I want to start off by thanking all of you for the support that I have received the past few months!! It has been amazing to see the power of pray in action. My time in Swaziland was far beyond anything that I ever expected. My goal is now to share with you what we did during the month of May, and how the Lord is working through The Luke Commission in that tiny country.
There is no doubt that HIV/AIDS has devastated Swaziland. It was heartbreaking to think that 1 out of every 5 kids that we interacted with at each clinic was left orphaned from the epidemic that swept through Swaziland. I cannot say enough good things about The Luke Commission and what they are doing! They are passionate about the Gospel and changing Swaziland for the better. It was so encouraging to live with them and experience first hand what they do on a daily basis.
The month was full of long days, lots of laughs, and experiences that changed my outlook on global missions. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday was a designated “Clinic” day. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays were restock days for the next clinic. We did this on the TLC campus. Sundays were our days of much-needed rest! After going to church, we had the day to journal, play games, and relax with the team. On clinic days our team was up by 4:15 to be picked up at our house that was about 5 minutes off of the main TLC campus by 5 am. We would go to campus and have a time of prayer and singing with all the Swazi staff. One Swazi would also read us an encouragement from Scripture and make it applicable to the day. We would load into our vans and leave promptly at 6 am and make our way to our clinic. Each clinic was set up at a rural school anywhere from and 1 hour to 2 hours away from the TCL campus. We used 9 rooms and set them up according to our needs. Each room was given a number. We referred to the rooms using those numbers to remove the stigma that went along with what we did in each room.
Room 1- Patients meet one on one with a TLC Swazi staff member. They discuss medical and family history as well as if there are any specific medical problems they are facing. They also say if they have been or want to be tested for HIV.
Room 2- This is where the actual HIV testing occurs. It is as simple as a prick on the finger and blood placed on a test strip. The results are visible is less than 10 minutes. Patients over 18 have their blood pressure tested. In addition, patients over 50 have their blood sugar tested.
Room 3- This is where each patient got to meet with the doctor and a translator to discuss any medical issues they had. They also heard a Bible lesson and had the opportunity to pray with a TLC member before they saw the doctor.
Room 4- Patients receive personal counseling from TLC Swazi staff members. They receive further information from the results of the HIV testing. This can range from how to live life with HIV if their results were positive or how to prevent HIV if their results were negative. All counseling is conducted from a Christian perspective.
Room 5- This is the pharmacy window! I got to work here for about 7 clinics. Patients bring the paper that the doctor had circled what medicines they needed on. Based on that paper, we pull the medicines from 2 rolling shelves. The patient is told about each medicine and how it needs to be taken.
Room 6- This is the surgical room used mainly for male circumcision as well as minor procedures. Our team was very active in this room. We helped prep boys for circumcisions as well as setting up and cleaning up the beds before and after procedures. A few of us were also checked off to assist the nurses in completing the stitches after a circumcision. Circumcision is proven to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS by 60%!
Room 7- Pre-op and Post-op for those going to room 6.
Room 8- This was a multipurpose room used for blood draw and other needs.
Room 9-This was the room used for eye care. Patients had their eyes tested and based on their results; they were given a pair of glasses to fit their needs.
My month spent in Swaziland was a true gift. I was able to see selflessness and love in action. I enjoyed working in room 6 due to the medical aspect. Although I was unable to talk to must people that I came in contacted with, that did not cause a barrier in greeting them with a friendly smile and giving them the best medical care possible. Not only was I able to do more things medically than I would as a nursing Senior, but I was able to get a glimpse of life as a full-time medical missionary and I must say- it is not easy. The Lord was good to my team and allowed us to bond closer than I ever thought possible.
I want to close with saying that the Lord is at work in Swaziland. The Luke Commission is a thriving organization that is doing great things. Please continue to pray for them as they are working daily in Swaziland. Thank you again for the support that you all showed me as I went on this adventure. This is an experience that I will carry with me in my future nursing career.