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March 26, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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March 26, 2014
 

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14B Wednesday, March 26, 2014 tsutleun, tecor0, Ir0gresseve, Ieporter TANZANIA, from page 1B The next big step will be building a clinic. Powell said the existing structure has neither power nor water, and must be re-created each time the medical team visits. Treating the patients Powell saw as many as 35 kids a day during his stay in Kisongo. He saw children with cleft palates, brucellosis (an infectious disease often caused by ingesting unsterilized milk), malaria, AIDS, cerebral palsy, blindness and many other diseases related to nutritional poverty and unsanitary living conditions. "I saw one kid with a hugely enlarged liver," Powell said. He called in the team's ultrasound specialist and they could see a worm inside a cyst in the liver. Treatment often involved consultations with the team's microbiologist and pharmacist, whom Powell praised for her ability to create drug doses for children by grinding up adult drugs and recalculating the dosage. He saw another child with elephantitis, a condition brought on by a parasite getting into the lymphatic system and causing vastly swollen limbs. Many children suffered from horrific burns, Powell said. He explained that most villagers live in mud and dung huts with thatched roofs and a fire pit in the middle. Inside conditions are often dark and smoky and children stumble into the fires and are severely burned. Some children's burns had caused deformations and loss of certain muscle and tendon use. The team's plastic and orthopedic surgeons did the best they could to repair burn damage as well as broken bones that had never been set properly. The team worked with translators, often safari tour guides who spoke Swahili, Masai and English. Powell said it was heart-breaking to have to tell a parent that his or her Although the children possess barely more than the clothes on their backs and a cheap pair of flip-flops, they are never short of smiles. "I'm accustomed to having a plethora of diagnostics available. It was an education by fire." Dr. Mark Powell child would likely die. Nevertheless, he said the parents seemed to expect that not all of their children would survive infancy and early childhood. It was "hugely humbling," Powell said, to work in such primitive conditions with so few diagnostic tools available. "I'm accustomed to having a plethora of diagnostics available. It was an education by fire." Despite the many challerlges of the people of Kisongo and Endulen, the second village the team went to, Powell said the villagers were very resilient, with many elderly people still living active lives. Powell said the kids were some of the happiest he has ever seen: they could entertain themselves for hours with a tin can found on the side of the road. "The sum total of their belongings was a pair of shorts, a shirt and thongs -- many of them made of recycled tire rubber." Endulen is a small village in the middle of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There is a Catholic hospital there that the Phil Simon Clinic team collaborated with. Powell said that social workers on the team spent time educating the mostly Masai villagers on the importance of keeping cattle, : dogs and human waste away from their drinking water supply. Education is an important tool to improve health care practices, but many children do not attend school, and some kids must walk 5 miles to get to a school, Powell said. Upon returning home, Powell said, "I felt like I didn't have a problem in the world. Unfortunately, you quickly forget that." He and about half the team enjoyed a safari trip that included a deluxe mobile camp. The chance to see wild and exotic animals in the Serengeti was another opportunity of a lifetime for Powell. At night, team members got zipped into their tents and told not to leave because of the risk of those wild animals roaming around. Powell's journey from his own very well-provisioned clinic in Pasadena to the makeshift clinic of Kisongo, across the amazing, spectacular plains and lush vegetation to the isolated village of Endulen, showed him a slice of life that he won't soon forget. And next time he goes, he'll be better prepared and better equipped to make more of a difference. Faithful companions Baron and his human companion Everett watch for squirrels in front of vividly blooming forsythia in East Quincy. Where in the World? Plumas County locals Mark Serumgard, Jeff Hahn, Danny Murray, Travis Kingdon and Scott Beckwith join a camping group on a recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. They rode in a helicopter to a remote pa of the island and camped there for 10 days. C-FORCE, from page 13B going to do with it? And it's put me on this amazing journey. I can look back and be completely grateful and say I would never want to change anything. My hopes would be that other people recognize that we all have challenges. From the outside looking in, it might look easy, but people relate to vulnerability and to seeing someone who has had challenges and has overcome." We certainly do, Amy. We certainly do. And your stellar attitude and example remind us all again that life is not about waiting for the storms to pass but about learning how to dance in the rain. Speaking of dancing, Amy actually appeared as a recent dance contestant on the popular television show "Dancing With the Stars." Congratulations, Amy! And congratulations to all of Team USA's Paralympic champions! For more information about Amy Purdy, go to her website, at amypurdy.com, or watch her nine-minute inspirational speech, "Living beyond limits," at http://bit.ly/PVc05B. 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