Planes, trains and automobiles
The adventure begins with ten women and two men making their way to San Felipe, Guatemala. Most of us, by the end of the journey, had not slept for more than 30 hours and yet the energy was high, the mood was happy, and the anticipation was palpable. In total, two plane trips, a very long bus ride, what felt like a million check-points, and 5,000 km later, we arrived safely at our destination.
Today was our last clinic day so we were joined by the dental group.
We supported a community at Bate Baraguana, located an hour and half from the place we are staying.
It was the community in most need of our services and donations of all five towns we visited. They were so appreciative of the clothes, shoes, toys and coloring books they received. The kids loved playing soccer with the donated balls. We left them behind for hours more of fun for them.
We took in 141 patients looking for medical services, and some also received dental help. Most of the population we saw suffered from either skin or respiratory issues, some were really severe.
Baraguana, one of the poorest place in the area of Puerto Plata, small concrete row houses, with many kids running and dancing in the street. Many of these kids had very young mothers as it is very common for a 20 year-old to have 2 or 3 children already. Interestingly many people both male and female seemed to say they were much younger than they appeared.
After a great day we returned to the hotel to unpack the bags one last time. Any remaining medications and medical supplies will be donated to hospitals or other missions while the donated non-medical items will continue to be distributed through shelters and churches.
… The last words from the team…
Lori and Luke Hollinger:
What an amazing bunch of caring people! Our team was always willing to jump in and help wherever needed from packing, loading, going in the community, registering and directing people, doing fluoride and glasses. The patients soaked up all the love and care given by our team from the very young to the very old. I am so proud to be a part of this awesome team!
What an awesome experience! I have never been anywhere before, never on a plane, never away from home but I had always wanted to do something like this and am truly grateful to have had this opportunity. The people were so thankful that we were her to help and even though it never feels like enough we do what we can and that’s all we can do. I will definitely be signing up to do this again next time and highly recommend if you’ve ever thought about doing something like this to seize the opportunity and join the team you won’t regret it!
I signed up for this trip because I wanted an opportunity to use my skills to make a difference. I can truly say that I achieved that goal. I met some amazing people that were willing to come together to make that happen. I feel very fortunate that I was able to part of this medical mission. It definitely won’t be my last!
Thank you Lori and Linda, and Steve and all the fixers and translators… and to every team member! I am very grateful to have this first experience with the CNS group working internationally. We worked well together. Very nice to serve the island of Hispaniola and meet so, so many wonderful people!
This past week have had the pleasure of assisting the CNS and HHEART Team in the D.R. and shared a truly remarkable experience with a dedicated, caring and fun team of volunteers. I would like to thank Linda and Steve for joining forces and allowing me to join them. While the challenges facing the poor Haitian and Dominican populations are endemic and difficult to rectify, I have seen villages that embody the true meaning of community use our limited assistance and human resources do the unending work of building themselves up. It has been my privilege to meet, know and help these wonderful people.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with CNS again. Our trip to Dominican Republic was another humbling experience helping those less fortunate. Having the privlidge of being invited into homes and to see a glimpse of their private lives was a whole new experience and one I hope continues with the missions in the future. It was an honor to work with such amazing nurses and other team members this past week and I can hardly wait to be a part of the next mission.
It has always been a dream of mine to be able to help those that are less fortunate, and this past week I got to do exactly that. I cannot begin to describe the amount of different emotions I have felt. To be able to work with such a variety of different people from doctors, to dentist, and more was beyond my expectations. The people we saw were so grateful for our help. I won’t forget the friends I made or the memories. Thank you so much Linda for giving me the opportunity to follow my dreams. This was a huge eye opening experience for me, and I can’t wait to do it again!
I have to say that memories for ourselves in the CNS group as well as our affiliates and the communities we’ve served this week will remain in all of our hearts forever. For my first trip south and my first mission I am entirely grateful to Linda and the CNS team for the opportunity. The impact of helping people who you may never see again and they may not remember who you were but however small made any difference and improvement to their lives, health and well-being is an absolute privilege. I greatly enjoyed how we really took the home care aspect and applied it to venturing into the communities asking the people to allow us into their homes and do feet on the ground assessment and care. I have always wanted to travel and experience the true reality of how fortunate we are in Canada for the lives we live. I will definitely continue to seek out these opportunities. I personally have list and this trip allowed me to knock a few of those life goals off the list such as Number#1: Go on a Mission followed by; snorkel, see monkeys and the jungle.
I am grateful for the opportunity to travel with the CNS group again. It was an amazing experience to be able to travel to the Dominican Republic and help those who needed us the most. I am humbled. I want to thank Linda for the opportunity and I am already looking forward to the next adventure.
