By Nadia Carter
Friday, the 13th, is usually associated with serial killers and bad luck. Fortunately, for us, we had the honor of servicing 101 patients in Las Colinas and everything went swimmingly. We set up in a small church and utilized the chairs to set up our stations: evaluations, pharmacy, dentistry, glasses, education, & clothing donations. This particular area was the closest to a batey-setting, that we have seen all week, being that our previous locations were established in barrios (towns with high poverty-levels). The bus driver, amazingly got us through the narrow streets and stacks of rocks to our location (Shivani [adult & gero-track] endearingly referred to the bus as the Magic Schoolbus due to how spectacularly we managed to get through limited spaces). Most of the patients seen today were primarily Haitian Creole-speaking, therefore, we utilized our wonderful group of interpreters to the max of our ability (since the broken Spanish some of utilized was basically useless).
After our clinic, we came home, changed and went to the beach at Dominicus (the same beach we went to on Sunday). Many of us were exhausted from working earlier in the day, but we all managed to muster up the energy to all go to the beach. This day at the beach was especially rewarding because our mission was finished, we did not have to think about our tasks for tomorrow or counting pills. We took this time to enjoy the company of our peers, Margie, and some of the interpreters. The weather was in the mid-70s (neither too hot, nor too cool), the ocean felt amazing, and we enjoyed our last meal on the beach. We took time to debrief on our experience for the week (during a beautiful sunset, amidst the gentle rustling of the waves) and I believe, for many of us, this trip was life changing. We discussed: the differences in healthcare between the U.S & that of which we experienced in the D.R., working together as a team, possibly going on more mission trips in the future & most importantly – taking for granted hot showers & good plumbing.
Upon return to the dormitory, we were greeted by vendors who set up, so that we may buy last-minute souvenirs (mostly art – beautiful local paintings and jewelry). Additionally, we had a live band that played Christian music with Afro-latino flare. Some decided to stay up since we were scheduled to leave at 12 am, while others utilized the 2 hours we had to sleep prior to our travels.
Throughout the trip, we heard from Margie, as well as other leaders of our trip, that we have been one of the best groups to work with. Initially, I thought they were flattering us, but upon review, I believe that we had a great group of nurses that worked well together as a team, despite having different specialties and personalities. Everyone worked hard and contributed to their tasks and there were no obvious blowouts from conflicting personalities. This, I personally consider a success and am honored to have worked with these nurses from the 2017 DEN cohort.
Final beach party at San Rafael Del Yuma