Doug and Peppermint Patty
Preface: Every day as we venture into a community we pick out a dog to be our “mascot” for the day, whom we name. Today we had two and we named them Doug and Peppermint Patty. Doug was injured and hopped around all day long on only 3 legs, but still had the enthusiasm as one with 4. Peppermint Patty was the same breed as Doug and followed him around.
I awoke with the sound of oranges dropping onto our tin roof and rolling off onto the ground. Another day to do the work of God and help out the community of Corozol. I look at my clock 5:29am it reads, right before my set alarm was to go off. I get up out of bed, sore muscles all over. For a moment all I wanted to do was go back to bed from the exhaustion from the day before, but this community deserved just as much effort and commitment as our community we served yesterday.
Praise to the pastoral team for the scrambled eggs, beans, platanos, and homemade bread to give us the strength and nutrition to perform at our best today. We know they get up earlier than we do to prepare our breakfast and come along with us for the entire day to our community as well as taking the adventure back with us. The energy they have during the day is remarkable and we are blessed to have them by our sides with every stride on this incredible journey.
We hop onto our transportation truck, with smiles on our faces for the excitement of this 3rd day clinic. Another bumpy ride we have we know for about an hour and a half, but its all worth it for the smiles on the faces of the community of Corozol that we will see at the end of the day.
We pull up to the school in the community of Corozol and we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts. What looked to be hundreds of people were already lined up to register for the clinic. Just seeing this gives us full warm hearts, whether they are here to see us for high blood pressure or just a physical. To take time out of their day to travel and wait is so humbling. We haul our bins out of the truck for the day and start the infrastructure.
I am a nurse back at home, and this is my second year being able to serve communities of El Salvador. My job this year was to run the pharmacy. The pharmacy at this site was set up in a separate shack de-attatched from the school. I know I have mentioned before how welcoming this community was, but to have them scoop up our heavy bins full of medications, toothbrushes, and reading glasses with no hesitation was so appreciative. When we got into our shack, the community leaders did anything they could to make us comfortable, from offering chairs, sweeping and even offering to fill our waters for us. The kindness of their hearts remind us that there is hope in the world and that hope inspires the people around them. This hope was absorbed into all of us for this day and we were able to take on another full day.
Yes, it was hot for all of us today, but the heat wasn’t going to interfere with our care for these people that inspire so much hope in us. From the first patient to the last, we served each person with care and compassion and if it was the first person of the day. Eyes lit up with joy, and smiles grew from cheek to cheek as we were able to hand out medication to the patients. Children colored with us and were so proud to show their work and take a picture with it. The joy, oh the joy was so rewarding. The ages ranged from 3months to 89years old, and we served 206 people today. This has been the most we have ever served in this medical delegation in one day, ever. 206 hearts we bonded with today and God allowed us to be connected to those hearts.
We get back onto the truck to head back home for the night. This has been the longest clinic day we have ever had. Bodies and brains wore out, we could not wait to get back home to rest and reset for the clinic day ahead of us. 5 minutes into the ride, mother nature had another plan for us. A trickle began and the droplets felt so good on our skin, refreshing us from the long day. The drops get bigger and bigger, and can I say bigger? The downpour begins and we think, its the end of rainy season this should pass within a few minutes. Remember we are in the back of an uncovered truck. A few minutes passed and the rain beat down on us more and more. This wasn’t going to end. Aside from the rain it was dark and we all had to take on the challenge on slipping and sliding in the truck as well as ducking and dodging tree branches in the dark.
Once we came into realization this storm was hanging on with us all the way home, we took a tarp out and cloaked it over all of us, each person holding onto a piece so it wouldn’t fly away. Darkness instantly takes it’s presence once the tarp is draped over us. No faces can be seen, all that can be heard is the rain beating down on the tarp. The only glimpse of light was the lightning flashing through the cracks in the tarp. God keep us safe so we serve other communities this week and return home to our families. Nothing is more uncomfortable than being in a country you don’t know and being in complete darkness. Our only senses are the bumps and holes we encounter on the dirt road. The storm continues the entire trip and within our last 5 minutes home we we able to uncover ourselves. A thought went through my mind that we looked like a can of sardines being peeled open. The one good joke I could make to myself to lighten the mood.
We arrive back home at the Pastoral house safe and sound 2 and ½ hours after we planned on returning. What a day we all had. The team once again after enduring this journey with us had dinner prepared for us. We all go to our rooms and change our soaking wet clothes to enjoy or dinner together as a team and as a family. We are all exhausted as the day before but have another clinic day ahead of us a few hours of sleep and the oranges will be hitting the tin roof.