We began our day with prayer down by the beautiful lake a few blocks from our hotel. We reflected on seeing and feeling God’s presence in all of creation. Chef William made us breakfast at the convent featuring Mexican scrambled eggs, toast, tortillas, fruit and fresh juice, so we haven’t been roughing it too much. And it was off to San Juan again. It’s the same village we began our mission work at on Sunday. They also threw us a big celebration last night in which they set our chairs and tables in the middle of the street and the villagers came to honor us. The mayor hired a marimba band which was delivered in the back of the police pickup truck and we all moved to the happy sounds outdoors under the stars. Once in a while a little bit of cloud mist moved in and we felt the chill of the mountain. Everyone enjoyed watching two toddlers show off their dancing skills. To top it off they served us some chicken and specially prepared foods. We were a little nervous about eating the food worried that we might get sick as we are not used to their water – but we are all feeling well. Good is Good!
The clinic ran smoothly today. Everyone is comfortable and confident and a team player. The people we serve are so gentle and sweet. They patiently wait for hours and our doctors are so compassionate and caring. Pain, infections, allergies, and skin problems are probably the top reasons patients have been coming to us today. We are able to help most of them.
Did we mention the weather has been near perfect? Coming from the iceboxes of Minnesota and Wisconsin we should perhaps muster up a bit of guilt. We’ll have to work on that!
Luke Peikert is my pharmacy partner. He is a senior in high school and brings a lot of energy to our group. He is finding that putting his 6 years of Spanish classes to use is a fun challenge. Besides being an expert pharmacy tech already, he has helped to interpret, played soccer with the kids and assisted doctors with injections in joints and knees. He is thinking about being a doctor some day and by all accounts it’s a “two thumbs” up!
Luke’s dad Dr. Johann Peikert is a dermatologist. He majored in Spanish for his undergraduate degree and does his own interpreting. He has been stationed next to the pharmacy for the last two days and it is a joy hearing him speak to his patients with great kindness and wisdom.
I’ll talk more about the rest of our team members on future posts. Before I sign out for this entry, here are a few random thoughts… yesterday we stopped at a roadside gas station. The gas was in big yellow well worn plastic jugs which they brought it over to the van and poured from. I mentioned getting a receipt and the team members laughed as that would not be happening… The Sisters who are hosting us came to the area from Mexico City about ten years ago as missionaries. They are so sweet and lovely. The people highly respect and love them. … The four doctors on the trip all were friends in college. Cathy Davis and Johann Peikert attended Gustavus at the same time. Rich Peller, Patrick O’Reilly, Johann and Cathy all attended the University of Minnesota at the same time. The guys were all in medical school and Cathy who went on to Mayo Medical School was in graduate school at the U at the time, so they have been long time friends. In fact Drs. O’Reilly, Peller and Peikert were all next to each other alphabetically in their class at the U and their lockers were right in a row. Being good friends we have certainly been enjoying an extra dose of their humor!
Well it’s time to sign off. We served 119 patients today working from9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the people were pleased. Luke, Cathy and Dawn made some great friends with the children. One little boy cried when it was time to go home. As you may imagine we are a bit tired. The Missionary Sisters of the Heart of the Eucharist of Jesus Christ the KIng served us a tasty Mexican Taquito meal for supper. We thank you all for your prayers and love!