Dominican Medical Trip – Second Clinic
Today was our 2nd medical clinic and as far as we were concerned it was a great day! We started our day off at the registration table which was perfect for use since we got to meet all of the patients. It was an eye opening experience all around, but especially when we meet our little friend, Johnny. He decided to hangout with us all morning at our station and showed us no emotion, and nothing we did could make him smile. We made him a little paper airplane and although he showed no signs of gratitude, he would not let it go.
Closer to the end of the day Johnny finally spoke to us, and all he could say was, “I’m hungry”. It was disheartening to think that everyday we slide food off our plates into the garbage because we’re full, or throw out a banana because it is bruised. Especially when there are children like Johnny who are hungry and suffer from malnutrition because they are only able to eat once a day and the meal generally consists of rice & beans (and loaded with salt).
Halfway through the clinic the time came for use to switch stations and our new position was taking vitals. Within minutes the language barrier became evident. We were trying so hard to explain, “no shoes on the scale” or “open wide and close your mouth for the thermometer”. Luckily for us, two young moms stepped up to the plate and helped us out. It was hard to even explain how beautifully people can work together even when they speak very different languages. In addition it was amazing that these two ladies had such mothering qualities at such a young age.
As the clinic was wrapping up we were able (via an interpreter) to talk to our helpers more and learn about their personal lives. One of the young moms was only 13 years old and pregnant with her first child. She aspired to be a nurse, but with their living and financial situation, it was evident that might not be possible. It opened our eyes to the idea that we often take advantage of our education opportunities, and that because of poverty, people that could possibly cure cancer or invent a new way to conserve our resources are being held back from accomplishing something great!
All in all we had an amazing and life changing day. We leave with memories that will stick with us forever.
~ Katie and Tanja