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Not All Who Wander Are Lost… Everything you ever wanted to know about my Dominican mission work

Serving the Barrio of Cabeza de Toro

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Before I tell my stories from today, I have to tell the best (non-Yasiri) thing I saw yesterday… a truck full of cages of chickens, driving through the city playing “ice cream truck” music! who would’ve thought… in the DR, they have a chicken truck!

Also, (insert happy dance) the President of the DR visited this area today, so guess what??? The water came back on! Yay… no more bucket showers! Now we just do a regular “military shower”, which will seem like a huge luxury! Also, in honor of his visit, the electricity managed to stay on all day, rather than the 4 hours on/4 hours off routine they normally keep.

So, today 19 Americans and 10 Dominicans visited the barrio named for the “head of the bull”. We screened and treated 104 people by 3 p.m., giving out needed medications, vitamins, shoes and hygiene supplies. Hypertension, parasites, and fungal infections were the most common problems.

Hypertension is rampant here.  This man in his 50's has already had a stroke!

Hypertension is rampant here. This man in his 50’s has already had a stroke!

The people of this village hadn’t been visited by a mission group in 2 years, so we also provided “de-worming” medications. This process is tracked by the local doctors, and they make sure re-dosing is scheduled when needed. Also, indoor plumbing is rare in these villages, so the women carry water from the river to their homes.

Carrying the day's water from the river.

Carrying the day’s water from the river.

The first half of the day I worked in the Pharmacy station, which always has to be managed by a licensed person of some kind… pharmacist, physician or nurse.

For my SRMC surgery peeps... our white bags in use in the Pharmacy station!

For my SRMC surgery peeps… our white bags in use in the Pharmacy station!

After lunch, a bunch of us took a walk about 200 yards to the river and spent some time just admiring the beautiful setting. Everywhere we go, we are joined by a group of children, and this trek was no different. Just before we came back for the afternoon’s work, Stephanie and I posed with a group of children. I noticed that one little girl (Luisa) was being blocked, so I picked her up, which made the other children laugh and jeer. I couldn’t figure out what THAT was all about until I realized that she was Haitian. The relationship between the Dominicans and the Haitians isn’t very friendly at all…and apparently this carries all the way down to the small children. I feel sad for that little sweetheart.

By the river, not far from our "clinica" today.

By the river, not far from our “clinica” today.

After lunch, my job was to direct people from the post-triage waiting area to the doctors’ area. I got to stand by a window with a breeze, so that wasn’t a bad assignment! After a quick trip down the road to Casa de Rosita (Rosita’s house) where we were invited to use the indoor toilet, and an unexpected “de-antifying” (get the ants out) of our backpacks… we were back on the bus for the return trip to San Juan. Right now, all our suitcases and shoes are up on the beds, just in case the rainwater flows into the guesthouse dorm rooms… but it looks like the rain is slowing down, so we might stay dry tonight after all!

The community church that housed our clinic today.

The community church that housed our clinic today.

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2 thoughts on “Serving the Barrio of Cabeza de Toro

  1. You guys are the best…I anxiously await each day to see your blogs!

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