One of the hardest things for me as a medical provider is inflicting pain to help bring healing. This summer I became aware of a slum on the outskirts of a small community center just a 20 minute drive from our home. This slum has over 600 family units living there. One of the challenges faced in this community is that of chiggers or jiggers. They are extremely small bugs that imbed themselves in skin and lay eggs there. They create itching, pain, inflammation and infection that can destroy the tissues in the feet. Because they imbed so deeply in the skin they must be removed using needles and scalpels. It is a tedious and painful process; but necessary in order to treat the patient.
This hurting to heal makes me stop and contemplate a bit. Just as in the medical profession it often takes pain to bring healing, so it is in our spiritual walks. There are times when we endure emotional pain that actually leads to growth and health. The key is in sitting still while we allow God to use the scalpel and needles to dig out the root of the problem. It’s in remembering that He also has the soothing salve and dressings to help heal the wounds so that we might be better off in the long run.
But let me get back to the main subject of this blog, the community with the chiggers! Since the discovery of this need, we have been able to make a few trips to do chigger care clinics. The first time we were joined by a few ELI interns who helped sponsor the outreach. Click here if you would like to see some pictures from that outreach. This most recent trip was made possible by a team of nurses and nursing students from UCLA who also helped us with the treatment of the patients. Our next chigger outreach will take place on October 10th with a few team members from Water of Life Church joining us. They have also raised funds to help purchase shoes and socks for the patients being treated.
|Walking through the slum with supplies|
|Tools of the Trade|
|Setting up the Work Stations|
|The feet needed to soak before beginning treatment|
|This little Girl kept screaming at the nurse that she was going to call the police and report the nurse|
|Making the incision to remove the chigger|
|And there is the chigger with larva|
|Bandaged feet and waiting for socks and shoes|
|We were also able to distribute de-worming medication to the community|
|At the end of the day I climbed up on the rock behind the church to get a shot of the team with some of the patients and the local pastor|