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Thursday, July 13, 2023

Today was a very busy day. After an early breakfast and a bus ride filled with beautiful views, we reached the mountain community of Cordoncillos, Sta. Cruz de Yojoa, Cortés. Working with the local community, we quickly set up all our stations and clinics.

Today’s community included many families with multiple children. The children were dressed in their best clothes and sported elaborate hairstyles with bright bows and hair ties. Outside of the school grounds we saw cattle being herded down the road as well as horses and roosters.

After the community members registered, they began to line up, waiting to come into the clinic. My station was near the entrance, so I was able to view the families as they entered. The families were very patient and positive. At my station we gave out vitamins and deworming tablets. The children were very excited to receive their chewable vitamins. Many of the older family members were grateful for the deworming tablets. Some of the children quickly swallowed the tablets, but others reluctantly chewed them and required much encouragement to finally wash them down with multiple drinks of water.

After the children went to the weights and measures station, they lined up to enter the medical, dental, or vision clinic. While they waited, many of them played. One little girl with a polka dotted dress was just learning to walk. She could stand up by herself but would then sit back down and crawl to her mother or the nearby steps so that she could hold on and cruise. A little boy who was also about one-year-old kept crawling up the steps. His mother would pick him up and try to send him in the direction opposite from the steps, but he kept turning back to the steps and going up. This happened repeatedly. Another little boy, probably six months older but much steadier on his feet followed him. The two boys had a great time laughing and playing together. The older children played on the playground and kicked around a soccer ball. Somehow by the end of the day, a very little boy, maybe one-and-a-half years old, ended up with the ball. He walked up to us with the biggest, proudest grin on his face.

The doctors and nurses were quite busy all day, but in addition to diagnosing illnesses and providing medications, they were able to enjoy getting to meet their patients. One young girl amused the group because she kept taking any empty chair she could find and arranged the chairs she managed to grab into forts. Another young girl was dancing in her beautiful, fluffy, purple party dress.

After we saw our last patients, we quickly loaded up our supplies and boarded the bus because we had been hearing thunder and we hoped to make it down the mountain before the storm struck. When we got down the mountain, we realized the storm had already hit some of the communities, but during our dinner, a very loud thunderstorm passed over us. The rain poured down, and we were quite grateful to be safely inside our home away from home.


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