05 June 2011

The real work begins

This week turned out to be an extremely productive one for us.  About our second day here when we were going around with Jeff's counterpart Leti and meeting people in the community, she took us to meet her pastor, Mauricio.  Pretty much the first thing he said after "Mucho Gusto" was, are you going to help with the brigade?  And we were like, "What brigade?"  So that's how we found out that there was going to be a group of gringos here for a medical brigade starting on the 28th.  So, we hung around this weekend, in the hopes of doing some real work. 

The brigade arrived on Saturday night late, so we didn't meet them until Sunday morning.  We were walking up the street and they just kinda looked at us and said "You guys must speak English!" and, of course, we did.  It was all downhill from there.  It turns out that the brigade of a dentist, 2 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners, several other health-related professionals and a veterinary team was here having a clinic for people in Pastor Mauricio's church.  We quickly discovered that 3 bilingual people in their group of 20 wasn't going to be enough and offered our services. 

I went out with the veterinary team to the campo to help vaccinate dogs, cats, horses and pigs against rabies and treat their intestinal worms.  The first day I went with them I was the only bilingual speaker (we had a guy from the community with us helping, but he only speaks spanish).  I got to know some parts of the town I hadn't seen before, and some of the little towns around here.  The other two days we went up into aldeas of our neighboring municipality of Yocon to small towns where Pastor Mauricio knows the preachers.

Team leader holding a 22-day-old baby

Piñatas that were brought for the local children
Reading about Jesus in English and Spanish before piñatas

Panorama of the church set up as a clinic

Cool view from the edge of town

Boys with piñatas
Sorry I don't have any pictures of the work with animals.  It seemed like a bad idea to take pictures when I was covered in manure and pig.  Maybe the team will email me some (*hint hint, wink wink*).  I had a really fun time, and learned all about vaccinating animals, including how to hold down pigs.  It turns out (i just learned) that I incorrectly told them the anti-worm medication was for fleas, but all the same it won't hurt the animals and will get rid of their intestinal parasites.  Oh well.  It was a great experience for us to practice spanish and to get to know the members of our community.

As an added bonus we made some super awesome friends who did their best to leave us with everything they could.  It was like Christmas all over again!  We are very lucky to have met them, and the timing couldn't have been better.  I don't think we'll ever be able to come up with a big enough way to say thanks for treating us like family.  It means a lot. (Many volunteers are lucky enough to be close to people who are about to end their service and get a lot of hand-me-down things to furnish a house with.  Peace Corps gives us L5000 for moving out, but that's about enough to buy a decent bed and a table.  Unfortunately, we are 3 hours from the closest volunteer, and not anywhere close to anyone who could pass stuff our way--so it makes even more difference to us!).  Jeff will post sometime about his experience training as a bilingual pharmacist some other time :)


1 comment:

  1. This is so rad! ;) :) Thanks for posting this Sam. It sounds like it was a fulfilling week. xoxo