Today is our fifth day of surgery. The team is well motivated and constructive; working together in a professional and cooperative atmosphere. Things are going smoothly, and on a good day we treat 13 patients on two operating tables. Sometimes we use a third table for surgery under local anesthesia. In the first four days of our mission we performed 50 reconstructions. If we can keep this up, we will have a very successful mission.
It is an exciting experience for both the parents and the patients. The team is doing an excellent job making the stay and treatment of the patients at the hospital as comfortable as possible. With the help of our Rotaplast interpreter, Carole Nielsen, and some local interpreters we are giving our patients all the information they need to make them feel at ease. We can’t do without the help of local interpreters because most of our patients do not speak English or French, but only the regional language of the Bambara.
To make the children feel at ease, the ward coordinator Agnes Wolfkamp plays a very important role. Not only does she take care of the bedrooms, she also speaks with the children in the universal language of joy and laughter by playing with them in the playing room. This helps pass the time for the children who were taken out of their daily routine and placed in a strange setting, surrounded by strange white people. These patients have not eaten or had anything to drink prior to their surgery.
Today a film crew of the national television was at the hospital to make a film of the work of Rotaplast in Bamako. This film is organized by the Rotary Club Bamako –Djoliba in cooperation with the hospital, and will be used for information and publicity on the national television later this year. Mission director Ken Funk expressed his appreciation for working with this team in Bamako, and for the help and cooperation of the Rotary and the local medical staff. Medical Director Sibrand Schepel informed the press about medical details of the mission and the background of this mission. They both complimented the parents and their children for their cooperation and their discipline before, during, and after treatment.