I was able to check one more thing off my bucket list. I am so glad I was able to attend this amazing mission. I was amazed at the way so many people that had never met, came together in the most rewarding way. We do make a difference. Yes…hard work, long hours and big hearts. That is what I seen unfold this week. I would like to thank you Linda for allowing us to be part of a life changing experience and to our fearless leader Lori. Thank you
Dominican Republic Update Feb 1 2019
Clinic Day 4 Quantiano Bario
Today we are set up in a public hospital but it is very different from Canada. There were no patients staying there but if they did- they would need to bring their own meds, their own meals, their own sheets, their own dressing supplies (which they have to buy) or ripped bedsheets.
On the way to the hospital, we drove through a Batay – which is a village with concrete bunkers and tin roofs- about 8x8 or 10x10. These buildings were built for Haitians who used to work in the sugar cane fields. When the sugar cane industry collapsed in the 1990’s – the workers stayed but they have no citizenship – which means no right to healthcare, education, can’t own land and are at constant risk of being deported. There is a bit of sugar produced today but it is for the rum industry.
The site was a bit more difficult to manage as there was not a logical flow but Lori and the HHart team set up a registration and nurses/MD and Pharmacy. Reading glasses are only for those over 40 and only those who ask as our supply is dwindling.
Pharmacy is set up in a lean to where an old generator is located. Joe is a trooper and just keeps going despite all the challenges.
We saw over 150 patients not counting the patients that had home visits. Our nurses were at home just going into the community to do home visits….and it was the first time we had done this – but something we will add to our service.
The clinic was busy with skin conditions and many motorcycle accidents injuries. People do not have to wear helmets here and there were multiple fractures, pins, plates. One fellow showed up with a badly broken arm from a motorcycle accident and the pins and plate had become infected – needing IV antibiotics.
It was a good day but chaotic…the team knew what they had to do.
Dominican Republic Update Jan 31 2019
Thursday was our one “day off” for the team and everyone did their own thing. Most of us went out on a boat for a few hours to do a bit of snorkeling. Others went to town and others just relaxed at the hotel.
At dinner we made our plans for the next day.
We kept hearing of the major storms in Ontario and were glad we had escaped a bit of Canadian winter.
Dominican Republic Blog Jan 30 2019
Clinic Day 3 – Maranatha
Today the team got into the groove and it was a smooth day. We left in good time and arrived at the Maranatha church – one large room.
We got the flow down and started with registration with Irika and Alba. Next was the nurses triage- with Shannon, Melanie, Jeannie, Lee Anne and Kristen.
Community outreach visits were made by Natasha, Melissa, Melanie and Mike.
Luke was on glasses.
Lori did everything ha ha.
Dr Bai and Dr Christina at the MD station and Joe, Linda and Terrisita were at the pharmacy.
Flouride was by Lasha, Andrea and Kelli and they saw 335 kids!
Carla headed off to Cabarete with the dental hygienists.
We did have some interesting cases- Kelli had a deaf child that they had to sign the instructions – but they were able to communicate.
Natasha was in the community and had a burn from some cream that she had put on her legs. We dressed her wounds and gave her supplies and tensors.
Melissa had an 8-month-old baby with a serious ear infection that was draining and referred on to Dr Bai- he said he had never seen a child this young with such a serious infection- treated with antibiotics.
The team got home in good time and had a Mexican buffet. In the evening we were well represented at Karaoke!
146 and 250
Dominican Republic Blog Jan 29
Clinic Day 2- Callejon de la Loma
Day 2 the team was up early and was a bit different as we split up into three groups. Optical went to one town, Dentistry another and the nurses, MD, pharmacy and fluoride in another.
We set up in an open-air pavilion at a school and the MD and Pharmacy were in a classroom. The flow was better – less chaotic –
We did have more patients with higher needs. There were several motorcycle injuries, some open wounds, many scabies and the usual colds and coughs.
Our nurses went into the village to do some home visits and were welcomed warmly. The homes were basic but very clean. The children at fluoride were very polite and well behaved….
As each day progresses we are moving into poorer areas….which our hardy staff have been ready for since arrival. We have an excellent team that jumps into do anything – and makes me very proud. From nurses to the team support- everyone has been great.
Joe Odumodu has been a saint as he adapts to difficult conditions, constantly hunting for the right bag and boxes for meds, heat, mosquitos and uneven ground. Our thanks to Joe and Pharmasave for the time and meds for the team.
We saw 308 kids for fluoride, 147 for medical and 27 for dental.