When I left off in part 1, it was Sunday morning, July 20, and we were headed from the mission house into the village. I've gotten a few questions about our trip that I'm going to go ahead and answer now so you'll have a better idea of things before I dive into a recap of our week in the village.
I'm really glad some of you are enjoying hearing about our trip! It's hard to condense into just a few posts all that happened and only share a small portion of the pictures I took that week, but it's nice to have a place to write all this down.
What organization did you go through?
Our church works with an organization called the Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International (BMDMI) to arrange these trips. Currently BMDMI works primarily in Honduras and Nicaragua, and a team from the United States goes every week from I think April to October (although don't quote me on those months). Our church takes a team every year, and this year was actually Jordan's mom's fifth trip to Nicaragua. His dad also went last year. After meeting the missionaries in Nicaragua and seeing how the organization runs, I really can't say enough good things about BMDMI.
Do you have to be a medical person to go with the medical missions? You do not have to be a doctor, nurse, or dentist to go on the trip, although our team did bring a dentist, nurses, a few ER doctors, a pharmacist, and other medical professionals. There are also local medical professionals that BMDMI pays to work in the clinic. If you're a regular person (like Jordan and myself), there are still many ways you can help and areas you can work.
Did you get to choose what area you worked in?
Yes. We signed up for this trip back in January, and we did get a choice. I chose eye care because I have worn glasses since the fourth grade and know what it's like to not be able to see. Jordan wasn't sure where he wanted to work, but then the leader of the vet team asked Jordan to be on his team, so that's how that worked out.
* * *
We left the mission house on Sunday morning around 8:00 and drove to the village of La Pintada. Every group who comes goes to a different village to set up the clinic, and this year we were actually staying relatively close to where the mission house was. It was only about a two-hour bus ride to the village. Last year I think Jordan's mom said they drove eight hours away.
BMDMI pays a group of translators to go to the village with us, and they were a lot of fun to get to know. I showed you a picture of Miguel, the vet team's translator, in my first recap. Mario was the translator helping us in the eye clinic.
*I left my big camera in the safe at the mission house, so these pictures are all taken with my point-and-shoot. There are a few from Jordan's phone camera in the bunch too.^^^This is the view of the school where we slept every night and where we set up the medical clinic. Those mattresses leaning up against the outside were what we slept on, and the Toyota to the left is Dr. Nicaragua's truck that the vet team took out every day. They actually still did have school while we were there, but they moved all the desks outside under some tents.
Below are a few pictures inside the school. We slept in some of the classrooms and had the medical clinic in a few other rooms. The eye and dental clinics shared a room, so occasionally we heard the cries of a little kid who was getting a tooth pulled. The dentist pulled over 50 teeth a day!
There wasn't any air conditioning obviously, but we did have some box fans, which we hung from the windows with string so we could circulate some air. At night we put the fans on the ground so they could face our beds.
^^^Lory (Jordan's mom) wrote this on the chalkboard in the main medical room where all the people came through after they had been to church and gotten registered for the clinic.
We arrived in La Pintada and started seeing people in the clinic on Sunday afternoon. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we held clinic all day, and believe me: it was a full day's work. Breakfast was at 6:30 a.m., and then we always had a short devotional time before we had to start getting things ready for the day. We started clinic around 8:00 in the morning, stopped for a half-hourish lunch, and then worked until dinner.
Everyone who came to the clinic had to go to a church service first. We had three services a day and saw over 2,500 people total that week go through the clinic.
People arrived to the clinic on horses, motorcycles, cars, buses, and crammed into the back of carriages.
^^^While in the village, girls were only allowed to either wear scrub pants or long skirts. Boys could wear jeans or khakis. No shorts were allowed, which was unfortunate because it was hot and humid. We're talking like 95% humidity. No joke.
A couple of people actually got dehydrated and needed IVs, which was kind of scary. One of the doctors Macgyvered an IV stand by duct taping crutches to the side of a bucket and draping the IV over the crutch. Legit. Meanwhile, I was in the corner pounding down the water. I did not want that happening to me.
The picture below is the treacherous patch up to the kitchen area.
^^^This was the kitchen setup. We had to wash our hands with the bleach water and then file through the line. Our cooks did a fantastic job with the food. It's a tough job!
Now for the showers and toilets.
I use those words loosely.
So, the bathrooms were pretty gross; I'm not gonna lie. First of all, they didn't have toilet seats. Luckily, however, my crazy mother-in-law had BROUGHT her own toilet seat. So that happened.
Secondly, we had to "flush" the toilets ourselves using a bucket of water that we dumped into the toilet after we had gone to the bathroom. Let's just say sometimes it needed three or four buckets to fully flush. Also, there wasn't any light, so I had to wear a headlamp to go to the bathroom. Also x2, there wasn't any toilet paper, so we had to bring our own.
It blows my mind that this is what these people live with every day. It really puts the phrase "first world problems" into a whole new perspective.
The showers were brought in by BMDMI. They put these metal boxes together and throw a hose over the side. Again, no light, so I wore my headlamp in the shower. I didn't take a shower every day, because I was too tired by the end of the day to wait in a long line of people, so I used a lot of baby wipes on myself. Again, legit.
Okay! So that's a rundown of our time in the village. I've decided that there will be two more Nicaragua posts. Next, I'll talk specifically about what happened in the eye clinic and on the vet team and show pictures of what Jordan and I did during the week. The last recap post will be about our free day on Friday after we returned from the village.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have that I haven't answered already!
What do you think about our trip so far?
Have you ever manually flushed a toilet with a bucket of water?
(If you haven't yet, catch up on Part 1.)