So it had always been my understanding that Cumbum was a very poor area, and it is. The streets are filthy with animal and human excrement, rubbish, cars and people everywhere. The reality is though, that this is city life, and not what the locals would call particularly poor - everything is relative of course and I'd not seen the "poor part of town"... until we went to Rev. David's church just outside of Cumbum!
Pastor David opened his home which had a fenced off front area where we set up various stations for registration, assessment and dispensary. Dr. Semilar Selvi led the team, Sister Margaret and 2 of the Bible College students (Sarenya and Meena) joined her. Upon arrival, patients were to give their name and details to Sarenya or Meena. They would then sit on a seat next to them and wait till the doctor was ready. Dr. Selvi would call them forward, speak with them briefly and diagnose them. She would then write out a prescription and pass this to Sister Margaret who would find the medicine and dispense it to the patient.
To be honest, I was amazed, amazed that people could live like this - they can't get to a doctor, so the doctor has to come to them, I can assure you, there was no running water and the electricity looked fairly basic. In this village, we drove past a corner store that made our English corner stores look like a supermarket warehouse. Literally all the houses were made of mud and / or banana leaves, the odd tin shack, not only had I visited a very poor village, but I'd actually gone back in time.
I'm still waiting to hear how many people were attended to that day, but our team were expecting "only 100" under the tree that afternoon, I don't think my local GP sees that many people in a day what with their 10 minute slots and our Western regulations (for which I'm most grateful by the way!).
Our medical team do such amazing work, being the hands and feet of Jesus, in these dire communities, serving people and showing love to them in the poorest of conditions. There is no charge, the medicine is free, it wasn't a "Christian only" service - if you were ill, this was the place to be, no matter who you were or which god you served, and gradually , as people were being seen, the word spread. Not by social media - but by foot. I was so grateful to be a part of it.