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

Barking spiders, barking dogs and election hubbub…

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So, around bed time last night, my roommates and I got a knock on the door from our next door neighbors. There was a huge tarantula in their room and apparently we were supposed to do something about it! Nope… we have 4 big, strong college age guys here. We stayed in our room!

Turns out the spider was the size of a person’s hand, and it’s now smooshed beyond recognition.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is one of my roomies is a little “un-trusting” of spiders and had a hard time convincing herself to relax knowing that such big creatures lived in the neighborhood.

In past years, I’ve written quite a bit about the loud roosters in the barrio just behind the guesthouse.  With no A/C and the windows open, the roosters are pretty easy to hear, and they don’t pay attention to the concept of only crowing at sunrise.  Well, this year, the roosters actually slept in a little bit.  Probably because they were so tired from being kept up all night by the pack of barking dogs.  Dominicans don’t really keep their dogs inside all night, in comfy little oval shaped doggie beds.  The dogs pretty much roam all over the place day and night.  Something got them wound up last night at about 2 a.m. and again at about 4 a.m.  Oh well, probably had to get up and go to the bathroom anyways!

Every 4 years they have national elections here in the D.R.  They are held on a Sunday (yesterday) and winners are announced on Monday.  People stay home from work on Monday to wait for the results and to parade through the streets celebrating their candidate’s success.  It turns out Mr. Danilo has been re-elected, and his supporters are loudly enjoying his victory.  Not expecting a quiet night tonight, either!

Today, our barrio work was done in El Cajuil (The Cashew), which is about 40 minutes south of San Juan de la Maguana.  We set up in a very nice little church, and saw over 150 people. As usual, most common ailments were high blood pressure, skin fungus, and upset stomach.

Early in the day, I made friends with an 85 year old man named Ramino.  He was the sweetest, smiley-est old fella you’ve ever seen.  When I told him I didn’t believe he was 85, he produced a driver’s license to prove it to me!


A little bit later in the day, my friend Ramino surprised me by coming back to the church with a big box, carefully wrapped with blue plastic and white string. He handed it to me and gave me a hug. It was freshly picked fruit from his trees. Does it get any better than that? No. I don’t think so!


In past years, I’ve noticed a supply of eye glasses in the pharmacy storage area here at Clinica Christiana. I wasn’t sure if those glasses were discarded prescription glasses, or not… so I borrowed the idea and decided to bring a whole bunch of “cheater” glasses with me. I got them at a bargain price, so I figured it was worth a little money to see if readers were in high demand here. Turns out, they are. One of our barrio doctors today, Dr. Boris, made it his personal mission to make sure everyone over 40 had a chance to get glasses if they needed them. Lots of people left the barrio clinic with extra big smiles on their faces today.


Note to self: Next year, bring as many cheaters as you can possibly collect!

Also, to the people who donated the boxes of dental floss for us to bring with us… Thank You! We gave personal hygiene supplies to everyone today, as usual… but the floss was in high demand amongst the Americans, too. Ripe mangos, fresh off the tree are a wonderfully refreshing, yet sloppy treat… AND the fibers tend to get stuck in your teeth. Minty fresh dental floss to the rescue!

Tomorrow, most people will be going to a near-by barrio for another day of clinics. Several of us will stay behind to prepare for our afternoon education session. We need to go to the grocery store and get snacks for the day, as well as the Pharmacy to replenish several of the meds that we used up today. We’re looking forward to doing some training of local health educators… giving them valuable information and materials to take back to their villages. It promises to be a fun and rewarding day!







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