We are working in a community building. In this village they are letting the older women go first. It is interesting also to notice that the pharmacy needs vary a great deal with each clinic. Some villages have a lot of gastrointestinal problems, some have major pain issues and some blood pressure or skin needs. In each case we are grateful to be able to help with a well thought out formulary which has been developed over the years. Special thanks to Dr. Bob Christensen and to Susan Peller and others who have been working especially carefully on this effort. We also thank everyone who has donated to MDP. Whether it is $5 or $1000, we use your donations to buy medicines to help these people feel better.
Once again today we decided not to take any actual clinic pictures as the people are quiet and reserved. The weather is nice and we are again next to a school and can hear the children playing soccer.
I mentioned that Lino is helping with intake. We also have our nurses Sherry Bobich and Colette Meidinger working at intake. Colette is a veteran MDP volunteer. This is her 5th MDP trip and her 2nd to Mexico. We all appreciate Colette for her gentleness, compassion and quiet, kind spirit. Colette has worked at the Wells Clinic for many years. She lives in Winnebago and along with her friends there is very devoted to MDP. Sherry comes to us from Chisholm. This is her first MDP trip, however she had been previously to Mexico on another misison trip and had helped at an orphanage. She brings a sweet, upbeat heart and a willingness to pitch in and embrace each day. Sherry recently retired after having worked at the Hibbing Clinic for many years.
The nurses greet the patients, take their vital information - blood pressure, weight etc. They are the first face of MDP. We are grateful for the excellent job they do. Next, the patients wait patiently to see the medical providers. Some have already walked for 2 or 3 hours to get here. They may wait for another 2 or 3 to see our doctors.
Each day our set up is different. We gather a few chairs, set up the phamacy and adjust according to the space we are offered to work in. Today, Nancy Linder, a family nurse practioner (who works out of the Wells and Winnebago Clinics and lives in rural Easton) is working with interpreter Val Ross, a graduate of St. Marys University who majored in Spanish and Biology. Val is currently working for the Red Cross. They also have an interpreter named Maria who translates from Spanish into the native Tseltal. Nancy has been on many MDP trips and is an enthusiastic, hardworker who has a great desire to serve. She was very involved in helping to organize this trip devoting countless hours to planning. She is always ready to help anyone and will go the extra mile to make sure that the very best effort is put forth. Her passion for this medical mission work is amazing. She also keeps the conversations interesting.
Val is a friend of Nancys daughter Megan who had worked in the MDP pharmacy in Mexico last year. Val attracts a lot of attention for her long, blonde hair. She is smart, patient and thoughtful and brings a caring attitude to each moment. She plans to go on to school and is in the process for applying for Physicians Assistant School.
Our next station has Dr. Aaron Johnson and interpreter Lia Price serving the patients. Aaron and his wife Jenna are parents of 7 wonderful children. In addition to being a doctor at the Wells and Winnebago Clinics, he is also a minister for his church. Aaron is a man of God who is so humble and a great servant. He also has a wonderful sense of humor and can be counted on to clean anyones plate.
Lia, is a member of the MDP Board. Lia lives in North Mankato and is a professional, certified medical interpreter. In addition to being a co-leader for our team, Lia serves as our head interpreter. Lia is passionate about our work and has been instrumental in making this dream of serving her people in Mexico a reality. She devotes countless hours developing contacts and the itinery for our trip, and hundreds of other details. We are so grateful for her presence, goodness and beautiful spirit. Even though she recently lost her dad in Gudalajara, she was able to step into this trip making everything just flawless. Along with Nancys help of course.
Our next station has Dr. Bob Christensen and interpreter Curtis Brown. Dr. Bob is a member of the MDP Board. He is a brilliant guy with a deep devotion to serve his fellow human being. He works as an emergency doctor at Rivers Edge Hospital Emergency Department in St. Peter. As previously mentioned Bob has worked hard to pull together many aspects of our medical piece. Bob cares about family, knowledge and doing the right thing. He is invaluable.
Curtis and his wife Rachel are the proud parents of 4 young boys. Curtis is in charge of economic develoment for the City of Urbandale, Iowa. He is a moral compass who exudes kindness. He constantly adds a goodness to our team. We feel it is a privelege to have Curtis on our team.
And our fourth team consists of Dr. Don Mersch and interpreter Thalia Taylor. Dr. Don is originally from Fairfax, MN. He had worked in Alaska in his early years of medical practice. In fact, he used to fly his float plane to land on the Yukon River to serve the people in remote areas. He said it is much like we are doing now - except that he didnt bring the amount of medicine along like we do. He worked in Hibbing for over 30 years and is now retired to Arizona. He found us on the internet and it is a great match! And coincidentally, Sherry Bobich who is serving on this trip was his nurse for many years. Dr. Don is a jovial, good hearted man who finds the nicest things to say to everyone. He has a very big heart.
Thalia Tayor is a veteran traveler with MDP. Thalia is retired and lives in St. Peter. She and her husband are world travelers. She is a wonderful interpreter and is a native speaker having grown up in Mexico. Thalia is a little dynamo who can lift everyones spirits with her great job and enthusiastic spirit. Everyone who travels with Thalia loves her!
Our doctors and interpreters work very hard to give their patients the very best of care. They so carefully work to help them and it is heartwarming to witness their compassion and care. Each day the interpreters and doctors might switch who they are working with but their dedication and devotion to serving those in need is always amazing.
And finally we have the pharmacy. We are responsible for unpacking our medicines each day according to their categories, We have pain, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, eye and ear, topicals, vitamins, alergy, inhalers, antibiotics, gastrointestinal parasite, injections, hypertension, diabetes and steriod medicines. In all we bring 10 suitcases filled with 55 different kinds of medicines. We prepackage a number of medicines such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, vitamins, Rinitidine and so forth with counts of 30 to 60 per plastic bag. Each bag is labeled with a Spanish label giving directions, their name and other information is also put on the label. We try to make it as close to the experience one might get in the U.S. Our days are spent counting, organizing and responding to the requests of our medical providers.
My co-helper on this trip in the pharmacy is Kyle Meidinger. His mom Colette is the nurse I previously wrote about. Kyle is Muscatine, Iowa and works at Musco Sports Lighting. They make the lighting for all of the major stadiums in the US and worldwide. In fact, they have lights at the Olympics in Russia. Kyles mom invited him to join us. He was not quite sure what he was getting into. Kyle has proven to be a very smart, hardworking and good natured guy. He is often one step ahead of me and I am very grateful for his excellent work during this trip! Kyle likes Harleys and Dr. Don even named the bright orange Ibuprofen which matched Kyles bright orange shirt - Kyles Harley Orange Pills.
The rain moved in late afternoon. We served 85 people. It was another good day. The village elder (and town founder) Ramiro thanked us for coming to their village. He said they were poor and had nothing to give us but a sincere thanks and asked us to please remember them. We sure will...
Well, it turned out to be a big post. I hope you enjoyed hearing about our team and how we work together. Many blessings to all of you!
- Helen Peterson