In April 2011, I flew to Miami and met up with a team of three American Paediatricians and one retired Paediatric Psychiatrist. As a team we immediately gelled together.
We flew onto Manaus on our twelve day medical trip. On arrival we were met by Gloria Santos, Director of Ray of Hope Amazon and her husband Patrick.
At Manaus, the Ray of Hope boat called Discovery was ready and waiting; a boat which is thirty years old and has some leaks in the roof.
All the clinics had been arranged by Gloria in villages along the Rio Solimoes, Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers. Two, sometimes three clinics, were carried out per day, starting at 8.30am and finishing in the evening about 6.30pm after all the patients were seen. Hundreds of people came with their families, some traveled by boat while others walked for miles through the jungle. Everyone had washed in the river and put on their Sunday clothes to come to the clinics. As we entered the villages we were welcomed by either the Chief or Pastor of the village and they always came back and thanked us afterwards. At one of the villages a lady
Most of the children I treated were children with cerebral palsy. None of them had received any form of treatment or benefits. Some came with their fathers as the main carers, I presume the mothers may have died at childbirth. Among other conditions I treated were men and women with severe back problems from lifting heavy weights such as tree trunks. As well as treatments, I had the privilege of praying with the patients as they asked for prayer or were offered prayer. Afterwards they would say they felt much better and I received many hugs with the request, “Please come back, please come back!” The people of the villages brought us gifts of coconuts and fish, which was probably all they had.