Chiapas, Mexico has been a place of blessings. Yesterday´s clinic at Napite was held outside in a pavilion type building. We saw many women and children with all the men waiting patiently in line until the end. They would not register to be seen until everyone else was finished. The children watch us with big brown eyes, not knowing if they should trust us to get too close. Some young girls giggle and laugh as we do vitals on everyone else, but are very willing for us to see them also. The ones who can speak a little English like giving us a bad time about not knowing Spanish. At the end of the visit there are many good byes and thank-you´s, a few hugs and many smiles. A very busy day and a feeling of touching many lives after seeing 110 patients made us exhausted. One of the men said he remembered the first MDP trip to Napite three years ago and was thankful to have us back. He hoped that it would not take three years for us to return again.
When we arrived at the village (that is walking ¾ of a mile at the end) it reminded me of Wyoming. It was a beautiful and scenic place, with trees, mountains, red soil, horses, sheep, cows and corn fields.
With clinic outside we are able to view community life. The school looked relatively new and the children were all happy to be studying and of course to have recess. After school they run and play everywhere. But they are also responsible for carrying the water to the household. The young boys we saw carrying 10 gallon containers of water were between 5 – 10 years old. This seems like hard work, but it is their way of life.
As always we see the faith that is the center of their lives and the thankfulness in what little we can do for them. We have been truly blessed during this trip.
We have wrapped up our last clinic today and served a total of 712 patients during this medical mission trip! It is the most our organization has ever served in one trip and we are grateful for the many people who helped us help others. There will be many stories to be shared by our team members and we will try to post them soon for you. Here are a few pictures with more to come soon also.
We have had very busy days and are happy to relate that we have served a total of 554 patients, with two clinic days to go! Each day as we set up we wonder if there will be many patients. The villages are small. And each day the people come all day long. There is never an end to the line until we announce that we are done taking patients. We extend our work day and always add patients at the end. Many have walked an hour or two to get to our clinic. The people are very grateful. They work hard and do the best they can. One man with terrible knees was among our first patients yesterday. Nancy was the treating provider and she marveled how he had even walked at all. His journey was two hours through the mountains. She gave him some relief with injections. Alex, who is a professional photographer took a few pictures of him which we hope to share. I watched women washing clothes by hand for hours. Sheep, mostly black grazed all about. We worked hard and it was a good day. I will write more soon. I am at an internet cafe and they close in 3 minutes. Thanks
We will try to catch up with our blog. Internet service has been difficult for us to access. We held another clinic at the monastery building in Tectapan on Sunday afternoon and served another 105 patients bringing the total to 361 so far. Today we feature some thoughts from Jodi and Colette! ~ Helen
Day 2 at Juan San Bista by Colette
We started the day with a surreal 1.5 hour drive up curvy rain soaked lightly graveled roads in a fog and light mist. Arriving in Juan San Bista we were greeted by approximately 50 patients waiting at the clinic building. With willing hands of help from the men of the community we had the clinic set up in no time. It is amazing how well 2 doctors and 2 nurse practitioners each with their interpreters can work in the same room and yet it feels like they each have their own “office.” The 106 patients varied from children to geriatrics with a multitude of problems. Even with the communication barrier it is possible to communicate the love and caring between us as children of God. ~ Colette Meidinger
Jodi's Reflection After After a successful day in clinic we were served a delicious meal at the convent house and then held a team meeting to critique our day and offer suggestions to improve our efficiency. Even though our goal is to help one patient at a time, we hope to see as many as possible.
The little children with big brown eyes let us give them medicines that sometimes taste horrible. Parents trust us to care for their loved ones, young or old. Their eyes watch us as we work and ears listen, even if they don’t understand. Lia, Thalia, Alex, and Emma, our interpreters are an important part of the body of the mission team. They are not only helping the patients, they are assuring we communicate as a team centered around the people in need.
The people accept and respect us. They stand in line for hours, in the rain, just to be checked into the clinic. Next they stand or sit patiently waiting to have vitals taken by the nurses. Then they wait again to actually see the medical providers. This is definitely a lesson in patience for our team. Discharge instructions with dispensing of medicines can be challenging, but we pray we have understood their needs and addressed a treatment, solution or explanation to that need.
