Friday, July 12, 2013

Another day on the streets

Before hitting the streets, I was confronted by the daughter of one of the foundation's employees.  She had injured her toe doing some extreme sports, but luckily it was not too bad.  It was not deep and did not look like it needed any serious attention, so we patched her up with no problems.  

Our first stop was in the most unlikely of places, Arkadia.  You may remember my last posts about visiting one of the famous night clubs in this region, ITAKA.  Today we were there on strict business - to find a homeless family known to frequent the area.  We walked down the tourist-filled road until it cleared out.  Down the road, we veered left and walked off the main road into the shrubbery.  We were told that there was a homeless family that lived in the catacombs there.  The catacombs are dangerous and people are frequently getting lost in them.  They are largely unchartered, so when people get lost inside, they are often not found until they are dead and gone.  There was a story not long ago about a girl who got lost in the catacombs - her mummified body was found two years after she went missing.  The catacombs are a very interesting part of the history of Odessa.  You can read more about it here.  I took a guided tour of the catacombs with Claudia in 2010 so you can read about my impression on my old blog, My Trans-Siberian Journey        

Not a bad place to spend the afternoon volunteering

Walking to the Catacombs

Unfortunately, no one was home so we were unable to see the catacombs and I didn't want to ask if we could have a peak inside.  We then made our way back to our old hot spot in the roundabout.  Today, our friends were more willing to let us help me.  I bet the gifts of Coca-Cola, chocolate and water we gave them warmed them up to our company.  They even let us take photos of us working with them.  One girl had fresh self-mutilation cuts on her arm.  I didn't even have to ask her if she needed help.  She asked me if I would help clean her cuts.  They were luckily not that deep, so they were easy to patch up.  I have treated more self-mutilation injuries her in Odessa than I ever did in my two years as a psychiatric technician.     

Back at the roundabout

Self mutilation is a huge problem here

Applying the ointment

After care questions

Then one of the boys told me he had problems with his feet.  He asked me if I could help him so I gloved up.  Looks like he had some bad blisters that had popped.  The dirt was so impacted on his foot that it was difficult to even clean it off.  I used an antiseptic towelette and then proceeded to clean it with alcohol.  Next up, you guessed it, Neosporen.  I tried my best to prevent the injuries from getting infected by putting bandaids over them.     

BSI - Body Substance Isolation

check out these cuts

Interesting callous

Start off with an antiseptic wash

After cleaning with alcohol and applying Neosporen, patch up with bandaids

More bandaids

Happy to have been helped

All in all, we had a great day.  We did not go back to see the family in the underground - the folks with the guttate psoriasis - so I gave the cream, Q-tips, some chocolates and a bottle of nail polish to the street patrol worker.  He will give it all to them next time he stops by their place.  Back at the center, we were greeted by one of the little girls who had gotten a physical the day before.  She was happy to see us.

little kindergardener joined our photo

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