We were fortunate to have a nurse make one of the visits with us. Jeannie brought with her supplies of first aid – bandages, band aids, antiseptic lotions, surgical tape, and a host of other things – and together with husband, Warren, a pharmacist, spent almost all of two weeks attending to a range of cuts, infections and other ailments and injuries. In the process, Jeannie turned the Fieldworkers room into a clinic with a waiting area, bowls of diluted antiseptic and first-aid gear everywhere.
Katherine often acted as Jeannie’s assistant and made this comment: “Jeannie needed an assistant, someone to fetch and carry, someone to record and even someone to take photos. While I found it challenging to watch Jeanie cleaning their infected sores, I found it inspiring to watch the stoic faces of the children. Silent tears would stain their faces, but not a peep would come from them as Jeanie cleaned up their wounds. They would come for their foul tasting medicine, forcing it down despite the bitterness. Again and again they’d come to get their bandages changed and their wounds washed. This was where my heart was touched. It was here that I saw their curiosity, faces crowed at the door watching the nurse, blocking the light. Again and again we’d shoo them away, seeking privacy for the patients, and light to see what we were doing, but back they’d swarm, curious as if they’d never seen a wound dressed.”
Cutting and shampooing children’s hair to rid them of head lice
In addition to tending to the children’s many wounds and sores, Jeannie also handed out a number of glasses she had brought with her for adults. A number of the adults from nearby villages came and to do the simple eye test. The reward for weak eyesight was a pair of pre-loved glasses.
Jack receives his new reading glasses
Jeannie also made treks to the villages to visit those unable to get up to the school. The furthest was about 3 km down the ridge near the sea. Jeannie also made a number of referrals to Lenakel Hospital, and trucks were arranged and children transported there and back. A nurse had never before visited and spent a concerted period of time in the area and the villagers’ appreciation was palpable.