Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Africa (03/05/09)
TITLE: Tracking Down His Mission
By Lyn Ruth
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Just last night, Dr. Dan had tended a new born baby whose mother died during childbirth. The father was emotionally torn and unable to face his new obligation. The baby was whining throughout the evening, perhaps yearning for the warm breasts of her mother. When old Anita finally took over the caring of the infant, Dr. Dan was able to take a short nap. However, the urgent call of Pedro roused him up immediately. Regardless of the slight headache that would have made him stay in bed for a few more minutes, Dr. Dan hurried to face his obligation.
At the village, Dr. Dan was shocked to see a number of children and some elderly afflicted with the disease. They were nauseated, with most of them vomiting. They had very high fever. They were complaining of acute pain in the stomach, severe discomfort in the forehead, in the inner-side of the eyes, as well as soreness of the muscles and joints. The appearance of small raised spots on their chests and arms were very visible. Their skin colors were yellowish and somewhat sticky. One of them was already showing signs of hemorrhage.
"Dengue fever", Dr. Dan whispered to himself. "This could be fatal". At once, he instructed Pedro to gather all the able-bodied men and women to assist. "We need lots of help", he explained. It was impossible to get all the necessary medicines, especially dextrose bottles. That would take many hours of travel into town and back. He would send Pedro on the trip. In the meantime, Dr. Dan had to give them first aid treatment.
As soon as Dr. Dan had his small group of "health workers", he briefed them on how to make homemade remedies and how to administer them to the patients. Papaya plants were in abundance. The raw papaya leaves were to be cleaned, pounded and squeezed with filter cloth. The juice extracted from the leaves would serve as antidote. Herbal tea and porridge were readied to relieve hunger. He also told them to fetch gallons of drinking water, necessary for maintaining the body's water balance and for the preparation of wet pads to be used if the temperature was high.
Dr. Dan and his team attended to the sick all throughout the day and night. Finally, the situation was under control though the danger was not yet over. Dr. Dan sat on a rock and rested his weary back against a tree. It was a starry night. He looked up the sky, took a deep breath as he remembered the day he graduated top of his class from a medical school in Australia. His mentors had invited him to work in some of the best hospitals in the country. He had declined the offer, preferring to serve as a rural doctor in the mountains and jungles of Africa. His family and friends were disappointed with his decision. It was their opinion that his skills and years of studies were going to be wasted.
The dawn was breaking again. From afar, Dr. Dan could see the outline of Pedro's broad physique against the fading light of the moon. He was running up the dune carrying bags of medical supplies. Tears filled his eyes. He was well aware that his work here was not going to be easy. But his heart felt so much love for these beautiful black people. No, his skills and years of studies were not wasted at all.
This was his mission, his calling. It was a commitment he was bound to fulfill because it was a pledge he had made with the Great Doctor. He smiled contentedly knowing that the Divine Physician had chosen him to look after His children in Africa. For Dr. Dan, this was the best opportunity of a lifetime.
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