The volunteer physicians, nurses, and staff of Hospitals for Humanity’s Medical Mission Initiative to Osun State, Nigeria, wish to thank everyone who donated to the December 2011 trip. The money, medications, equipment, and time everyone contributed to the effort made it possible for us to treat over 1200 patients, including the successful completion of 32 hernia repairs, 56 cataract surgeries, 27 dental procedures, among numerous other accomplishments. We touched many lives during the Medical Mission Initiative, and we know that we could not have done so without your generous support.
One patient in particular illustrates the significant impact that volunteers and donors have on a Medical Mission Initiative. Meria is eight years old and had a cataract in her left eye. As she was so young with so many years of life ahead of her, the HFH eye surgeons knew how meaningful cataract surgery would be. Giving Meria improved vision would greatly enhance her quality of life going forward.
Meria is one of those rare souls who endears herself to those around her without even trying. Her quiet trust and courage as she waited for surgery was immensely inspiring, and everyone who worked with her felt a connection to her. She was our little sister, our niece, our daughter, and we all wanted the absolute best for her.
Meria asked to have her photograph taken (above). Unbeknownst to the photographer, Meria was soon to touch everyone’s heart, including the nurses who attended to her as she waited for cataract surgery (below left), and the assistants and surgeon, Dr. Smith, who performed the surgery (below center and right).
Meria’s surgery was the last procedure of the day and was completed after 5:00 p.m., the time that HFH volunteers would normally have headed home for dinner. Meria was still under anesthesia, however, and none of the volunteers involved even thought of leaving while she was asleep.
As the sky darkened and the likelihood of the lights in the hospital being turned off increased, the volunteers could be found loosely clustered around Meria, monitoring her vital signs, making sure she was comfortable, and waiting expectantly for her to awake. Our exultant joy when she opened her eyes and sat up is inexpressible in words. To us, she became the face of the mission and an incomparable reminder of why we volunteer. We hope that her story confirms for you why you support the mission of Hospitals for Humanity. Your donations make it possible for us to decrease barriers to health care for people living in the least developed countries in the world, which means we can make a difference in lives like Meria’s. Thank you all for caring enough to help.
Meria returned the next day to have her post-op examination (right). Everyone was delighted to see her, and thanks to cataract surgery, she was delighted to see more than she could before.