Secondly, we were so happy to see that the community had built a new church made of cement since our last visit. The old church was very humble indeed with wood slats and it was very small. The new church in the same exact spot was designed by a local person and constructed with great effort. We could only imagine that they probably hand carried buckets of cement to built this church. Thus in this very poor community a new (almost completed) church is a sign of hope. We were grateful to once again use their church for our clinic.
Thirdly, we were most happy to see a great sign of hope in the faces of the people as they greeted us warmly and sincerely. This is one of the poorest communities we have ever served. The people tend to be shy and reserved. The last time we came 2 years ago, we felt that we needed to earn their trust. They didnt look us in the eye (a sign of respect in their culture). But more than that I think that they had not really had any Americans visit their community. They looked at us with wonder and perhaps a bit of fear. Today, they welcomed us with open hearts, big smiles and even expressed a sincere handshake and - Thank You. One woman told Nancy that people said that the MDP doctors were the best who had ever been in their village and that our medicine helped the people. The implicit endorsement showed in the faces of the people who came all day long for medical advice and assistance.
By the end of the day we had about 130 people who had consulted with us. (Colette still does not have a final count but should give us the information in the morning.) We saw some very poor people. Many older women did not have shoes. The cold mountain fog rolled in and it was bone chilling cold. The cold air rushed through the new windows which do not yet have glass. We all shivered but then we tried not to complain because these people had no shoes and they were often cold. We have served nearly 700 people total in our medical clinics thus far. In the morning we will have our final full group clinic. We look forwarď to helping others through our medical efforts.
And we are grateful that we could experience this sense of hope today. Hope in the people. Hope that their future will be better. Hope that our God who loves each of us will continue to wrap His loving arms around all of us as we do the best we can do each day.
-Helen Peterson and the team