Such an exciting, exhausting, exhilarating week… it’s going to be impossible to summarize – but I’ll give it a try.
Right now, my Delta flight is about 45 minutes south of Atlanta. The pilot is stepping on the gas a little bit, because we have a passenger who is going to be put right on an ambulance as soon as we land. I was not involved in his care, but I think he may be having some blood sugar issues. Hopefully, everything will work out fine for him and his family.
Our last couple of days have involved quite a bit of decompressing. As usual on Friday, we spent a little bit of time in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. The bus parked near the original home of Christopher Columbus’ brother, Diego. I had always wanted to see that area, so it worked out perfectly. Coincidentally, there was a nice little outdoor café where one of my new friends (Tammi) and I enjoyed a refreshing sangria. This group doesn’t have the strict “no drinking” rule that my ONU team has! Yay!
Once we got checked into our hotel for Friday night, we all immediately hit either the beach or the pool to get cooled off. Don’t get excited… we were not at any kind of a 5 star resort. Solid Rock has a strict budget to follow, and they do the best they can to get us the best accommodations possible. The rooms were ok, if a tad bit damp, and most of us had some kind of problems with either plumbing, linens or air conditioning. But hey – when you’ve spent the week working in the mountainous villages of a third world country, you really can’t complain about first world problems, right?
I am thankful to have bonded with quite a few people in this group… people who were complete strangers to me just one week ago! The nursing students from Neumann University were awesome. They soaked up every bit of knowledge and experience that came their way. They even latched on to the Breast Self-Exam teaching project that I always do in the D.R., performing the small group instruction in 3 villages while I was working in the operating room. Several of them asked if I could please move to Pennsylvania and be one of their instructors!
Speaking of Breast Self-Exam instruction, I am happy to note that this is the sixth trip during which I have continued this project in one way or another. Many, many Dominican Health Promoters have been taught to continue the teaching all through the year. I estimate that as many as 1,000 women in the Western Dominican Republic have been taught this life-saving skill. Solid Rock International has taken note, and is going to feature a story about this project in one of their upcoming newsletters.
Some of the more tech-savvy peeps in the group have created a photo-sharing file, and are going to create a photo book within the next week. During my Atlanta layover, I am going to try to upload my photos to their folders. I’m excited to be able to see the whole trip, and to share my photos with everyone, too. Plus… I get to have a copy of the book without doing all of the work to create it! Bonus!
It’s been an honor and a privilege to have served on my sixth Dominican mission trip. I hope to return in May 2018 to do more good work with more good people. Adios. Vaya con Dios.