Health Histories and ProVectors Part One
Hola familia y amigos!
Greetings from the beautiful Dominican Republic. The past few days have been spent planning and getting acquainted with the communities and the projects we will be doing.
Thursday morning we had the privilege of going to the I Love Baseball program which is run by Children of the Nations. When we got to the field (after waiting out a “rainstorm”… apparently Dominicans do not work at all when it rains), we were introduced to the players and staff and were told about the program. This is a cool program designed to develop spiritual, moral, mental, and physical growth in teenage boys who, like many Dominicans, dream of playing professional baseball. The coaches monitor grades and spiritual growth while also teaching about baseball. Hopefully, we will be able to go back sometime before we leave to watch them play.
Thursday afternoon we were fully immersed in the Bateys as we assisted the clinic staff in filling out health history forms for the children in each home. We were divided up into pairs and worked along side doctors, nurses, and COTN staff to visit the homes to interview the families…. entirely in Spanish. Fortunately, the staff and the families were very patient with us and were eager to help us learn. This ended up being a fun experience for us all. We were also amazed by the humility and hospitality of the families, despite extreme poverty. Even if they only had a one-room house and a few plastic chairs, they would do anything they could to make us feel at home. Many of these homes had a single parent and five or six children. It was nice to be able to hear some of their stories and learn more about their lives.
This morning we continued to work on the health history forms in Los Robles. We felt more comfortable this time around and many of us were able to start asking the questions to the families and being more independent with filling out the forms. We also got to attend the health club meeting of Los Robles which is when many members of the community meet to discuss the goals of improving community health and sanitation. We were impressed by this because COTN is working on empowering the community to develop leaders to work within their own village.
After our daily siesta and being “loco americanas” (the nickname the Dominicans gave us when we were sitting in the sun instead of the shade), we headed back to Los Robles to start working on placing ProVectors in the homes. Along the way we were still shown extreme hospitality and the children were absolutely adorable and would strike a pose for pictures. We all agree that the people we have met while we have been here are so full of life and are inspiring to us. They are beautiful and friendly people.
In other news, our team is getting along very well. We are forming great relationships with each other and with the COTN staff, as well as our new friends Lauren and Megan who are intern coordinators for the summer here. Tonight we went for our first swim at the Casa and are planning on doing daily water aerobics (lead by Andrea). Even just during downtime we are always laughing and enjoying ourselves. The coffee here is SUPER strong but wonderful… and the people here love taking espresso shots throughout the day… it’s pretty great. Writing this blog post, for instance, was a struggle for the team, but provided for lots of laughs.
Thank you for your prayer and support. Prayer requests: please pray for overall health of the team, for us to have open hearts to be willing to engage the culture, and for us to change the world, killing one mosquito at a time (with our awesome ProVector devices).
Andrea, Natalie, Nichole, Millie, Lily