My Africa Trip – An Unforgettable Experience
Jun Xu, MD, June 29, 2013
My Dear Patients and Friends,
As many of you may know, I went to West Africa for medical mission trip with my son, Jimmy Xu, a medical student, Elizabeth Cooper, my office administrator, Nataliya Kushta, my physical therapy assistant and 8 other non-medical personnel from a local church in Bridgeport between May 18 and June 2, 2013. This trip has changed our life, opened our eyes to see the poverty, ignorance, corruption and the needy vividly. I would like to share with you about my period of life, which is embedded with fire and tears. This report is a little long, please bear with me. It will be greatly appreciated if you could finish reading my report. Pic. 1
With the help of the local churches in US and Africa, we went to two countries, Senegal and Guinea Bissau, traveled around 800 miles, stayed in three cities, Dakar, Kedougou in Senegal and Bissau in Guinea Bissau. Here is the borderline between Senegal and Guinea Bissau. Pic. 2.
For 400 miles on one trip between the two countries, we went through 19 check points like this. They checked our passports and we paid different amount of fee. For some reasons, the fee was negotiable, because the governments often do not pay their employees, therefore, the officers have to make money from us. Here was one of the check points. Pic. 3
We bought hams, chicken, cheese from Costco, freeze them, and brought to Africa with this blue ice box. Most of the 15 days, we ate the sandwich from the ice box. Pic. 4
We have seen total 2,420 patients, we treated 450 patients in one day once, which exhausted our energy. The average patients we have seen are around 300 per day. The most common complaints are fever, diarrhea, cough and skin issue. About 65% patients are children. Here was the patients who were waiting to be attended. Pic 5.
We collected cash donations from my patients and friends for total $18,083.00. We spent around $4,000 for antibiotics and saved $14,000 for the future use. All my team members paid our own travel expenses including air fare, local transportation, room and food. We brought about $50,000 worth of medicine donated from Americares, an organization based in Stamford, CT, Henry Schein, a medical supply company in NY, and 6 organizations. We had no difficulty getting the medicine through the Senegal Customs, however, Delta Airline fined us $500 for overweight. Pic. 6
We went to 10 different villages. We stayed in a leprosy village for 2 days. The following photo was a patient with active leprosy wound and amputation. Pic. 7
Here was a child with active leprosy wound. Pic 8.
We set up a tent in the leprosy village, another small tent was put inside the tent, the temperature was around 120F, therefore, we were unable to check the body temperature of patients. As long as the patients complained of fever, we would give out antibiotics to treat their infections. Pic. 9
One day, our team members were eating lunch, there were many children surround us. After we threw all the bones of chicken, beef, and pork into a garbage can, the children picked up the bones and started to eat. Pic. 10
My heart was broken, we gave the children our lunch, they grabbed the food with their unwashed hand. Pic. 11.
This child was crying when he ate, he may not eat this kind of food for one to two months as the local people told me. Pic. 12.
Most of the patients were very ignorant but some of them were very sly and shrewd. One day I saw a chief of the leprosy village, he claimed he had hypertension, I agreed to give him medicine “Benicar” 20mg once a day for 30 days. He returned on the second day with an empty package and told me that he took all the medicine. I was amazed that his blood pressure was not dropped to zero. Afterwards, I realized I was so naïve, I was told that he might hide his medicine and asked for more. I told this person to hold his empty package and took the picture. Pic. 13.
We went to a remote village to deliver medical care and food. We took 4 wheel drive truck to cross the jungle and river bank to the village. Liz was climbing up the truck. Pic. 14.
Our truck was crossing the river bank. Pic. 15.
We went to the village and gave out food to the local people. We brought to each family of a bag of rice 50 kg and vegetable oil for total about 310 families in different villages. Pic. 16.
The village chief is the richest man in the village and he has 4 wives, I took pictures of him and his hut. You will see his kitchen on the right side with three stones and his bed on the left side with a luxurious mosquito tent. Pic. 17.
Here was the inside hut. Pic. 18
Here was one of his 4 wives and her children. Pic. 19.
I think the education is the most important and the most urgent. I went to three schools established by Pastor Otavia, who provided free education and free lunch to more than 400 students. My heart was deeply touched. Pic. 20.
Here is another school, students were eating free lunch. Pic. 21.
The school did not provide drinks, students drunk water directly from well. Pic. 22.
After I return from Africa, my heart is broken, my blood is burning. They need help, Yours and mine. We would like to build up a technical school in Senegal, which will teach the local students with carpentry, plumbing, electrician, craft works, etc. We believe the school will self-run after 3 to 4 years. Here is the land we purchased. Pic. 24.
We need around $45,000 to start our first phase construction. Mr. Vincent Camuto, one of my patients, has already donated $10,000 to us, which is a great help. If you would like to help our construction, please write your check to AGWV, and mail it to my office
Jun Xu, MD, 1171 E Putnam Avenue, Riverside, CT 06878.
Your donation will be used to the construction 100% without any administration fee. Your name will also be plagued on the wall at the entrance of the school if your donation is more than $500 and if you are not against us to do so. However, any amount is welcome. Your donation will make a big difference. You will also receive a US tax deductible receipt.
Thank you very much for your help! Hungary Africa people will remember your help forever!
Jun Xu, MD