Yesterday, we got to spend some time with Dr. Titi. She is a great friend of the Church and LDS Charities has supported her work with cleft palate surgery patients for several years. In the morning, we first met her at Jakarta Eye Center, where some of her charity patients were receiving cataract surgery. Jakarta Eye Center is one of the fancier surgery centers in Indonesia and 3-4 times per year, they spend a Saturday doing charity surgery. Today there were 90 patients. I’m not sure what she told the staff, but they suited us up for a tour of patient prep, recovery, etc. – something that would NEVER happen in the States. We are not 100% sure why they did this, because we aren’t really involved with the JEC, but we took the opportunity presented!
We then went to Dr. Titi’s hospital in Tangerang, a suburb of Jakarta.
A word here about how LDS Charities works – projects are divided into two categories – Major Initiatives and Area Initiatives. MI’s are Church-wide (Wheelchairs, Clean Water, Immunizations, New Mother/Baby Care, Food and Emergency Response) and AI’s are whatever projects are selected on a local level. They can be anything that is needed locally – for example, the sanitation facilities at the Muslim School, school supplies for a Refugee School, etc. The project we have going with Dr. Titi is an Area Initiative and LDS Charities has worked with her for several years supporting her work with Cleft Palate patients. Each project is funded for a year and a month or two ago it was discovered that there was still money available for a few more surgeries – so she scheduled six cleft palate surgeries for today.
The surgeons, nurses etc. all donate their services and LDS Charities purchases supplies (sutures, anesthesia, etc.).
These surgeries are life-changing as people in the villages in Indonesia can be just as cruel as people anywhere to kids that have issues like this. This little mom was SO happy her 5 month old is on the way to looking “normal”. Cleft lip/palate patients that are not charity would require about three surgeries. Often charity patients will require 5-6 surgeries because their post-operative care and nutrition is insufficient. But the Dr’s, parents and patients do the best they can.
Dr. Titi’s husband than gave us a tour of the hospital. There are 26 beds and they do charge for the rooms for non-surgery patients. (There were 2 patients there recovering from Dengue Fever. ) The VIP Room (one bed, a TV, private bath, refrigerator, etc.) costs 500,000 Rupia a day – or $35. Class A Rooms (2 beds) are $25, Class B (4 beds) re $15 and the Class C rooms (6 beds) are 100,000 Rup. or around $7.50.
Many of the women and children here are ‘trash-pickers’ – that is, they make their living picking through the trash of Jakarta. The conditions of course are horrific and not at all healthy for anyone. One of the things Dr. Titi has tried to do is get the women who come to the hospital to be self-sufficient so they can get away from the trash. So she has helped them make jewelry and sells it at a counter by the front door. DeeAnn couldn’t resist so she bought a necklace for 120,000 Rup. or about $10.
Dr. Titi lives next door to the hospital and she insisted on giving us a tour of her home. It was very nice by Indonesian standards, but typical of Indonesia, wide open to the outdoors, so very hot and mosquito-y.
It was a GREAT day and so very satisfying to see the results of the money from LDS Charities going to such a cause and seeing firsthand the lives that are changed. What a privilege it is to be here among these humble people.