“Thank you… I am grateful… I am excited… God sent… Fulfilling”…These words and phrases characterized the summary statements for most people involved with the medical mission 2019. The medical mission gave free hips and knee replacement surgeries to thirty-one individuals.
Twenty-one medical workers from the United States touched down at the Asaba Airport on Saturday 16th November. They were tired howbeit excited about their adventure, one that was sure to leave a lot of persons in awe. These men and women gave six days of their lives to giving people new hips and knees. They were spent on this venture, yet thrilled and grateful for the experience.
Thirty-one patients, all Nigerians, got all-expense-paid knee or hip replacement surgeries courtesy of GEANCO Medical Mission Nigeria. Each of them had a unique story and challenge, which eventually culminated into resounding and unique gratitude to the GEANCO team.
Life International Hospital provided a workspace for a team of ten international medical professionals and ten other local volunteers. The privately-owned hospital provided a clean and entirely conducive environment for these intricate procedures done in six days. The management team ensured that despite Nigeria’s electricity challenge, the team had a 24-7 power supply to perform their tasks. More so, the Hospital staffs were warm and welcoming.
The medical mission team members communicated the fulfilment they got helping the patients to walk again. In the words of Kesha King, one of the team’s physiotherapists, ‘every single day was amazing. As Dr Nicholas Colacchio, one of the team’s surgeons, said, ‘it is a beautiful thing’. Members of the team expressed their desire to repeat the mission as the opportunity provides.
“Every single day that I’ve walked in a patient’s room to get them out of bed, to teach them how to use clutches, to have someone walk for the first time in their lives is amazing. To have someone literally burst into tears and have their family breakdown in tears of gratitude because of the sight that can pass for a miracle is amazing. I had an opportunity to do this over and over and over and over again this week.”
Kesha King , Physiotherapist
“One of the best part of the week has been getting to meet all the local folks here in the hospital and in the community, getting to work with the local surgeons and surgical technicians and nurses. Our team from the United States is working hand in hand with the local Nigerian team here . It is fun to learn from each other, teach each other and work together to help the people here. It is really wonderful. It is a beautiful thing.”
Dr. Nicholas Colacchio, Orthopedic surgeon.
Beneficiaries were visibly excited about their new life. In the words of Juliet a lady in her late twenties, “I am so grateful to GEANCO even though I initially doubted it was going to be a reality.” She ended with a prayer where she asked God to provide for all the needs of GEANCO.
In a separate interview, Constance Ojo, another lady who had her hip replaced re-echoed Juliet’s prayer. “I pray the Almighty God will grant their heart desires and protect their families”, she prayed. She adds that she was fortunate to be selected. Constance sustained a hip injury in an accident that claimed her family’s life some twelve years ago. Now, with her hips replaced, she hopes to go back to school and resume a mobile life.
“I am so fortunate…it is the grace of God that has made GEANCO to choose me. Because I don’t know them, I have not come in contact with any of them. I say a big thank you to GEANCO. I pray the Almighty God will grant their heart desires and protect their families.”
Constance Ojo, hip replacement beneficiary
Setting up equipment and workspace took a large quarter of Sunday 17th November. Packing up wasn’t also easy as it took up close to four hours for the medical team. The days between setup and pack-up were jammed full with surgeries and rehabilitation. The team ran two operating rooms – each room with its complete team.
Early Saturday morning, 23rd November, several of the medical team lay sprawled on the floor of the departure hall of the Asaba Airport. That was the bit of ease their tired bodies requested, but this was expected as they were worn-out, yet fulfilled and satisfied. They each had stories deep in their hearts to tell – Stories to be listened to by their husbands, wives and children. Experiences they will gladly share with colleagues. Stories shared by all the groups and individuals who made the medical mission a reality. Stories they all would like to act again.