The journey home

Group picture before loading onto the busses.
It is a lonely Saturday morning her at the training center. Everyone has set off for home except me, a couple of workers, and Rocky the dog.  I saw the students off this morning at 7:30 am to make the long drive to Burma and then split up into the different treks home. Some will catch a one-day a week flight on Monday to go to the farther destinations. From there some will still have to journey for days to get to their homes. Of the instructors, only Bjorn and I remain. We both fly out at different times today. I will be traveling for the next 24 hrs but, due to the time difference, will still arrive to my home in San Diego the same day I leave Thailand.
Busses lined up ready to go

students on the buses
students on the busses

The travel and jet lag are a small price to pay for being part of this amazing program. To know you help to empower a group of dedicated people to go out and make a difference is indescribable. It is humbling to hear their stories and difficult circumstances compared to our relatively comfortable western lives. It is also so very encouraging to know this is a team effort of international support. It gives me hope in humanity to know so many are working for the greater good and helping others. To all who have supported and this program in various ways, Thank you! It is only successful when everyone does their part. No matter how small that part may seem at the time, it is important to the team. Just as the body has different parts with different roles and none is more important than the other, so is this team effort.
Until next year, May God keep you and guide you all. 


Lonely dinning hall this morning. 

Last day of training for the year!

CHE instructors & Rick with 5 of the students after celebration dinner. 

Friday was the final day of this years Barefoot Dr. Training program. The students completed a final exam and did very well. We also reviewed an additional sheet of medication they have been issued, how to use them, and any precautions. The day ended with a celebration feast with lots of speeches and pictures. Although this is the end of the program for this year it is only the beginning of a grand adventure for all the students. Dr. Bjorn Nilson compared them to caterpillars turning into butterflies and now they are to fly away to do their good works.  I quoted a bible passage from 1 John 3:18 that states, “ Dear children, let us not love with words and speech but with actions and in truth.” They are exemplifying this passage by showing their love by their actions. In the same way, all the instructors, translators, leaders, and supporters around the world have shown their love by their actions. We cannot wait to hear the stories next year when they all return to the program.

Practicing evaluating a patient with the log books.
Celebration feast on Friday

Dr. Susan and Rick with 2 students.

Class president making a speech the last day. 
The “cure kits” are still in Thai customs but there is still hope we can get them released. If so we can use them next year.

Post by Dr. Susan

Dr. Susan teaching with Burmese words in the presentation.
March 1, 2018
Dr. Susan teaching.

Mingalaba!  Today was another great day in Thailand.  Classroom work today focused on practicing patient encounters and logbook entries.  We gave each student a condition yesterday to study and then prepare to act out as a patient.  These scenarios integrated their review of common conditions, interview techniques, focusing the exam to establish a likely diagnosis and making a treatment plan. 

These are skills that I am still trying to master, but our students accept the challenge and really do a fantastic job.
Students practicing interviewing a patient with the log book

As another “semester” draws to a close tomorrow, the students, instructors and translators all are preparing to return home.  Ahead of me is 24 hours of travel with 2 layovers to return to my husband and dog.  Our students will head home as well, but travel is less straightforward.  Some will reach their village early next week.  Others will still be in transit long after. 

They will carry a load of 22 medications (see yesterday’s pictures) and a foundation of knowledge to help them save lives. 
Using "click clicks" Audience response system

Our confidence in them is great, but I believe their expectations for themselves are even greater.  We, as instructors, already eagerly await next year’s “click click” (audience response system) results to see the impact and how we can help to facilitate their progress.

Students practicing triangle bandages.
Students improvised sling with scarf.

Medications given out!

Students with instructors with the new backpacks full of medications.
Wednesday we issued out the medications with new backpacks. This was a very exciting time with a prayer dedication and lots of pictures. We prayed the God would amplify the effectiveness of this medication in mighty ways. If this class of 19 is anything like years past they will see well over a 1000 patients before they return to the training center next year. We all look forward to hearing the stories they bring back next year.
Picture of medication the students received. 
Packing up the medications into backpacks

Suturing lab was using felt was fun. As usual the students pick this skill up very quickly.  Next year we will advance the techniques and practice with pig’s feet to take them to the next level of competency.

