Thursday, June 23, 2005

95 degrees

yesterday was the grand opening of Tue Tind Duong free clinic in Hue, Vietnam. we attended the ceremony and it was a success. the show of support was incredible. standing room only. standing on the balcony of the third floor looking at people arriving, one can't help but be moved by visions of old monks and nuns making their way to attend the opening in 95 degree heat and close to 100% humidity by foot, bicycle or moped. the staff who were helping out ranged from the young to old from various walks of life. in the back area being used as a kitchen, women stooped over huge baskets of vegetables, slicing and dicing away. at another corner, there were portable burners set up. all in all the logistics going on in the porch there would have rivaled a modern resto kitchen able to serve a hundred people at a time. in fact, there would be aboout 350 people eating this afternoon following the ceremony. it was amazing to walk through the building and photograph room by room. they were currently brand new, unused. i thought to myself that in months if i came back these rooms would be filled with patients and caretakers. there would be a different kind of bustle going on here. perhaps not quiteas festive as today but in the long run, much more important. for many people, this free clinic is their only option of getting medical care of any sort. in a country of 80 million people, there are only about 825 hospitals. i am reminded why this is good work.

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