Barefoot children twelve to eighteen months old walk up the slopes much better than we could with hiking boots. They all stare at us as we drive into the village on rough, rocky roads. Many did not know that we were coming. Lia shouts out the window “Doctors.” And we wave out the window. Then they wave back!
Our clinic is in an old wood shed-like building which serves as their church with a small altar and wooden pews. It has a dirt floor which is covered with pine needles. I sit outside for intake so that there will be enough room inside for the providers and pharmacy workers. It is a beautiful day. I am wearing scrub pants and a short sleeved shirt. The villagers are wearing wool skirts, shawls, sweaters and have bare feet or sandals. Padre (a priest who drove out with us from San Cristobal) has a winter coat on with his hood up. He can’t believe that I am not freezing and shakes his head. Obviously he does not know Minnesota – or me!
This village is even poorer than the last. Mothers nurse their children whenever the child fusses and have them wrapped in a sling on their side. As long as we keep our distance, it’s OK. But when I check their temperature they look fearful.
Like yesterday, we wonder what they think of us. I have sunglasses on and that is something they all need but we never see any of them wear. Most of the children are under 18 months. The others are in school. The older ones are working.
It is so peaceful. I don’t think they go by time like we do, only by the sun. Do they just eat when they are hungry? They work hard but are not on the clock like we always are – the almighty dollar being the priority in America. I wonder how I will feel when I return home…
Bob and Lia saw a pregnant girl who was about 8 months along. I checked her baby’s fetal heart tones which she could hear. She looked amazed when she found out that it was the baby’s heartbeat. This is something that we do at work every day. It is always exciting to hear it. But in this remote village it is nothing short of a miracle!
Wednesday – We returned to Los Llanos, the place we were on Monday. The village people must have been talking because the people look less threatened and more at ease today. Some were happy to have me get my camera and smiled once again after seeing the images captured on the digital display.
Our providers and interpreters continue to work hard and stay devoted to the patient they are with at the time. We can see the emotion and concern in their faces.
The people are cold since it is a windy day. They stay wrapped up and remain patient.
Our prayer devotion this morning by Luke, Curtis and Nancy was appropriate. It told of our team working as one body. We need each other to get the job done. Curtis described each of us; our strengths and what we bring to our team. We have surpassed goals and expectations. This only increases our willingness to provide for the needy.
Helen works so hard to post our blog. She is caring and brings out the best in us. She can see the “whole picture.” What she adds to our story will be another reminder in days to come; not that we will ever forget some of the faces.
A lesson that continues to be confirmed no matter where you are in the world is that a smile opens up the heart. It validates others and lets them feel acknowledged. After all it might be the only smile they see all day. Your face may be remembered and give someone hope; hope that they may not have had before.