I was certain that I was running late.
How could I not be? It was a Sunday; everything about the assignment was going against my usual routine. But there I was, dashing off to one of the local schools. What was the occasion? A medical-dental-optical mission.
When I was asked to cover it, I never hesitated. Frankly, I was a bit excited because it has been years since I last became part of one.
And just as I entered the gates, I knew I was in for an interesting day.
Predictably, organizing the people was just chaos. Asking them to leave their seats, walk over to an area and forms lines, and wait while out in the sun would lead to groans and moans. But it had to be started.
Registration area was just madness. The place was already cramped. Passage was so narrow that people had to turn sideways to go through.
The usual procedures followed registration: blood pressure, height, and weight were taken.
From there, they went back to seats or queues while waiting for their numbers to be called. While waiting, they could twiddle with their phones, talk to the other patients, read the pamphlets that were given away, or line up for free sorbetes (local ice cream) and taho (soft tofu, sweetener, and tapioca). The last two were meant for kids though but that didn’t stop the adults.
Strangely, I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t the only one who was late. While most of the doctors and the dentists were already there, the ophthalmologists were nowhere to be seen. Because there were already patients waiting, I had to ask the organizer about the missing doctors. They were already on their way.
Back outside, I met a few friends and people from church. That was when I heard that kids were being gathered so they could play games. They switched areas when the sun became too unbearable.
Meanwhile, in a space away from most of the crowd, were the few people lining up for issues with dentures. I’ve never seen them made so I stayed for a while to see how it was made. The mixing was fun but, unless you’re patient, biting into the mixture doesn’t look good. Maybe Pam has better insight about it?
Returning to the doctors, I saw that the ophthalmologists have finally arrived. All sections were now in full swing—which is basically saying that it was complete chaos by then. There were more people in there. The temperature had risen a few degrees. And a few individuals were slowly losing their chill. Yet, despite the situation, a number of the doctors and dentists were still able to smile. A few could even crack a joke. The situation reminded me of Kelvin and Marvin.
I have yet to get the official number of people served during the mission. But whether it was a few or many, I was glad to be part of the team that helped people.