete an assessment on a four month old baby, he was great with the baby and the parents. Carol was also able to train staff on administering the Early Learning Assessment Profile. Briget and Cindy worked with staff on therapy activities and assessments. We love the staff, they have been very welcoming and are passionate and eager to learn.
We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and lunch provided by the hospital and dinner provided by Dr. Lin and gelato. He was also kind enough to drive us around for a nap (like you do for babies he said) because jet lag has hit us hard! We will blog more tomorrow!
Thanks for the prayers!