It really doesn't feel like only day two. It feels like we've been here for a while already! We've done so much work so far.
Today we were in a community called Santa Maria Ostuma. I don't have a final count, but medical was around 570. The mayor and other dignitaries were there to greet us with a little speech and a plaque. They put in a lot of prep work to make things run smoothly. We set up in some community spaces, not sure exactly what they were before we moved in, but it was not a school. The rooms were much larger and, thankfully, cooler than yesterday's.
Our day went fairly smoothly, a little slow at times. And although we don't like to wait for patients, it did give me a chance to take some photos. But first a couple from yesterday:
One of the little cuties I got to provide with meds.
We even take care of our security detail. This particular police officer was with us last year as well. She's tough! And yes, that is a semi-automatic weapon on her shoulder. They carry them around all day, along with at least one hand gun, maybe two. We are well-protected. That's Douglas, one of our interpreters counselling with her.
This is Flor, counselling with a whole family.
This afternoon was a bit crazy. We really had to stop seeing patients so we could get out of there at a reasonable time, but there were still about 100 people in line. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens. We just run out of time. Some of these times it's important for us to leave on time because if we stay later, we could be in danger. I don't know if that was the case today, but I do know it was a long bus ride home, 1 hour and 40 minutes! So, even though the medics stopped seeing patients, we gathered up some Medbendazole and vitamins and the medics handed them out the people in the line, while we gave meds to the last people and dental started packing up. It's sad that some of these people walked for a couple of hours to get to our clinic, only to be turned away. It's truly out of our hands, especially when the police are telling us they're concerned about the crowd forming. We don't feel good about telling people they're too late, turning them away empty-handed. It's very difficult to do that. But there are things we just can't do and one of them is stay until every single person in line is seen by a medic, even when it's starting to get dark. It's times like that when I remind myself that those people are in God's hands. He is there, even when we're not.
As I mentioned earlier, I got the chance to take a number of photos. Enjoy!
The line greeting us when we arrived. Click to get a better feel for this.
The sugary coloured water that everyone drinks, being poured into a bag. That's the the way they drink it. But we really wish they wouldn't. Just an example of the poor diet.
We saw a lot of people in their 70s and 80s, with some even older.
This sweetie was waiting for her mom to finish with the sugar drink. She just would not smile, no matter what I did. It's good to see her drinking bottled water.
A little guy who was completely enthralled by what Chris was telling his mom.
Well, it's off to bed for me. Thankfully tomorrow we don't have as long a drive. We're going to the home town of one of our dental assistants and her brother, both of whom are with us on this trip. Pretty neat!