Suture lab
Suture lab

The last couple of days have focus on going from start to finish with mock patients. We gave them all a diagnosis that they were going to pretend they had the next day. They were to study on what the symptoms were to present accurately. The students practiced figuring out what the other students had by using the logbooks and skill we showed them. They did very well and this also bring up any weak areas that they may have. We have completed the entire book Where there are no Doctors. Now we need to make sure they can put all the information into practical applications. 

The Cure Kits are still stuck in customs but we have made arrangements to get the students everything they need for their medical kits. Please continue to pray for a strong finish of the program and safe travels for everyone when they return home. 

Reflections on the program by Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce teaching on parasites & worms
Todays following blog is from Dr. Bruce. He has been a big help to the program this year and done a great job. He left this morning and leaves us is thoughts in this blog. 

"This is the first time that I have taught at the a Barefoot Doctors program in Thailand.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and wasn’t too sure that I would be able to relate to the students. I worried about the language barrier and about the students abilities to learn the material sufficiently to go back to their villages and make a positive impact.   It should be noted that I am 63 and I’m not very tolerant of the immaturity and drama of young people in the US.  Our youth pastor in Colorado recently asked me to go with the youth group to Mexico.  I said, “Jim, I don’t even like young people and can’t stand all their drama”.

As I rubbed shoulders with the Barefoot Doctor students, I was blown away.  These young people are very mature, smart, and dedicated.  They quickly grasp the principles that are taught and ask the kind of questions that only inquisitive students ask.  They read their assignments and are prepared for each lesson.
But most of all, I’m impressed with their love for the Lord.  They love to worship, sing, and pray.  

I’m absolutely convinced that their villages in Burma will be impacted by their newfound knowledge and by their desire that others come to Christ.  They are the lighthouse on a hill shining, piercing the darkness in a very lost and troubled nation.

Bruce Gross
Salida, Colorado"
Dr.Bruce having out with the guys.

CPR and student presentations

Friday and today we had more student presentation on medications. This helps them learn the information better and breaks up teaching a little.

Student presentation

We used the 3 students who had to have some teeth removed as patients today. They needed some sutures removed from the teeth extractions. We projected the suture removal from an iPhone to the overhead project so all could learn from this real life experience. The last student was even brave enough to let one of the other students do the procedure rather than the U. S. doctors. All went well.

student presentation 

Student Presentation

After that Dr. Bruce educated & trained them on CPR and choking emergencies. They had fun with the hands on practice with CPR dummies and all the instructors took a station. Sadly, one student shared how this training was so impactful because she witnessed a tragedy related to this topic. She was invited to witness childbirth by a friend as an educational experience. When the baby was born it was not breathing. The person who was helping to deliver the baby started blowing around the outside of the baby’s mouth, not into the mouth. The baby died. What we consider simple knowledge of CPR and rescue breathing would have likely saved this baby's life. A large number of babies are not breathing when they are first born but simply need help getting started. This training will help save lives.
Practicing CPR

BBQ Thai style and starting the final week

Getting the log books
The log book

Today started the last week of the Barefoot Dr. medical training.  The focus will be on putting it all together. Friday we issued them the logbooks to track the patients they see, the diseases, and the treatments. The completed logbooks will be the basis for next year's training. This will ensure we are training them on issues they actually see in their areas.

Sorting medications.
The final shipment of medications came in on Friday and we spent some time sorting them out into separate kits for the students. Unfortunately there is no word on the “Cure Kits” that have been stuck in customs for over a month. We cannot wait for them any longer and must assume they are not going to be released.  This is such a shame and waste.  Fortunately, the life-saving and prescription medications were ordered here in Thailand weeks ago and have been received.
Pill identification

This week will also focus on ensuring the students know the medications very well including pill identification as well as the actual bottles they will receive. The brand names can look different then the actual drug name so it is important to study with the actual pills they will have.


BBQ Thailand style! Friday night we took time to celebrate and get to know each other better as we shared a BBQ together.   Pungsar, the fabulous cook here, put on a great meal. Including fresh pork, fresh vegetables, rice, sticky rice, spicy salsas, fresh fruit for desert, and of course mountain tea. It was delicious and a great time.

Eating together

Enjoying a song after the BBQ

Pungsar, the resident chef.