Thursday, January 15, 2009

Last Day of Clinics- Village of Unitedville

It was a busy day today...

The rain continued to fall today... But despite the weather we set a record number for patients. We saw over 130 patients today! What miracle that so many people came through the doors to receive help.

Our pharmacy seems to have expanded as well... partially thanks to our pharmacy friend Daisy.

I spent much of today finishing up a number of interviews. It's been so nice hearing the culmination of each student's experience, the interpretation of the last 12 days from the ProBelize staff, and the direct comments from those in the villages. Each person had something beautiful and unique to add to my own experience. So far I've got about 20 interviews, about 12 hours of solid footage and an elaborate news segment and documentary that's ready to get put into the works.

Anyhow, as I sat down talking to one lady about what she was grateful for, she just kept talking about her children and her children’s health. She said the best day for her was when she and her children would get fixed up on Sundays and go to Church. When she missed the bus, she said it was her worst days. I distinctly understood that this woman’s faith was strong and an integral part of what gets her through day to day. At that instant, her little boy came up to me and passed me a little booklet filled with bible verses. It looked like he had just pulled it out of the trash, but it read some thing profound… a verse out of the Bible, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)” I have no idea where the little kid got it and he just looked up at me and smiled. It completely struck me… our last day, a bit of compassion fatigue, knowing our day of rest was finally on its way in the morning, an then the idea of the creator bringing so hundreds of people to us to serve their needs whatever they may be an give them rest. We had the chance to ease their fears and help restore them to optimum health. I tried explaining to the woman what her son had just given me and what perfect time it was and how much I believed it was a sign from God, when I started crying. I couldn’t get through reading the article to the woman to explain. Finally, I asked the woman if she would like to pray together. I was too choked up to say the prayer myself as the culmination of a long couple weeks all came to a head for me and yet I was overjoyed and inspired by this woman's health. She prayed and thanked God for the things he's given her, she thanked him for all the times she was hungry and he provided food for herself and her children. She thanked him for us students being here and making a difference in the community and it just went on. She myself and her son held hands just praying and in gratitude. It was beautiful. At one point, our classmate Mat came over and joined our little prayer. She gave me a big hug afterwards and told me that she loved me... my hopeful highlight of the trip.

Later on in the day we finally left after our record setting patient number. We've seen nearly 700 patients over our time here, given out a number of medications, sent dozens to the hospital for life saving emergency treatmen related to their ailments, diabetes, and hypertension. I can leave here feeling like I can say we actually made a difference.

On the way home, we stopped at a local drug rehab center. Most people know I'm in recovery and have been for several years. The local Narcotics Anonymous group up here in Minnesota donated a ton of NA literature including books, meditation books, pamphlets and more. It turns out the guys at the center had just been talking about Narcotics Anonymous here and why there are no meetings. They had been talking about how nice it would be to get some information on the whole thing and there we come along, show up, and give them the resources they needed. I also got an experience to share my own recovery hope with them as well. Amazing how a recovery group in Minnesota was able to reach out to a recovery group in Belize and continue to spread the message of hope.

Here's some of my thoughts. I think I definitely want to come back here again. I'd like to get back to Belize and do a few things. If I were able to come here over a period of several months, I'd like to work doing home visits during the days and working in the hospitals. In my freetime I'd like to focus on creating a visual documentary on the shaman's rainforest taxonomy. He has decades of experience in what each particular plants medicinal use is for. He knows the purpose, what it looks like, and how to prepare it to create a more wholistic medicinal use. However, he's never written anything down. I think it would be neat to help further his ambition to pass that knowledge down to further generations through documenting all those details about what makes his healing garden so special. During the nights, I'd go work and assist at the local rehab center in town and work towards furthing the message of recovery. On my occasional day off, I'd go scuba diving, exploring, and maybe get involved in some sort of an archeological project. What a neat few months that would be. I'll just have to keep my possibilities open and try to simplify my life along the way before making a decision to do something like that.

One last note... the child with the pulmonary atresia named Wilmer has some hopeful news. The folks we arranged through the Mayo Clinic have agreed to review his records, an echocardiogram for his heart will be performed by a group coming down here in a couple of weeks, an a local organization out of Belize has agreed to consider paying for all the flight, lodging, and additional expenses related to bringing him to the states.
Another follow up on the little girl Julie with the huge cyst. She's walking again and finally back in school after a month of missed classes. I know without a doubt that God has been working in us and through us.


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