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Smile :)

November 5, 2018

The Dinwiddie Mountain Team completed its first day of clinical in Zacapa, Santa Barbara, which was about an hour and a half from Alfredo House. We were blessed with an incredible driver, Raul, who navigated us beautifully through the rocky, curvy mountain roads that seemed to never end. The 230 men, women and children living in the community of “Plan de Encima” were ready for our arrival and were lined up and waiting patiently by the gates to go into the clinic to be seen by the medical staff.

The medical team saw a total of 172 men, woman and children who had ailments all ranging from foot fungus, respiratory ailments, colds and sore muscles. We have been blessed with a total of four RNs and one Pediatric Physician who were predicted to have a full day ahead of them and they most certainly did.

Courtney Harrison, who has been an RN for the past 14 years, has returned for her second trip. Courtney took on the role of Assistant Team Leader since she is happily married to rookie Team Leader, Jay Harrison. Jay is also a Pastor, and for the past four years he has preached at Sharon United Methodist Church in Yale, VA. He might be a newbie to the Team Leader position, but this is his third trip with Friends of Barnabas. He’s proven to be a stand up leader to a group of compassionate and energetic individuals. We are a group who is ready to serve and share our gifts with the people in these communities and we couldn’t do it without people like Jay and Courtney. It’s a big responsibility and I’m sure a little nerve-racking to take on a group for the first time. They have been a wonderful asset to this team, and they are both such a great balance to each other. Always welcoming, kind, gracious and willing to do what needs to be done in order to make this trip a success. So we thank you for taking on such a big job and using the gifts God has given you both to show His good work.

Smile! We may not all be able to speak their language. Not everyone can be as amazing as Carlos, our team translator, but here a smile is worth a thousand words. I smiled more today than I have in a week back home. The children and their families are so thankful and happy we are here to help them. They simply radiate joy from the inside out!

Imagine for a minute you have been up before the sun, got your three children (all under the age of 8) dressed and ready to walk for what could possibly be hours to receive medical care. Once you arrive at the clinic you have to get in line with all the other families that beat you to the gates. Now you get to wait in line to be measured and weighed, and then wait another 45 minutes to be seen by the medical team. Once you’ve been examined and given any needed medications you get to wait again to be seen by the dental team. Finally you get to wait in the last line at the vitamin/fluoride counter. Do you see a pattern here? Everyone young and old just waiting, not huffing and puffing about the lines being too long or the heat being too hot. No children were crying that they were bored; instead they waited patiently with infectious smiles on their faces. You couldn’t help but be in awe of such patience and grace. Frustration at having to wait at your local Emergency Room for an hour, like so many of us parents have done, doesn’t seem so terrible after all.

We are truly blessed with all the resources we need at our fingertips that spending hours at a clinic seems completely unreasonable to most of us, but they wait patiently every six months to be seen by our medical teams with a smile on their face. So next time you feel the urge to complain about waiting on something or someone; remember these amazingly patient families and SMILE instead.

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