Friday morning began with heavy rain, welcome winds and an unimaginable mass of tiny, disagreeable visitors. In the village of La Isla, we were greeted by a small community with a huge personality, as well as thousands, and thousands… and thousands of the tiniest mosquitoes many of us have ever seen. The villagers could no doubt tell where clinic was being held by the deet filled smoke signals we sent off upon arrival.
Many team members were impressed by the manners and respect exhibited by the families, especially the children, in this community. One light shone brighter than many of the others and touched the hearts of every member of the Dinwiddie Team. As soon as we unloaded the bus, we were greeted by the infectious smile of a girl named Patricia who doesn’t suffer from but lives with Down Syndrome. From her infectious smile to a demeanor that can instantly turn sadness to joy, Patricia melted the hearts of many. It’s only fitting that Lois found a home for her cross with this angel. Shirley, being so impressed in Patricia’s upbringing, found a home for her cross with her mother.
Carlos was praised for taking the time during this busy clinical day to give life advice to two young women. One woman had just been left by her significant other, and Carlos stressed the importance of learning a trade or skill to become independent and able to raise children on their own, should it ever come to that. Many women in this country aren’t afforded the opportunity to do this or they become mothers at such an early age that childrearing is all they ever know. Though raising children is an extremely important job, Carlos wanted these young women to understand that they may not always be able to count on another so it’s equally important to have a backup plan.
These community members are incredibly hard workers, many of them working in the fields, but they seemed to put their own health and welfare last. We encountered many with dangerously high blood pressures, and interestingly enough one nurse found heart murmurs in her first three patients.
Though clinic was difficult due to the incredible number of mosquitoes, the backdrop was absolutely stunning. Between the cool breeze and the picturesque mountain views the mosquitoes were almost bearable. Barrett finally found a role that suited him more than any other and is now nicknamed “Barrista,” due to his exceptional coffee serving abilities. It’s likely a whole new team role will be made just for him. After a shorter clinical day, the team enjoyed a much-needed break and headed to the nearby town to enjoy the newest local coffee shop. Devotional was closed by Bud, our closet class clown, with a speech that had the team almost literally rolling on the ground laughing in puddles of our own tears. What a day, filled with such laughter and love, surely a gift from God.