The Dallas tycoon and creator of the Shrine to Gratitude, Peter Stewart once said: “Gratitude should be an action, a spur to helping others, not just a feeling”.
An aspect that often goes unmentioned in our blogs is how the team members bond during the trip and how often they serve each other and express thoughtfulness in moving ways. Like the night when Jen brought a cup of hot tea to a couple of us that had been feeling a bit under the weather that day. This simple but beautiful gesture is magnified when you take into consideration that our hotel rooms were on a third floor, in a building with no elevator, at an altitude of over 7,200 ft! Several times through out our day I would hear team members offering each other help carrying things, sharing food, praising an effort, thanking another for a favor done, smiling in appreciation…
Gratitude was a common theme during our daily morning reflections and prayers. “Thank you” and “may God bless you” were always the last words we heard from the people we served in the different communities. Appreciative words, smiles, hugs and kisses, even a dinner party and traditional dance program as well as gifts at times (See the blog post titled “Saying Goodbye to the Nuns” from Feb. 27) were part of the heart warming good-bye rituals we experienced at the end of each clinic day.
How is this possible? What drives a person to focus on what is a blessing in the face of so much need and so much suffering, whether the suffering is witnessed or personally suffered? It is God’s Grace made present, I think. What a beautiful gift! May the memory and the feeling of His gift remain in the hearts of every volunteer, their families’ hearts and the hearts of all those who made our eleventh trip to Chiapas possible.
Visual instructions made by Katie to help our patients understand the importance of water intake with foods rich in potassium and sodium to prevent symptoms related to dehydration when working outside on hot days. Her instructions included the importance of boiling water at night for use the next day. Boiling water helps prevent patients from getting amoebas and giardia from contaminated water.
March 3 & 4, 2018
Dr. Carolina Gordillo-Pablo kindly volunteered her time with MDP during our four days of clinic around San Cristobal de Las Casas. She shared the following thoughts on serving alongside our team. The following is a translation of what she wrote during our last day of clinic in the Community of Manzanillo:
First of all, I’d like to express my heartfelt appreciation for this great project [MDP Medical Mission Trips to Chiapas], for the help to my people while you visited some of the “tiny corners” of Chiapas. I keep all the lessons learned, they will become stories and experiences tomorrow.
Thank you for allowing me to get to know a little bit of your great heart, and for being so kind to my people. I hope you in turn, take a little bit of Chiapas with you.
Thank you for being here, I hope you continue to come since there are still other “tiny corners” of Chiapas that await your help.
Thanks to each one of you for sharing a little bit of your lives with me. Each one of you will remain in my heart. I hope one day soon we will meet again on the path of solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Chiapas.
A huge hug to each one of you and my wishes for success in everything you do. May this project will continue to blossom.
May you continue to be Minnesota Doctors for People.
Welcome to Tenejapa! We made it into town with record time and set up clinic in the church’s rectory. There weren’t as many patients today, which allowed us to take a fun break and join the women in the kitchen of the church for a little tutorial on how to make fresh corn tortillas. Thalia has earned the name of “Little princess” on our trip and all she is missing is her tiara. She jumped at the opportunity to help make the corn tortillas and was dancing in the kitchen while doing so. When my turn came, I quickly found out that the tortillas were harder to make than I thought – you need just the right pressure used for the press, and the right touch lying the tortilla on the hot pan…more of an art than I thought and the “little princess” informed me I was fired from the job, ha! A little more practice will make perfect! : ) The rest of the team enjoyed a cup of coffee for the quick break with the entertainment and smells were welcomed throughout the clinic.
Dr. Carol (Carolina), who completed her medical degree in Cuba, and her sister Angelina joined our team. Dr. Carol had been helping us in clinic seeing patients with us since yesterday and will be helping us during the remaining days of clinic. It is great to have a local Doctor helping on the team and serving the people!
Sometimes you have to break the law…and see one more person! Each day at clinic we set out with an idea of how many people we might be able to see that day – time with each patient varies from day to day, but on average we are able to see 40-60. Today we saw 61. It is difficult to have to turn patients away, but is necessary for the safe travel of the team.
As we came into Pajalton Alto we were welcomed by steep hills, rows of cabbages, a rabbit farm, women wrapped in sheep skin skirts, and gazes of curiosity. The beautiful cemetery that sat on the hilltop was striking with a tall row of blue wooden crosses. The progress that has been made here is tremendous from the stories of the team who have been here in the past.
Clinic was set up in the local church, which was completed in 2015 and dedicated to St. Matthew (Hermit San Mateo). The welcoming smiles of the locals never get old and bring about a greater sense of connection despite the language barrier. We did another physical therapy demo, which seems to make the locals laugh from young to old. It was a strike contrast being in the city markets that lined the outside of the churches in San Cristobal to be serving the community of Pajalton Alto inside the church.
Dr. Rich Peller - Mankato, MN