Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Surf by day, Banquet by night

Today was beautiful -
Jordan and I rented boards from the ONLY surf shop in Da Nang [] and zany "Tam" motored us (with boards) back to the surf. The waves are still really big and rough but we had a great time dropping in on some chocolaty log- and furniture- filled waves. Here we are riding a nice "natural woody" in the beachbreak: We longboarded in the morning and shortboarded after lunch.

Tonight our team's Vietnam Veterans were honored at a special banquet. Each Vet received a mounted photo of them in the war, with thank you's from everyone else on the team, on the back:The empty chair is for those lost in the war. They will not be forgotten.

Here are the wives of the Veterans, who participated on the mission:

useful links:
Some of our videos were featured on CNN including this one:

You can see the path Ketsana took here:

t-shirt: "I went to Vietnam and all I got was this Typhoon"

Hooray! Typhoon Ketsana is passing, and we survived! Thanks everyone for all your prayers - it was sketchy for a while, with flying tiles and trees, but we're back on track now. I "iReported" videos to CNN so you may have already seen the videos from here.
So, now what? We have finished all the clinics the government permitted us to do, but maybe they'll let us do some Typhoon relief work tomorrow? We'll let you know. Here's the current view from my hallway:

enjoy these photos taken a few hours ago:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana to make landfall HERE in 3 hours

As tiles noisily blow off the roof, holes open and water enters the hotel everywhere

HUGE Ketsana will cover the nation of Vietnam.

Typhoon Ketsana heading right for us - due for landfall around 4pm local time. Let us pray for those living in shacks that will surely lose their homes; some will lose all.

[read more at ]

typhoon making landfall ON US right now

this is the view off my porch - around front there are many large trees down, the place is a wreck. Sand, limbs, water all are flying around. But we are all safe. more later-

only His grace has brought us safely

Soooo, halfway thru the last clinic in Hong Kim - It was wonderful, and we saw 186+ patients, but there is a category 3 typhoon coming at us and the bands of intense rain and wind knocked out power and some roads. The Dept of Foreign Affairs contacted us directly and told us we MUST evacuate. NOW. It's a good thing they did, as we barely made it past all the trees, rocks, flooding, and mudslides (see photos) and now we're in Da Nang riding it out at the Furama. I am still hoping for big waves to surf on once "Typhoon 9" is gone. For now I thank the Mighty One we are alive.

this mudslide was occuring as we drove through it!

several times we had to jump out of our vans and move trees so we could pass

dam along Ho Chi Minh Hwy, surging with rain water
I wonder why every patient has back pain?

Dr. Roger Hamm (left), Chuck Ward and Chinh giving away another wheelchair

Sue Proctor and "Viet" our faithful interpreter

Dr. Willis and Brenda Archer, Roger and Shirley Helle, Jim Proctor: in Hue on our free day

Dr. Jester's patient - we gave him a wheelchair

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From Lizards to Leeches

Today our team had church, and heard the powerful testimony of Hien, who was imprisoned and in a refugee camp for years. I can't say why or Who saved him from despair but you know...

For Sunday R&R we rented motorbikes and rode north then onto a dirt road, then We scrambled down cliffs, swam and slid thru rivers, then hiked to a sweet waterfall:

The downside to the waterfall is the realization that Ow! hey what are all those little brown things on my-- AACK! LEECHES! under my watch, in my shoes, holy cow is that a snake on my calf? We took turns doing the leech removal dance today

needless to say there was no skinny dipping at the waterfall...

What tastes like chicken but 1000 times chewier? LIZARD meat! It's the Vietnamese version of Extra gum - seriously 20 minutes later I still had a piece of ??? in my teeth. For bonus points, click on the photo and see if you can find: a)lizard teeth b)lizard tongue c)your appetite after staring at a cooked lizard...

30km south of A Luoi, and for about 50 cents, you can seep in sulfurous scorching springs as long as you can stand - we did:

The best thing about the hot springs was riding past miles of rice paddies and villages on the motorbike

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crowd control!

Word has spread to surrounding areas, and I guess they like us! Today we were met by this substantially larger swarm

We looked out and saw Mike was stuck in the mass of people - he was eventually rescued, to the amusement of all...

Everyone was really very patient and kind, and we saw even more than we hoped - over 300 patients today!

these hands belong to a young lady who is losing function in her dominant (right) hand due to an enlarging tumor. We are taking her to Hue to see a hand surgeon for evaluation and treatment, courtesy of VWAM.

My interpreter Phuong, who is now assisting me in surgery each day!

These marks are from a common practice of pinching the skin in specific areas (poor man's acupuncture?) to cure various disorders. I'll let you know how it works...

Here's a handmade wooden fetoscope I am using - what a delight it is to tell the women their baby has a healthy heartbeat!

Friday, September 25, 2009

first clinic in A Luoi

So, maybe the hotel isn't quite as nice, maybe there is no A/C, the TP is microsized, the shower sprays directly onto the toilet and the bath towels are the size of American hand-towels, but I tell you the team worked long and hard today with a fantastic attitude!

here is our delightful pharmacy crew for example

We saw many more elderly patients today, many in traditional dress

by lunchtime the clinic was so popular we had to part the "seas" to get back in!

This 49-year-old lady is nearly blinded by cataracts, but thanks to VWAM and you our sponsors, her surgery is covered, and she should have her vision restored this week!

Here is a poor little baby covered in scabies



this was our traditional breakfast this a.m.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings - stay tuned!
remember you can click on any photo to see it larger, and if you want to save a copy on your computer, right click and choose "Save Image As"