Arriving Thursday and organizing Friday, now we are into Saturday, day two when the four days of four villages and four days of four surgery days begin.
We begin all days with 6:30 breakfast and a devotional message with live guitar song by the amazing Alexis from Nashville. We also had some reporting of yesterday’s activity since we were rained out from small groups debrief last week.
The Village Team headed to Xiabie and also to San Jose’. San Jose’ being a little more south, but both being between fifteen and thirty minutes from the hotel. The night before another bag of medicines came in late from Delta Airlines and some 14,000 pills were all counted out and divided between the two teams. Upon arrival at a village, the team has to determine where the reception area for registering patients will take place, and where can we find five nurses stations to write family history and reason for the doctor visit. Where will the doctors sit with the patient (sometimes a whole family at a time instead of one patient), and where will the pharmacy be located as they exit. Some 160 patients were seen in a busy day in both villages between 9 AM to 4 PM. The last van left San Jose’ at 5:15 PM as the son was starting to fall. The sunrise and sunset are at 6 AM and 6 PM. The Village Teams try to be back on the road before dark. If you look on a map of Belize you can find Xiabie below Corozal Town on the south west side of your map and you can find San Jose’ on the highway called Northern Highway about twenty miles south of Corozal on the way to Orange Walk.
The Village Team in Xiabie was sharing the school with several hundred Catholic worshipers. The Dental Team was pretty much at church all day long from their room that had the singing and message loudly broadcast as they cleaned teeth or pulled teeth. We have two dentists, a hygentist and dental assistant. They were quite busy to say the least.
Down in San Jose’ we had our physical therapist, Melissa who was working on patient after patient with lots of repetitive work motion issues.
The Construction Team had poured a sidewalk the day before. Concrete hand mixed and carried by five gallon bucket and put in place to look fantastic at the end of Friday. Saturday, they were up in the new addition of a church that overlooked their glorious sidewalk. Our team is small, but mighty with four members. Next week another team arrives to take up where they are leaving off on projects.
The Surgery Team had what Dr. Ron Devore called their best first day ever! Normally, there is a lot of confusion and missing pieces to put things in motion. Fourteen patients had surgery including a six year old boy who had a very serious tennis ball sized cancer removed and sent off for lab work. Tonsils, thyroid removals, septo- plastic, and sinus cases were in the mix for people who had no other way to have this extremely expensive and delicate surgery performed.The team brings all the needed surgery disposables and of course works with the very able and helpful local medical support staff. The Surgery Team is sixteen in six this year. This includes two surgeons, three anesthesia providers, nurses in surgery and recover and support team members to make up that sixteen.
We have had lots and lots of rain. Rain that does not normally come to Belize this time of year. It rained every day so far. In Belize City, we found the main road past the airport almost impassable.
We have a new and enlarged Tony’s that while last year would be very cramped with 60, now seems spacious. We are from Oregon and New York State. We are from New Jersey and Victoria and B.C. California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia are counted in our numbers. Several heard about the trip from Partners for Belize web site or Medical Missions or googling, or of course from friends. Arriving at Tonys and Almond Tree is quite a relief after passing for an hour and a half along the road to arrive in Corozal and these two fine hotels on the bay. Last year, Tony’s was under construction. This year, we are enjoying the temporary inconvenience of last year.