2016 mission report from Loloma Foundation

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

While I’d never, ever want to relive dealing with the events caused by the devastation of Cyclone Winston, it was the year that epitomized the immense power of what a global community can do.

Donors opened their wallets and hearts, and over 500 people stepped up to deliver, stabilize and rebuild those affected by the cyclone. Everyone worked hard to meet deadlines dictated by planes, barges, helicopters and boats. Thank you all for the love and concern that was extended to the Fijians in their exceptional time of need this year.

Loloma was fortunate to have 168 dedicated volunteers to join us on 6 missions in Fiji and one in the Solomon Islands aboard the Bilikiki. It is a privilege to work with such selflessly dedicated people who give so much. It is truly gratifying to look back on what was accomplished by all of you in 2016.

Following is a brief overview of what was accomplished in 2016:

January

  • Navutu Stars, Yasawa Islands: 8 dentists and prosthodontists performed 713 procedures in their operatory at Navutu Stars Resort that included extractions, fillings and restorations. The prosthodontists delivered 30 prosthetic devices that were custom made in the field. Meanwhile, the general medical team of 16 physicians traveled to 6 different island villages to treat 750 patients. A minor surgery clinic performed 38 procedures in their operatory at Navutu Stars. 18 patients were identified for major surgery with our teams in Taveuni. 1000 sunglasses and readers were distributed.
  • Taveuni Hospital: Debra Palmer and her team installed another stunning mural in the women’s labor room.
  • Two containers of medical supplies and equipment were unloaded and integrated into our suppiy rooms at the Taveuni Hospital.
  • 1500 backpacks filled with basic school supplies were distributed to students on Taveuni.

February

Winston strikes Taveuni and volunteers Matt Robertson, John Brody, Valishia Chapman, Jeff Johnsrud and Steve and Annie Moreau traveled to Taveuni to assess damage, dispensed $30,000.00 worth of emergency food, medical help and commenced basic repair work on many of the decimated public structures.

April:

Reconstructive surgery mission: 19 major surgeries completed at the Taveuni Hospital

  • Matangi Medical and Dental mission: 6 dentists performed 456 procedures in their operatory at Matangi that included extractions, fillings and restorations. The general medical team of 16 efficient practitioners serviced over 800 Qamea and Laucala villagers at 6 different clinics.

May

  • Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery mission: 11 major surgeries completed at the Taveuni Hospital
  • OB/Gyn Surgery mission: 20 major surgeries completed at the Taveuni Hospital
  • General Surgery—2 surgeons: 40 major and minor surgeries completed at the Taveuni Hospital.
  • John Brody, Matt Robertson and Dan chapman returned to South Taveuni to finish reconstruction of the Navakawau primary school which was destroyed in the cyclone. They also ran clinics to educate the villagers on proper construction techniques for securing roofing, supplying them with expensive clout nails.
  • Dan Chapman and Blake Brubaker installed the music system throughout the hospital.

June

  • Solomon Islands mission, Bilikiki Liveaboard, Russell and the Florida Islands

During the five day mission

Dental team of 4 volunteers performed a total of 538 procedures (extractions, fillings and restorations) on the back of the Bilikiki dive deck with two portable dental units.

Medical team of 20 volunteers ran clinics in 5 separate villages and treated a total of 720 patients. 1456 readers and sunglasses were distributed.

Vinaka!

Linda Kwasny

Project coordinator and board member

Loloma Foundation

About Author: Bob Sykes

Bob Sykes is a founding board member, Treasurer, and Logistics Coordinator for the Loloma Foundation's medical and educational missions, and he also manages the Foundation’s website and public relations activities.