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February 8, 2008     Cape Gazette
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February 8, 2008
 

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62 - CAPE GAZETI'E - Friday, February 8 - Monday, February 11, 2008 Doctor Continued from page 60 corrugated steel where Ethiopians live is a four-star hotel, built to accommodate foreigners and African'Union dignitaries. "They have no clue how they're living; this is all they've ever known. The amount of joy in their lives is incredible," said Robinson, who was touched by how often and beautifully the locals smiled. The government is determined to modernize the country, he said, with a significant push toward Western education for its people. "There is an incredible movement to try to bring this country up to bur standards, but they need our help," he said. Robinson learned on his trip that in order to buy wheat, people must first register to vote. "They are trying very hard to change the country and to empower the peo- ple," he said. Some of the obstacles facing those who are trying to deliver quality medical care are startling. The Sinskey Clinic has plumbing, but gets running water only two days a week. The staff never knows which two days that will be. Still, it looks every bit like a medical clinic, although to the average American it will surely appear basic at best. Patients walk to the clinic from distances long and short, some walking 500 miles. "They aren't going to let the number of steps get in their way," Robinson said. No appoint- ments are made; tlieyy would be impractical. The eye charts have no letters, as the elderly patients are mostly illiterate. The clinic charges about $1.50 for treatment and follow-up care. Althglagh it now has modern equipment like we all see when we have our eyes examined, the clinic has few antibiotics. Without reliable running water, the staff relies on alcohol to clean hands, saving the water for use in surgeries. "It's incredible how stoic these people are. The doctors do sur- gery with no sedative - there is no 'ouch', not one word, nothing. They feel so privileged to be get- ring care from a surgeon," he said. They are as faithful as they are stoic, said Robinson, who got his first taste of the country partici- pating in the local celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany. The secular nation was the second in the world to convert to Christianity, having done so around the 4th century B.C. There has been a Muslim pres- ence there since the foundation of that faith, but the majority of peo- ple are devout Christians and believe the Ark of the Covenant rests in their country. At a presentation to his staff Wednesday, Jan. 30, Robinson described the scenes, including ones of him in the middle of a seemingly endless sea of people marching to mark the Epiphany. "I've never felt safer in my life," he said as he described the passion of the people for their faith and their warmth toward foreigners who come to help them better their country. Robinson said it was a privilege to share the good will of the United States with a people who were so grateful for it. In the United State, heaithcare is generally available, even to the uninsured. For Ethiopians some- times it's simply too far away. For those outside of the main city, there is no health care and so they must travel, mostly on foot and often over great distances. Inspired by the Ethiopian spirit, Robinson returned home with a determination to continue to give to the Sinskey Clinic with the hope that he can help get the ball rolling toward more accessible heaithcare options for Ethiopians. "I don't think I'll go a day in my life and not think of these peo- ple and what they do," said Robinson as he encouraged his staff to consider volunteering in Ethiopia and sending their chil- dren there. "You will never have a greater impact in your life." Anyone interested in helping the Sinskey Clinic should contact Bob Uffelman, executive director of the Delaware Eye Institute at 645-2300 x 1012 or ruffelman@ delawareeye.com. Contact Leah Hoenen at leah @ capegazette, com. Tax help available at CHEER Center The CHEER Community Center, located at Route 9 and Sand Hill Road, Georgetown is scheduling appointments for individuals to have their taxes done. Appointments can be made from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4 through Monday, April 7. The following information should be brought by participants: last year's return, W-2s, Social Security cards or indi- vidual tax identification and a valid photo ID. For further information call the center at 854-9500. Design & Installation For Kitchens & 644-9006 25 Years Experience ,Quality Showroom at Fit. 24, just off Rt. 1 at Family Dollar Mall www.rehoboth.com/newkitchens/