COMMIT Blog January 20, 2020

The day started off as usual in Nicaragua – sunny and very early. There was another disturbance in Room 7 where the girls were awakened at 2 a.m. by Lala the cat who had been locked outside and wanted into the casa. After five minutes of calling her, Lala made her way to another window which had a hole in the screen and in she came.

Up at 6 a.m. for loading the bus at 6:30 a.m. for our day in San Luis. We left the Casa by 7:30 a.m. to pick up a dentist, translators and doctors in Nandaime for a total entourage of approximately 35 people. The road to San Luis is dusty, narrow, winding and has a lot of potholes. But, the view from the bus is beautiful with forests close to the road and farming operations along the way. Mount Mombachu is always in view. Today we were lucky and didn’t meet any other big trucks coming our way on the narrow road.

When we arrived in San Luis there was the usual chaos to decide set-up planning. But once that was decided upon, we set about to clean up the classrooms of the school which were turned into clinic spaces. We were under way to see the first patients in about 15 minutes. The patient’s first stop was at registration, then to triage and off to the lab if necessary. One different thing about today’s clinic was that shoes were distributed to diabetics and those 65 years and over only. The next station was “glasses”, where prescription glasses were provided by Mike, helping many young and old see much better. Sunglasses were an added bonus and many were delighted to receive a pair from Mary.

Three people were fitted with hearing aids by David, making them smile from ear to ear. A big thank you goes out to The Hearing Center Stratford and Sheri and Shelly. You have made a tremendous difference with a donation of 29 hearing aids.

Next up were visits with a doctor, dentist and pharmacist as needed.

It was wonderful to see the little children having fun at the table full of toys where they played happily. One young child wondered over to Bev and cuddled up to her, not leaving for 20 minutes. The communication between the two happened easily and little Joselina spent much time playing with Bev’s nametag. There was an instant bond between the two.

Chip and Larry organized patient flow while keeping patients out of the sun. The temperature was 32C by 9 a.m. so staying in the shade was necessary. Jack-of-all trades, the two were helpful in keeping the team hydrated and being gophers in the best sense of the word, fetching whatever was needed. Larry made a lot of children happy with the colourful stickers he supplied them.

Makayla was kept busy at the lab pricking fingers and dipping urine. She thinks she was the best job in the clinic! In pharmacy, the strawberry jam was appreciated by the little ones because it made swallowing the bitter medicine easier.

It was a bonus today to have a dentist join the team. He was able to do a number of extractions, 6 in total, as well as some cleanings. The reason we only were able to do 6 extractions was because one of them took 2 hrs!!!!!!!!! The poor lady came with a very rotten tooth which proceeded to break into a number of pieces as Augusto laboured to pull the tooth. The roots had to be literally dug out of the bone and Augusto was sweating like crazy as Janice held the poor woman’s hand, stepped on the bottom of the chair to prevent it from tipping back with the brute force applied, all the while holding a flashlight so that he could see. When the dastardly deed was done both Augusto and Janice received a big hug from the lady and with thanks that the torture had finally come to an end, definitely not a nice thing to witness.

After backing up the bus with all our supplies, a team picture was taken with the Canadian flag in the background. It was then time to say goodbye to our friends in San Luis before heading back to Nandaime to drop off some of the team at the hospital. Arriving back at the Casa Santa Madre Theresa, we found our rooms had been cleaned, laundry folded and a hot dinner ready to eat. A shout out to Eva, Emily and Gracie. Overall, another successful day.

Many thanks to the Rotary Club of Stratford and all the other donaters for making this marvellous aid happening.

Best Bev, Naomi and Larry

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