January 21, 2009 – Christmas, Fanning and Washington Islands SAILBOAT Mission

January 21, 2009

Aloha and Mauri to you,

I wanted to let you know that our team and I have finally returned safely and well from our recent medical/supply mission to help the people of the Line Islands. It was a grand adventure and many lives were impacted by the things that were done through us and with the help of you and many other people. There were more than 3 pallets of supplies sent, distributed and used during the mission.

We had an awesome adventure flying into Christmas Island on a small passenger twin engine prop plane and then sailing on Chuck Corbett’s chartered sailboat with many of the supplies to be delivered to Fanning and Washington Islands.

We first sailed towards Washington Island (2 ½ days sailing) and during the night we had a problem with the main sail. This caused us to detour to Fanning Island and do about 4 days of missions-work there before sailing up to Washington Island to do another supply drop off, assessment of their needs and dental mission.

Looking back we feel it was meant for us to arrive at Fanning first, when we did, to tend to our friend Brunno who was seriously infected with a leg wound. I believe we saved his life by being there those first days to tend to his wound and see the nurse be taught how to keep dressing and bandaging the wound.

Along with helping Brunno, many people were treated by our team member Bill, a 70 yr. old retired dentist, who pulled over 600 teeth (about 200 + patients) while sitting on a 5 gallon plastic bucket, most of the day, for about 4 total missions!

Thanks for the prayers for protection and divine appointments as they were answered. Especially for protection, as I was bitten on my left toes by a dog at Washington Island while riding a motorcycle. Thankfully, I was wearing a new pair of Crocks (with a rather thick toe material) I bought in Kona, before going on the mission, and just happen to decide to wear them that morning because I noticed my slippers were about to give out. I thought I would take the Crocks as backups. If I had been bitten without the Crock on, it could have been a very serious thing with four days of sailing to get back to the main hospital at Christmas Island. I just know it was something covered by prayers as the dog really should have gone for the leg/ankle and not the toes on my left foot. What a close call! How many other close calls we had, we will never know.

At this time, I wanted to share with you that the local TV station KHNL news 8 has aired a short video interview (if available) about this recent mission. Please view it at the following address http://www.khnl.com/global/story.asp?s=9816264 or read below to understand more about what happened.

All in all, what a powerful mission/adventure and team effort. Thanks much for your friendship and partnership.

RICH

KHNL News:

Volunteers bringing medical assistance to remote Fanning Island

Posted: // Feb 09, 2009 5:00 PM Updated: // Feb 10, 2009 2:22 AM

HONOLULU (KHNL) – A group of health care providers and volunteers are coming together to help people living in one of the most remote places on Earth.

The people of Fanning Island smile brightly even though their situation may not be so bright.

Rollin Caristianous“About four percent of the children die before they get to one-year-old” said volunteer Rollin Caristianos.

Rich Smith “Without help from the outside, they’re pretty much left to die” said volunteer Rich Smith.

Fanning Island is one of the most remote places on Earth, located about a  thousand miles south of Hawaii. The lack of medical care for the estimated 4,000 who live there is one problem:

“There is a doctor on Christmas Island but there’s no doctors on Fanning or Washington” said Caristianos.Their isolation, is another.

“Cruise lines used to go there on a regular basis about every ten or eleven days. Last year, in April they decided not to go anymore. That pretty much stopped their economy of selling crafts and having some income from guests coming off the cruise ship” said Smith.

So Hawaii island residents Smith, Caristianos and friends chartered a boat and sailed off on a goodwill mission to deliver much-needed medical supplies including exam tables and hospital equipment.

Other doctors came to help.

  One even provided dental care.”…sat on a five gallon bucket and pulled teeth all day long” said Smith.

“It was very obvious from their smiles and gestures they were very appreciative of what we did” said Caristianos.

“It’s a short term fix but we have plans to go back some other trips there in the spring”

And when they go back, they hope to bring more medical supplies and other donated items to the people of Fanning Island.

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One Response

  1. Hi my name is Dave Taft and I would like to get more information on your program. I was a pastor for 30 years, originally from New Zealand, but now living California. For the past 12 years I have been the Executive Director of a non- profit organization which works with high risk youth. I am an avid and life long sailor and have always wanted to do mission work from a sail boat when I retire which will be at the end of this year. I am in the process of fitting out a 33ft York town which, although not large, would be perfect for this type of work.

    Could let me know how I can get involved in your program?

    Thank you Ph (916) 834-1147.

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