The morning of the first day of clinic is always filled with excited anticipation and the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect. However, there is something comforting about bouncing up the hill in the famous bus, the air alive with fragrances of man and nature. We headed to a village in the hills of Santa Barbara which are exceedingly green, lush, and beautiful.
Our morning was not without hiccups, but as is always important we were able to “be like Gumby”, remain flexible, adapt, and overcome. Overall our first day was rather wonderful. It was a learning process and we were able to iron out some wrinkles, get our feet wet, and enjoy some fig-ice cream on the way home. Back at Barnabas House we worked off the ice cream through a game of 4v4 futbol in which Clara schooled her 17-year-old son with some old school moves and scored the winning goal.
Quotable Quotes and Memorable Moments
Laurie – “I’m almost out of pink” after spending most of the day sitting on the porch painting nails with the young girls of the village.
Dr. Ed – “Such a contrast of joy and suffering” Comparing the pressures of a widowed mother of 5 and the pure joy of 5-year-old twins chasing each other endlessly around the soccer field.
Danny – “This brought me back to why I got into medicine” I could see the light in his eyes throughout the day and as he described his joy in giving of himself with no expectation in receiving anything in return.
Chloe gave her cross to a young boy who smiled continuously and stood in the doorway all day observing her and Austin work in the glasses clinic. She also told us the story of an elderly lady who seemed like she was blind but localized to the voices of those around her. When Marco Tulio (FOB vision clinic master and our bus driver) put her new glasses on for the first time, her face lit up with pure joy.
My favorite memory of the day was watching Wendy sitting on the ground, smothered by kids as she took their pictures with Snapchat effects. You’ve never seen a child so surprised to see dog whiskers on his face and the giggling coming from the pile of humanity was infectious.
The consensus of the group was the joy of personal connections they were able to make with the individuals we encountered. Today the pieces of the puzzle came together. Our team was able to get a glimpse of the big picture and see the purpose and impact of Friends of Barnabas. From one who was blind but now can see, to a woman who returned to give another hug and say thank you again to Clara and Dr. Reyes, our team is feeling the impact we are having on individual lives and thankful to be a small part of what Friends of Barnabas is accomplishing in Honduras.
P.S. There is something inherently rejuvenating about sitting on the balcony of the Barnabas House swinging in the hammock. The rain is starting to fall making the lights on the hills of Santa Barbara twinkle in the distance. Crickets and frogs are singing their songs while fireflies are buzzing in the grass.