Pakistan- Part 2~

Our first real day of “rolling up our sleeves” began with an early breakfast of tea, eggs & roti. I am now starting to feel very comfortable & natural in shalwar kamiz, & out of respect, am covering my head when I hear the very beautiful & haunting voices chanting the “call to prayer”, or Azaan over the loudspeakers from the mosques (4 times per day).Our first stop was to the center of our operations, the Disaster Management Center of Abbotabad ,which was formed just after the earthquake. FYI, there’s a great deal of photo & written documentation about the early relief efforts & donation info… at the website. The actual space had been some sort of abandoned warehouse, but through the hard work & metamorphosis wizardry of the DMC staff, it is now a shiny, spiffy bustling heart & soul of community relief. They are still renting it, but hoping to raise enough money to purchase the space. The dedication & passion of every single person we met there was enough to light up the city alone! From there we spent the remainder of the morning at the Ayub Medical Center & Medical College, where we took a tour of the hospital & facilities so that Nadeem could assess medical supply needs. He is a member of International Medical Equipment Collaborative [ IMEC],which is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that distributes donated medical equipment to hospitals, clinics, and orphanages in underserved locations worldwide. What a gift! The medical center’s involvement after the quake was crucial, as it became one of the primary centers for virtually every type of “walk in” “carry in” or “copter in” care. (they used an adjacent field to land the helicopters) The hospital itself sustained severe damage, so field tents were set up where hundreds of victims were operated on, bandaged & kept there to heal. By the time of our visit, tents were no longer there, but the quake still leaves cracks in the walls behind at just about every corner. It was very difficult seeing broken delivery tables, few autoclaves, & much lacking in equipment. Hopefully the “wish list” Nadeem compiled for IMEC will bring the very needed supplies quickly. After a short lunch break, we returned to the DMC where Batool & I presented a workshop about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which included a segment about music, stretching, movement, guided imagery & aromatherapy. We had initially intended for the seminar to be for doctors & medical students, however, since the earthquake, the DMC has become a “drop in center” for those in need, so we invited those earthquake victims/survivors who came by to join us. This is where we really began to see & feel the earthquake’s effects on the entire community. Both survivors & first responders shared tragic tales of irreplaceable loss & nightmares which still haunt them. One young boy still hears the fading screams of his friends who were entrapped in the collapsed school building as a few others were able to run to safety. His sister is afraid to go inside any building. I will never forget the sad dark circles around their searching eyes. After urging all to speak about their fears & losses, we urged them to do healthy, community things to move forward. We did a group percussion exercise which had everyone laughing & clapping… Many said it was the first time they laughed since the quake. We went back to our rooms later & cried… As I still am now… More to come… Love To All~ Assalam-O- Alaikum~ Annie

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