Day 6: A new perspective
Today may have been my favorite day of the week. Thankfully, the rain subsided and we were back to sunny skies as we boarded a boat to get us to our destination. If we thought the other villages were remote, this one felt like a complete labyrinth.
After an almost two-hour boat trip on the Rio Dulce and then another bumpy ride to the village snuggled in the jungle, we set up our clinic with accumulating proficiency and confidence. It was a new perspective today----as we boated along the coastline and marveled at the beautiful mountains, the thought that we had been at the top of one of them the day before in the midst of a community that was utterly invisible from our new viewpoint gave us a moment of pause.
A few other observations today in this village. When we arrived, there were only a few men waiting for us, along with a scattering of curious children. In these Indigenous communities, it is a patriarchal familial hierarchy, and so the first registrants are always men. They go through the clinic process, meeting with the nurse, physician, and pharmacy, and once approved (apparently there have been organizations that do similar work but ask for money for medication----money that people simply don’t have), then they invite women and their children to participate. Today, one of the community leaders, once he completed his “session”, called the village by using a conch shell that resonated through the trees! It was marvelous!
Again, this was the first time coming to this community, and we served just over 200 people today. The villagers were extraordinarily grateful to the team including letting us use outdoor bathrooms that were located on personal property (the clinic space did not have any available), offered us freshly chopped coconuts with coconut water, and even invited the team to enjoy a meal.
Our night ended with celebrating two of our team members’ birthdays---Tracey, our PSW who is one of our “veterans” and Monika, one of our translators who is originally from Switzerland but now resides in Guatemala.