As I mentioned in my last post, Diane, her husband and their team of a nurse, doctors, and a physical therapist came last Sunday to hold a clinic on the Monday. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what would happen, in that they would just dole out pills for parasites and vitamins to the local folk. I could not have been more wrong.
The first inkling I had about the incredible commitment of the group was their arrival time. Diane had told me they would leave their last clinic after lunch. As it was around four hours from here, I expected them by six o'clock. Chivirico was beside himself with excitement and set the oven timer for six so that he could see how much time was left. I baked bread and made up the beds, and Danilo mopped the house and cooked a massive san cocho.
Six came and went as did seven, eight, nine and ten. They had left later than expected and eventually arrived past midnight in a mini van loaded to the gunnels with equipment and medicines and a car packed with people. I just stood there with my mouth open looking at all the stuff. We ate the san cocho, getting to bed shortly before 2 a.m. They must have been exhausted.
The next day it was up by seven, then breakfast and the group went to see my neighbours first before we all left and went to the local village hall to set up for the morning. One of the neighbours is very ill and as well as talking to her they said a prayer with her and she came up to me as they moved onto the next house and said what a beautiful prayer it was and explained how she was now covered with goose bumps.
Diane had said that they would leave just after lunch to get back to the capital but when we arrived at the hall it was already filling up.
All of the medicines and equipment was unloaded, I had never expected so much stuff. Diane was in charge of the pharmacy.
Which was in a room obviously used for storing a different type of medicine.
I had simply never seen so much medicine and it was all amazingly organised with pills put into packets for each patient with the name of the medicine, what it should be taken for and how many to take a day.
The system was explained that each person would firstly go and see the nurse where their blood pressure was taken, blood sugar was tested for the diabetics as well, their current meds listed and then they went to see one of the three doctors, who carried out a full examination.
The doctors would prescribe any additional meds, and then they went to the pharmacy to pick up everything they needed, saving themselves thousands of pesos for the next month or so. Everyone was also given vitamins and anti parasite meds.Those who needed to, were also seen by a physical therapist. One person had her ears syringed to get rid of the wax, so she could hear again.
You may have spotted Chivirico, who accompanied one of the doctors. He was also working hard.
By noon when it was supposed to be all over, the hall was still full as people were arriving all of the time. The team agreed to go for lunch and return at two. I left after lunch to do some work, writing the DR1 news, and they carried on until four. And then carried on even more, going on home visits to those too sick to attend the clinic. They arrived back here at seven at night, packed up, and set off on the long drive back to Santo Domingo.
What can I say? I have never seen such a professional, committed and hard working group of people in my life. They have made a tremendous difference to this small campo and I am sure they do the same to all of the areas they go to throughout the country. All of their work is entirely funded by donations to the website here and Diane said in some areas the local folk will give them food to take home with them.
Drs. Francisco and Diane came to the DR to study medicine in 1995 and according to the website, "As their studies came to an end, their hearts were softened by the Lord’s call to stay and serve the least of these with their lives". All I can say is that He chose very very wisely.