Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Often times I find it difficult to put into words what this week of experience brings to me working with the medical team and students. Our lives are disrupted for a week traveling to a distant destination. Working in uncomfortable conditions. Trying to provide the best care we can with what we have. 

This was a very special year that brought many memorable moments to reflect upon. Year after year, I witness an overwhelming sense of community that pushes through a society of divisive rhetoric.

Don Manuel. Nonagenarian brought to clinic by his neighbor. He had a large tumor encompassing his right eye and was in pain every day. I was able to listen to his story with Dr. Richard and he has limited vision out of his left eye. His wife, however, can no longer see at all and so Manuel is left to care for her. Prior to seeing us, he said he was only taking one pill a day for pain. I can’t imagine the daily challenges he faces. Thankfully, he has a community that is looking after him. We were only able to offer medications for pain, but a listening ear can sometimes be equally therapeutic. 

School fluoride applications. We were able to meet Dr. Betzy a dentist helping part time at the clinic. Together,with her help we provided fluoride varnishes for all of the school kids. I commend them for bravely facing the unknown. I would assume that their past experience with dentists is less than favorable judging by the worried faces when she was explaining that we would be working on their teeth. One group at a time, they patiently sat in the chairs and allowed us to paint on the varnishes. After a few groups went through and they realized it was bubblegum flavored and that there was a nice Rabbi offering prizes after they were finished, their fear turned to excitement. What touched me the most was the children holding hands as they closed their eyes, opened their mouths, and accepted their fate. A small gesture of solidarity. A reminder to grab your neighbors hand when facing the unknown. 

Lastly, an incredible medical team and group of students that came together to make healthcare happen. A group of selfless individuals that were willing to put their lives on pause for a week to help our Guatemalan brothers and sisters. I certainly can’t leave out all of the donors and volunteers that supported and continue to support our project and make this all possible. To all, I am eternally grateful. 

Dr. Christianhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1r9pKQBopuVEBI2SDdKxp0k65GiWq9vA6https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1n48MlelUbZxfEKHyw7BJmDsYOTahnfiZ


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