Sunday’s post was from an internet cafe’ out on Progresso. To do simple things like getting pictures uploaded or posting a few words about what we are doing is like clearing heavy brush in a jungle. Many smaller villages just don’t have internet and if they do, it is so slow that it is reminiscent of “dial up.” The sound of dial up, would be pleasant if it even worked that quickly. And the cafe’s here are not air conditioned with baristas serving you coffee and chai tea. They are simple affairs mostly used by neighborhood children to do homework. Dusty rooms with old computers with sticky keyboards. Yesterday, the space bar would only work if it was slammed with a thumb jab. That may not sound hard to do, but mentally it slowed this writer down to 45 minutes for 400 words.
That being said, we need to final out our teams progress from Sunday, before going on to Monday. The Progresso Village Clinic was a great success. With twelve doctors, there was a great capacity to see the over 200 who attended the clinic throughout the day. We took five vans over a four van ferry, and then five vans back.
We had a few Mennonites from a nearby village of Little Belize. We had advertised last week that we would have a heart doctor to do echo and sono looks at the heart. It was fun to see the kids all out playing football in the yard of the school up above the lagoon that feeds from a river and from the sea.
It was great for all of us to arrive back at the hotel in time for a quick shower and 7 PM Dinner of shrimp or chicken fajitas. The Surgery Team had a very ambitious day including nine tonsils and another 11 hour day. Most of them were back by 6:30 and the last stragglers by 7:30 PM. They talked of the amazing patience and gratitude of the Belize patients. We had several Mennonites as well, after getting the word out there via a clinic in their village last week. There are five small groups that combines the various teams so we can get an idea of other people’s experiences from the day.
Monday after breakfast, we traveled south past Orange Walk, then west and south again past August Pine Ridge (where a previous team went two weeks ago) still south to San Filipe’. We traveled through beautiful rolling plains with cattle raised by Mennonite Farmers. We were close enough to see the mountains of Mexico rising off to the west as we sailed along on excellent roads. We have never been here, but the word obviously got around to this large population, that a medical team was finally coming to them to service their village. We added four villages this year to 16 total villages over 3 weeks, so this is a new village that was able to be served. There is a small medical clinic with three rooms inside of it, where we set up, and then several large tents and a small tent we brought along. We arrived at 9:15 after an hour and a half drive. We joined a few young US Peace Corp volunteers and a dozen local health workers in colored shirts to set up the registration station, and nurses stations, doctors stations and pharmacy. We have a heart doctor to do ekgs and we are doing OBGYN exams as well. These using the inside rooms.
After we get all set up, we go out and introduce ourselves and promise to stay until all are seen and ask for patience. Since we are studying the Lord’s Prayer this week, Jim Reyering took a turn leading us all in the same. The Belize official language is English, but there is a lot of Spanish spoken at home. There are also new immigrants from Guatemala, the net effect being that many speak only Spanish or a little English. The Lord’s Prayer could be heard spoken in both. By 11 AM, we had over 260 patients registered. Easily our largest day for sure. We are prepared to work late if need be, and we know we have safe roads that are well paved to make our way back north to Corozal. Everyone is enjoying each other and the community of people who are together for one and only one week, to bring the best first world medicine we can to the third world, even when that means we have to innovate and adapt a bit with the limitations. For instance, some of our anesthesia team has spent the day kneeling to keep a patient calm in a make shift small third operating space. But, the morale is high and the joy of serving predominates.