Day six is my favorite day, so far, in this journey. I think I needed a few days to “warm up” and by day six, I finally found my groove. I felt confident in myself and in our team. Further, interacting with the people we were serving came more naturally. I spent most of the day taking blood pressures so that I could greet patients as they entered the clinic. My Spanish had improved to the point where I could say “hello”, “how are you?”, “thank you” and “wait there for the doctor”. I know these are phrases most people already know, but I was pretty proud of my accomplishment. There were even a few patients who spoke french, which I used to be fluent in, and I was able to communicate fairly well with these individuals. There is something to be said about language, it really does open many doors.
Our clinic saw around 100 adults and children before breaking for lunch. I enjoyed our usual meal of rice, meat, soda and cookies and felt truly grateful for the opportunity to be in the DR witnessing a new and extraordinary culture. After lunch, we put together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cookies for the children; their reactions were priceless. I cannot imagine being so grateful for a sandwich (1/4 of a sandwich to be exact). In fact, I would have snubbed my nose at the offering because I dislike pb&j sandwiches. The experience left me in a state of deep gratitude for the blessings I’ve been granted in my life, especially those I take for granted. Further, I was left wanting to do so much more for these families. I thought to myself, here I am providing healthcare to people who lack even the most basic of needs. I am not sure how I can help in the future, but I plan on figuring something out. Medicine can only go so far. Nutrition and other basic needs must be available too.
After leaving the batey at around 2 pm, our team ventured to a home for girls whose parents are unable to meet their needs at this time. We were given a tour of the campus, which includes a school, and then spent the remaining time playing with the girls. There was singing, dancing, ball games and a whole lot of smiling. The children were dazzled by the toys we brought them, they were so easy to please. I only wish we could do more.