Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Shoulder to Shoulder - Day 3
Today we woke up early and had our first CHI (Child Health Initiative) in Concepion. The CHI, a field-based screening and preventative medicine program, during which we would conduct physical exams and have the opportunity to provide greatly needed medications such as Albendazol for parasites and antibiotics. We divided into several stations: height and weight, hematocrit, dental education, dental exam, vision testing, physical exams, and pharmacy. I worked with three others in the pharmacy which I thought would be much easier then it was. Most children just needed the anti-parasite medication, which apparently tastes terriable. There was lots of crying and lots of gagging. In the end we were able to get most of it down. But the children were amazing. Many were underweight, most had rotten teeth, and almost all did not have shoes. Despite everything they all smiled so much and seemed so happy. No matter how much they were poked and prodded they would smile and thank us. The poorer the child the less they seemed to cry, even when getting their finger pricked they all had an 'I've seen worse' attitude. They were so beautiful. After the CHI we regrouped to talk about how it went and figure out what we could do better next time. Then we loaded up the bus and finished the final leg of our drive to the clinic in Santa Lucia where we will base out of for the remainder of our trip.
The drive was probably only about 60miles but took us about 3 hours. It was beautiful, so remote and undisturbed. The roads were more like what we, in North Carolina, would call ATV trails. It was pretty fun traveling. I was very impressed with the drivers.
Some pictures of the Santa Lucia clinic and dorm.
When we arrived a group of us set out for a walk to explore the town.
These two were quite the pair standing guard. The poor dogs here are so malnourished, but feeding dogs has to take a back seat to trying to feed people. My dogs at home are so spoiled.
The kids we met in the street were pretty excited about their barrel of water and LOVED having their picture taken. Every time a photo was snapped they ran over to see the digital image. They were so precious.
After our walk around town the ladies of the kitchen were kind enough to give us our first tortilla making lesson. I am not sure how much of a help we were but we sure had fun.