Today, our barrio group drove an hour over paved roads and then another hour over dirt and gravel roads to get to a tiny barrio called La Palma. From the gravel road on the mountain, we could see the river that divides the Dominican Republic from Haiti (Rio Artibonito) and just across the river, the stark brown mountains that form the Eastern border of Haiti.
We set up in a small clinic and were fortunate to have use of a triage room, 2 consultation rooms and a kitchen for the pharmacy team. Some people (myself included) walked up the road to do a home visit, and everyone else started seeing patients. I was a general supervisor today, and delegated duties to the ONU students and younger nurses. Pastor Enol referred to me as “Jefa”, which basically means “Lady Chief”.
This family walked and rode many miles to get to the clinic today.
We are soooo fortunate that we have Dr. Sandy Valdez working with us this week. I met Dr. Valdez on my first trip here, and we have maintained a beautiful friendship ever since then. Last year, he challenged me to improve my Spanish language skills, and I’m proud to say that he complimented my Spanish today. He noticed an improvement! Proud moment for me!
We took care of 100 people today in 3 hours… then it was back in the bus. We stopped in a small town called Pedro Santana, where the Dominican staff had made arrangements for a friend to prepare lunch for them. They shared their beans and rice with anyone who wanted to join them… delicious.
My feet felt like they were marinating inside my shoes, so when we returned to the guesthouse… I got the flip flops on and we took a walk to the barrio closest to the guesthouse. The children there are very aware of the Americanos that visit their neighborhood just about every week… and so they swarm us looking for horsey back rides, someone to play catch with, hands to hold and people to hug them. No problem… we took care of that… plus, they loved the lollipops and friendship bracelets that we had in our pockets for them!
So tonight is “vendor night” when local artisans bring their items for us to see. We have a tailor, 2 jewelry salesmen, and an artist. I’m not buying this year, but the choices are lovely. The larimar stone jewelry is especially beautiful. Larimar is a turquoise-looking stone that is only found in a very small area of the southern region of the Dominican Republic.
Tomorrow… we travel to El Cercado… the home of our little luvvy, Yasiri. Very excited to see her soon!