We think of our families at home often. Yet we hope and pray that if the tables were turned and we were the ones in need that someone would be willing to give up their time to help and care for us.
I had never understood the depth of the emotional involvement of a mission trip. I thought it would be a great opportunity to help people, especially since I am a nurse, but truly after 2 MDP experiences it is not the people of Chiapas who are blessed. It is those of us who have been blessed by them. ~ Jodi Volz
3rd Day By Colette
We started with a shorter drive today to the town of Naranjo for clinic. Our clinic was set up in a narrow educational annex to the Catholic Church. After assessing all the options we ended up with a smooth running clinic. We felt we were at the Ritz as we were able to utilize a back room for a private consult room and had an “el bano” on site. The provider offices were able to be separated from the nurse’s station and pharmacy by a curtain for even more privacy, even if the provider offices were the width of a plastic chair away from each other. We are always mindful of HIPPA. There was a constant flow of patients through the nurse’s station with at least 20 patients standing at the door for their number to be called all day. Again we see the need for health care in this area as it was softly raining all day as these people waited outside as there was no room in the annex for anyone extra. We had a beautiful view of the town from the church lot as it was one of the highest areas in the town. It was another busy day with 103 patients and as always so hard at the end of the day to send the last ones away without being seen. We have never been so “blessed” as we have been here. We receive cheek kisses, hugs, handshakes, verbal “God Bless You” and goodbyes with handshakes as many leave after receiving encouragement, new glasses, medications and the reassurance that we care.
Megan and Helen are getting the pharmacy in tip top shape! Fact is, Helen has promoted Megan to Chief Pharmacy Tech already. The third day at clinic and we have a promotion, that is how well things are flowing together.
As we are enjoying the warm weather and warm love from the people here, we do miss our families and wish they could see this out pouring of love. We don’t miss the cold temperatures we are hearing about in Minnesota. From Nancy, Aaron and Colette - A special thank you to the staff at the UHD Clinics in Wells in Winnebago for sending us on this trip with encouragement and prayers, we think of you often and wish you well in our absence. ~Colette
Dear Friends and Family,
Our days have been flying by fast! This is a quick post on Sunday morning before we head out for breakfast and Church. We are sorry not to have shared our journey during these past couple of days. There has been no internet service available even though we have tried numerous times to send a blog message home. Today I asked (begged politely in that universal language of smiles and gestures) to use the hotel computer. As you can see the gentleman tending to the front desk kindly obliged. We will share several blogs soon, perhaps even later today. Everyone on our team is feeling well, in good spirits, working hard and joining in the laughter which erupts regularly. (Things got a little heated at our Bannanograms game last night but all in good fun!) We will try to post some more pictures too. There will be another clinic today in the monastery where we were the other day. That last couple of days have been at villages out in the mountains. Two days ago we traveled over one and a half hours away and yesterday it was over an hour. People come in droves and we work as fast as we can but of course are sad when we have to turn people away at the end of the day. The need is great and the sincere appreciation of these gentle, beautiful people is really heartwarming. We will share more soon.
~ Helen Peterson
We left Minnesota early yesterday and after a very long day of travel arrived at the Oasis Del La Cruz Retreat House at 11:30 p.m. where we enjoyed a wonderful supper and a restful night. Today we traveled on through fog and drizzle to Tecpatan where we checked into our hotel, ate lunch with the Sisters and then set up and conducted our first clinic in a beautiful old building which once was a monastery. We started clinic at 2 p.m. and by the time we finished at 6 p.m. we had seen 47 patients. We will post pictures soon. The internet service is a bit slow compared to what we are used to.
Yesterday a number of our team members met at the home of Lia Price and spent about 6 hours organizing medicines and supplies, counting pills and boxes, making lists, and preparing our suitcases filled with medicines and supplies for our upcoming medical mission trip to Mexico. We leave on Wednesday morning, January 30th and hope to provide 6 clinic days for people in remote villages in Southern Mexico!
2013 MDP Mexico Team
Team Co-Leaders: Lia Price, Interpreter & Nancy Linder, Nurse Practitioner