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

Lord help me, there’s a hungry kitten…

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I’m sure I’ll have a photo or 2 with the little fella, but not right now.  Suffice it to say that my roommates/grown up travel partners/friends have been instructed to NOT let me get emotionally attached to the kitten who found his way to the door of the dining room.  Ps… he likes shredded cheese!

But I digress…

Yesterday was all about driving about 3 hours from the city of Santo Domingo to San Juan de la Maguana.  There was a huge protest against government corruption in one of the regions along the way, so our usual rest stop was packed and traffic was blocked on some streets.  No worries, though.  Our 2 busses and the pickup truck made it here just fine.


Here’s a street vendor selling eggplant.  Lots of these people along the road.

I was so happy to get warm welcoming hugs from the Solid Rock Staff I’ve worked with here before.  Bienva, Laura, Nicole, Hector, Nef and of course mi Dominicano medico favorito (favorite Dominican doctor) Dr. Sandy Valdez are all like family to me here.

We had a detailed orientation session at lunch time including review of the rules, schedule, and our roles in the barrio (villages) and clinic.  Then, the hot and sweaty work began… we took all the donated items from the 30 + suitcases and organized them by contents, day and destination.  Many times people ask why we just don’t do this step before we leave… well, I’ll tell you.  We can’t risk losing the contents of one whole suitcase.  In other words, if we packed all the blood pressure meds together, or all the hygiene supplies for one day together, and that suitcase got lost or destroyed, we’d have a problem.  So instead, we spread all the items among the 30 suitcases at home.  That way if one is lost, we haven’t lost a huge amount of any one particular item.


Sorting the donations into suitcases for the upcoming week!

Thanks to our friends and kind donors, we have a fully stocked pharmacy box as well as 2 huge suitcases of hygiene items and one of children’s items (toys, coloring books, crayons, jump ropes, beads, balls, etc) for each village that we visit.  When the suitcases are empty, they will be left with a village official (minister or school principal) who will see that they are given to people who can use them in their homes.  They really don’t have much furniture here, so the suitcases are very valued as dressers or storage boxes.

At 7pm last night, we were driven a few miles into the city to attend church services.  Half of the people went to the beautiful Catholic cathedral and half attended the contemporary music and message service at the Mennonite Church.


Home sweet home for the next week!

Today, we will have breakfast at 6:45, then load up the vehicles to head out to the local high school to teach physical assessment skills to the nursing students, the construction site of the new medical clinic (I opted out of construction detail) and to a remote village (barrio) to set up a mobile medical clinic.   Each day, the pharmacy at the barrio clinics dispenses medications for about 200 patients.  A licensed professional is required to check each prescription before it is handed to the patient.  Today, my friend Kristen and I will be doing that job.

Not sure what the evening will bring, but I hope to talk a walk through the barrio behind the guesthouse, where it’s always fun to interact with the kiddos.

I will be anxious to find out what kind of chemical reaction occurs with the combination of Anti-Monkey-Butt powder (with calamine lotion) and bug spray.  I might end up with concrete or some kind of crazy paste in some uncomfortable skin folds!  We’ll see!


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