On the DR Medical Trip.
“A picture is worth a 1000 words” is a common saying that most of us have heard throughout our lives, and many of us live by it. However, being a part of Hero Holiday has made me realize that sometimes this is not the case. There is nothing like having the first-hand experience, meeting eye-to-eye with the people that we would normally see in these pictures. After just one day of being on the Hero Holiday, I have already learned and experienced more then I could ever have dreamed of. Our first work day started off with a visit to the Public Hospital, where each and every one of us realized how grateful we are for the health care system we have back in Canada. The health care here is not even comparable to what we provide and receive, and what we most often take for granted. Just by walking into the hospital, you can tell how un-sterile the building is, how crowded and unorganized the health care system is, and how it can all be improved through a little education and help from others. The files containing patient information and medical history are thrown in garbage bags lined up along the floor, people are piled together waiting to get into the emergency and see a doctor, and at times the maternity ward is so crowded, women have to deliver their babies on garbage bag covered tables. Here there are not enough nurses to tend on the patients, so family members must stay with them. Each family must provide the patients with bed sheets, food, water, any prescribed medications (right down to gauze) and anything else they may require throughout their stay. This often places a burden on the family, not only because they have a family member in the hospital, but they lose the day of wages because they must take care and provide for the patient throughout their stay. Also, the main thing we realized while visiting the hospital, was how un-sterile all of the equipment and the building is. The walls often contain mold and residue, and the procedures carried out by doctors and nurses, including the equipment used to perform these procedures, are often done without being properly sterilized. This poses a huge risk to the patients, and this is often something we do not recognize when we go to the hospital, since we think it is common sense and comes as a second nature to us. The hospital experience was completely unexpected, and I could have never imagined it to be as different as what we have. Our second task for the day was to help build a wall at Cangrejo between a school and a wood shop. The wall had to be built in order for the school to be a recognized place of education by the government, and we were there to help! We had to make cement without any machines, and carry the buckets of cement and blocks for the wall down over an incline. It was very hard work, in very hot weather, and we were very tired only after a couple hours. The Dominican workers whom we worked along side of, however, did no complaining, and when asked if they were tired, they laughed and said “No!”. This experience was amazing, and really made me appreciate my jobs back in Canada. These people do strenuous work every day, for very little, if any, money. I cannot express the appreciation I have for these individuals, and by helping them for just a couple hours, they appreciated us.Just one day with Hero Holiday has already changed my life forever, and the things that I have experienced I will take back to Canada, more specifically Newfoundland (where I am from), and I will make it my priority to make as many people aware and involved as possible, since just a little bit of help can go a long way!~ Samantha