LOMA FRESCA (aka Fresh Hill) Day 6
The team embarked upon our final day of clinic filled with emotions of immense excitement, scattered fatigue and underlying sadness that our week of service was approaching an end. We traveled to Loma Fresca, a nearby neighborhood within Bluefields, resulting in a surprisingly short commute, slowed only by city traffic. We again skirted the impending rain (thank you God) and were able to swiftly set up clinic in a small and rather confined 2 story church. We met and treated many “Nicas”, young and old, of many different descents, with differing languages such as Creole, Miskito and Spanish, dressed in their “Sunday’s best”. Interestingly due to our proximity in a “city” environment, our lines remained modest yet consistent throughout the day as people were able to walk SHORT distances from their homes. It was a welcome surprise to exchange conversation with many English/Creole speaking locals, although for many team members we had become so accustomed to speaking Spanish in the previous 3 clinics that we found ourselves speaking Spanish to the English speaking patients 😆.
The dynamics of the confined clinic space required that we all serve under the same roof which we managed flawlessly. We have thankfully learned to adapt to unforeseen circumstances each day with a sense of peace and grace coupled with the ingenious guidance of our leaders. Today, for example, we determined it necessary to designate “runners” for pharmacy who hand delivered prescription orders to patients waiting outside our doors. What a special and unexpected personal treat for the patients. The marketplace flourished providing clothing, flip flops, reading glasses, sunglasses and toothbrushes to most everyone - our goal to be empty at days end was achieved!
Our Nica dentists simply rocked. They NEVER ceased in their service, extractions abundant with a new patient, anxiously waiting in the wings for their turn. What a glorious gift to have a painful tooth removed. The medical providers treated a high number of skin disorders along with complaints of chronic headaches, lower back pain, anemia and low appetite. The flow of the day provided us opportunities to educate on proper diet, daily vitamins and other preventative measures. Our mindful conservation of medical apparatus proved beneficial as well, allowing us to send patients home with canes, knee braces and walkers - a critical contribution to their chance to lead a more pain free and mobile life.
The loving care that often goes unseen is the uniquely special work of our Nicaraguan Psychologist/Pastor Danny and his wife Claudia. They often sit quietly and observe the flow-discretely slipping away to remote corners with a patient and/or family in need of psychological or ministerial care. Today they privately ministered with two young men and their families, one boy was 7 and the other 10. The foster mother who is in the process of adopting the 7 y/o came to us regarding his mood swings and behavioral challenges including a suicide attempt. Following much inquiry into his situation they prayed and ultimately were able to refer him to a clinic specializing in schizophrenia and emotional disorders. This young boy came from a home with a drug addicted mother and because he had been out in the streets alone, he had also been sexually abused by a man. The referral given by Pastor Danny could be his first chance toward healing. The other boy had been acting out at home, hitting his parents and stealing money from them, and he too received a referral and will have the opportunity to get medicine and counseling that will improve his ability to manage in life.
Our fun loving Dr Rob had a patient with a suspected torn ACL in his knee. With no MRI in sight the next best thing is to place the person on the floor and perform some special tests to confirm the diagnosis. And....we just “happened” to have one pair of shorts that would fit the man as well as a very special brace. This was not just chance. And, he too got a referral, this one to an orthopedic clinic in the hospital.
Our abbreviated trip back to the hotel was coupled with an immense sense of accomplishment and an impending realization that our mission in Bluefields, for now, was complete. Hot showers and a delicious meal awaited us as well as a powerful and emotional group devotion lead by a special young team member, Cameron brought our day to an end.