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In the Aftermath

June 23, 2005

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Volunteers Robbie Hetland, from left, Michael Jahrmarkt and Tim McCall spend time with some of the children in Teunom.

Michael Jahrmarkt and Tim McCall weren't sure what they might encounter in post-tsunami Indonesia in January, so they planned for the worst.

"We thought we might be doing amputations," says Jahrmarkt, BS '83, a medical doctor at the Waco Family Practice Center.

His colleague at the clinic, McCall, BA '72, who has special training in orthopedics, was prepared to do whatever it took to meet the needs of people he encountered, some without shelter or sustenance and a few only barely staying alive.

The two doctors and 11 people on their medical relief team from Antioch Community Church in Waco spent five days traveling to reach their destination -- Teunom, a coastal city in the province of Aceh. They carried more than $25,000 worth of supplies, including their own food, water and tents. They endured a sleepless night in an earthquake-wracked airport, a long and dangerous boat trip and numerous military helicopter shuttles. They spent three days in Teunom in a makeshift camp established five yards from where the giant wave stopped.

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Mary Ellen Orewiler, a 2000 graduate, was one of several Baylor alumni who traveled to Asia to bring supplies after the tsunami.

The team distributed vitamins and potable water and treated patients for everything from abrasions and fungal infections to tetanus. They also took detailed records of the patients' tsunami stories. "The people were so friendly. They knew that we were there to help them," Jahrmarkt says.

Of the 13 people on the team, eight were Baylor alumni. Antioch also sent one other relief team to Indonesia and two to Sri Lanka.

"I think everybody on the trip had it in their minds that this wasn't going to be one of those easy, simple missions trips that maybe you took when you were a high school student. It was going to cost something," Jahrmarkt says. "We were there just to let people know that we loved them and to care for them."

Some other Baylor alumni directly involved with medical and relief agencies are doing what they can to help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the disaster. Josh Begbie, BSA '01, provides aid in the form of medical supplies, food, hygiene items and reconstruction. Begbie works for Crossroads International -- a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that performs humanitarian relief work. The group has 50 volunteers, including Begbie's parents, Malcolm and Sally Begbie, its founders.

Psychologist Richard Brake, BA '86, a member of Baptist Child and Family Services, is on Sri Lanka's east coast for an extended period with a team of seven other child-care professionals. Their goal is to turn five unaffected government buildings into temporary shelters and relief centers for some of the 5,000 displaced children. They will work with the Sri Lankan government to plan for the children's long-term care and try to find foster homes for those who have lost parents.

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