Our Clinic Officially Opens!
This morning, with a sunny sky and the humidity making its presence known without pretense, we loaded into our vans and travelled about one hour to our first clinic destination--San Carlos Huitzil--a rural village that is surrounded by lush vegetation, a main road that dips and peaks with rocks and dirt, and a lovely two-room school.
When we arrived, the village leader was already waiting to greet us, and it was clear that the school had been prepped to accommodate our arrival, including a fresh scent in the air of clean floors and desks, chairs ready to be re-purposed into a waiting area, and tables that would serve as nursing assessment areas. We quickly set up our stations including a reception area, five nursing assessment areas, a physician consultation zone, an eye-glass area, pharmacy, and finally, a care-package area that allowed for distribution of essential toiletries and special “treats” for the children (shoes, hats, toys etc.).
The reception area filled quickly--we strategically added a children’s table for colouring to manage wait times--and throughout the day we saw women, men, and children of all ages. Some could not write, others had difficulty remembering how old they were, while others were eager to help their neighbors to navigate our questions and process with them. Our translators (Monica, Hector, Alex, and Jocelyn) are clearly instrumental to the smooth running of the clinic, particularly with supporting the nurses to, as best as possible, assess the person’s needs. Lori (our “Jefa”) remarked that the true success of a clinic is if patients who have received care call their neighbors to come, and sure enough, throughout the day, we saw more and more villagers walking towards us. At the end of the day, we estimate we saw approximately 145 people, likely a good proportion of the entire village!
With our first clinic in hand, we headed home, tired and sweaty but with the satisfaction that we did something worthwhile…and we did it together.