Monday, February 18, 2013

Day One of the Estanzuelas Clinics

Our first full clinic day in Estanzuelas, and all is very well. 

Yesterday I exchanged congratulations with Marvin Hernandez, our amazing chief organizer for the Estanzuelas community.  I was relieved that we’d come through the airport arrival and the customs process with no problems and in record time.  He was relieved that all the organizational pieces – the invitations to patients, the welcome at a local school with dancers and lunch for 120, the rental of tables and chairs and canopies, the organization of volunteers for the week had gone without a hitch.

And now we’re off and running, working our way through the opening day questions and glitches (there are always a few of these).  Medics have paired up with interpreters, we’ve figured out how to write up the references for patients who need further tests or specialist care, and every clinic is full of Estanzuelans telling their stories, talking about their needs and anxieties, being fitted with new glasses and being heard with attention and respect.

Especially on Monday, it always feels like a river overflowing: local volunteers, PazSalud providers, interpreters and patients: we’re all trying to figure out the flow. By Friday we'll have everything clear - and then we have to leave!

(Photos, top to bottom: Brian checks a young patient's heart rate; Carol helps a woman choose glasses; Darren listens to a story; Lorna and Moises give patients their medications.)

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