Liberia has recently come out of a twelve-year civil war, as have many countries in Africa, and rebuilding and revitalizing the country is of utmost importance. The first Lighthouse Medical Mission Team went there in 2007. Our first clinic was set up in an empty two-room building on a settlement near the water’s edge. Monrovia, Liberia is located in sub-Saharan Africa on the Atlantic Coast, and this particular encampment was like many other throughout the city: makeshift shelters of corrugated tin roofs with cinder block walls, central wells with unclean water, garbage strewn around unkempt dirt lots, and tons of adults and children wandering around.
The crowd of people waiting to be seen in the clinic grew each day, from a few to many, many hundreds by the end of our week there. We set up stations: triage, nursing, doctors, eye exams and a pharmacy. The medications and supplements we had were shipped to Liberia ahead of time, but we brought ten large boxes of supplies with us from Los Angeles. After hours of set-up, we were ready to see patients.
The patients came in a trickle at first, then fast and furious for the rest of the week. Every day we saw hundreds of men, women, and children. The only fortunate thing was a lack of HIV and AIDS patients; Liberia is a country with one of the lowest incidence of HIV in all of Africa.
The follow-up that week was astounding. Patients and families showed their gratitude with bright smiles and hugs, with words of praise and prayers to keep us safe and doing good work.
While it never seems we can do enough, it’s enough to keep us coming back.