Volunteers Hold Free Clinics in California, Australia, New Zealand

Monday, 03 May 2010 17:43 Tzu Chi Foundation
Volunteers recently held free clinics for the poor in three countries – the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The ideal is the same – to provide medical care to those who cannot afford it.

One clinic was in California, where most of the patients were Hispanics. Since some could not speak English, Mexican-American volunteers were on hand to interpret. One of the doctors, a pediatrician named Marie Green, had just returned from working as a volunteer in Haiti. “I appreciate this very much,” said. “I like to be a volunteer because I realized that this is a very organized place. It has proper follow-up, with a lot of help for our people who are uninsured or in need.” This sentiment was shared by patient Francisca Gonzales: “I am happy to come because I do not have insurance and have nothing for my health. So I am very happy for this service.”

Interpreters were also needed at a free dental clinic in Brisbane, Australia. The patients were refugees who had fled their country because of war. They too have no medical insurance. “I want to express my gratitude,” one of them said. “I want to say thank you to all the staff of the clinic today. They have treated me very well and are very kind. They are taking good care of them. I am really grateful.”

It was a similar scene in Auckland, New Zealand, where the volunteers held free medical examinations for low-income people, one of several they have organized. Everyone puts all their energy into providing the best service. “I am happy,” said Halalilo, one of the patients. “I will return home and tell my husband and everyone else. I will tell them how happy I am.”

In these clinics, many complained of high blood pressure and diabetes. The volunteers explained what to look out for and how to take care of themselves. Whether it is the United States, Australia or New Zealand, the love and care of the volunteers was the same.

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