A Story from Mayra Taylor, Spanish Interpreter
The story of our oldest patient yet, a 90-year-old woman, touched my heart. We met her during our 6th day of clinic (Thursday, February 25th) at a community called Los Llanos, near San Cristóbal de Las Casas. She had lost an eye while working in the fields, her other eye was failing her. Her leathery skin had scabs and rashes and her feet were covered with layers of dirt. She was tired and ridden with pain due to arthritis, but when she was offered the knee injections, she was hopeful that they would allow her to walk pain-free for a few weeks or perhaps months. Through the Tzotzil interpreter, we learned that she lives alone and is totally self-sufficient: she cooks, cleans, and tends to the sheep, which she pastures herself. In this way, she is able to get some income for her subsistence.
Her posture was erect, her hair was neatly braided and her clothes were perfectly clean. She carried with her a surprising mix of circumstances and traits. Her pain, her poverty and her apparent loneliness on the one hand, and on the other, a strong will to thrive despite these limitations. She was beautiful and admirable.
Final Thoughts from Lía Price
This was MDP’s 8th trip to Chiapas, México. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the tireless work of every volunteer and the amazing collaboration of our many contacts in Chiapas, since 2010, MDP has traveled to this southern region in México eight times. One could think that after so many trips things become a little routine and that nothing could surprise us anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth! We continue to be blessed with stories like Mayra’s, spellbound by the gorgeous vistas we encounter en route to and from the communities, the delicious food, the old and new friends who support us there, the sense of wonder in front of the experiences of our first-time volunteers, as well as the nostalgia awakened in every one of the returning volunteers.
In particular, during this trip, I was keenly aware of the robust and growing relationships between the people in Chiapas and us volunteers. Without these friends, MDP would not be able to effectively bring help to the many communities we serve. Below is a bit about each of them.
Each one of the over 35 workers and volunteers in Chiapas has indeed become like family to MDP. They welcome us with hugs and smiles; they express their thankfulness profusely and always ask us to come back – to not forget them and their people. As I look back on our days in Chiapas with profound gratitude, I can see the hand of God gathering each of us volunteers and workers to be His instruments. He leads us hand-in-hand along the way to serve. It’s a beautiful path!
To watch the slide show move your cursor over the picture and click the triangle near "play" and it will automatically advance through the show.!
Feb 26, 2016
By Nancy Linder
Behind every face is a story waiting to be told………
Every day we come upon a patient or a family member with a facial expression that you can just tell has a story behind it.
Many of our patients present to clinic with chronic pain, skin problems, acute illness and chronic medical problems related to poverty. After these problems have been addressed, we sometimes see in their eyes and facial expression a potential problem, sadness, loss, or personal problem that they feel is insignificant. There is often a story that may be related to the medical problems they present with, or a personal experience that that burdens them day to day.
For example, we heard the stories from many mothers who lost an infant during the first days or months of life many times due to home deliveries or lack of health care. The 65 year old women we took care of who was suffering from paralysis, and an inability to talk , the loss of independence and the frustration of her life as the result of a stroke eight years prior. On a cold day in clinic, a 60 year old woman was noted to be bare footed, and in further discussion, she told the doctor she has never owned a pair of shoes. The widowed women working in the fields because they lost their husbands prematurely and but need to support their children. Yes, every face has a story. Many times we just need let them tell us their story…
Feb 27, 2016
By Carol Ries
A forgotten village… full of gratitude. Los Llanos sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by majestic, rugged mountains. The lovely surroundings provide a stark contrast to the abject poverty and isolation of the people who live there. Many members of this community speak Tzotzil, so individuals from the community who could speak Spanish and Tzotzil volunteered to interpret for our team’s Spanish interpreters. Maria, a volunteer from Caritas, has graciously volunteered for several days to interpret from Tzotzil to Spanish and has worked side by side with our MDP team - often working long hours on her arthritic knees - but always with a cheerful countenance and a spirit of solidarity with the people in the communities we have served. At the end of our clinic today, the community leader of Los Llanos spoke to our team in gratitude for our service. He reminded us not to forget them and shared his hope that MDP would return to Los Llanos again and again to help their community members. MDP team members were grateful for the opportunity to once again serve the people of Los Llanos and continue to be reminded of the face of God in each individual we encounter on this mission trip.
Feb 23, 2016
by Carol Ries, Colette Miedinger and Nancy Linder
Today was truly a display of how determination, patience and persistence over the past three years has positively impacted a young widowed father and his two young girls. As many of you know, Don Layo was the past recipient of a new arm prosthesis last year with the help of MDP and a generous donation from Prosthetic Laboratories and the assistance of Mike Schulenberg from Mankato, MN.
Don Layo visited our team the night of our arrival at Coapilla. With a big smile on his face, proudly sporting his new prosthesis on his left arm ,he reported to us how well it has been working for him this past year. The prosthesis fits well, he has no skin irritation and it functions very well for him.
It’s wonderful to see his gratitude and how he is “Paying It Forward” by volunteering his time to help MDP all day during some of clinics in the Coapilla area.
Today reminds us of a saying by Mother Theresa: “ Good works are links that form a chain of love….”
February 24, 2016
By Lauren Stevermer
I was asked to go on an MDP trip in December and I jumped at the opportunity to go. My Aunt Nancy has gone on many previous trips and is always talking about how wonderful they are. I was happy to be in a place where in my life that allowed me to be part of this team.
It’s amazing how much 11 people can do in one day; There have been days where we have served over 100 people and everyone still has a smile on their face at the end of the day. This trip has been an unforgettable experience and it’s great to see the difference we are able to make in a community in one day.
Today we were fortunate enough to wake up in the beautiful and vibrant city of San Cristobal. After a few days in a remote, little village it was a nice change of pace.
For clinic today, we traveled for about an hour until we reached a village in the mountains with a population of approximately 130 people. Even though it was a small community, when we arrived we were greeted with an already formed line of patients eagerly waiting to be seen by our providers. This was the first time MDP has visited and done a clinic in the community of Manzanillo. This clinic day tested the patience of many as we had to translate from English to Spanish to Tzotzile and then back to English again. Sometimes one has to wonder if we lose any information in any of the translations.
This remote area was certainly an area with a lot of need due to a very limited access to health care.
en Lia Price, Co-Team Leader and Interpreter