Tzu Chi teamed up with Remote Area Medical (RAM), a charity founded in 1985 by television celebrity Stan Brock to provide medical care to those in need at home and abroad; it was its second co-operation project with RAM. The venue was the Los Angeles Sports Arena and the clinic was held from April 27 until May 3. In the early morning, when the sky was still dark, many were queuing up to wait for care. TIMA dentist Liu Zhenxi brought three large boxes of dental supplies and equipment, so that he could provide the best care to his patients. “Performing root canals takes a lot of time and requires special tools; we bring the equipment we need,” he said. “When we went to New Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina), I thought many dentists would provide this service, but it turned out I was the only one. So, in the RAM clinics I have attended since, I bring my own equipment.”
The volunteers and TIMA members brought the foundation’s two mobile medical clinics which it uses across California. Also present was Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger, the wife of state governor Arnold, who came to show her support. The volunteers did not miss the opportunity to tell the patients of the foundation’s environmental work. They asked them to put their own names on their drinking utensil and keep using it, for both cold and hot water. More than 1,200 people attended the clinic each day. The doctors and volunteers took time off their own work to serve them and help them forget their troubles.
Brock established RAM after spending 15 years in the Amazon rain forest with native Indians. He saw the devastating effect on them of illnesses that are easily cured in developed countries. After his return to the U.S., he set up the RAM to deliver basic medical care to people in remote areas, using volunteers who go at their own expense. Their spirit is the same as that of the Tzu Chi volunteers.
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