Today was our final day of clinic. We were anxious to get started and were again split between 2 locations. One team was practicing at El Coyol/ Las Pilas where they were able to care for multiple patients. The other team’s health clinic was in El Gigante. Illnesses, both chronic and acute, continue to mirror those found in the United States. It would seem that hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases know no borders. There is no way to express the gratitude of the Nicaraguans regarding our efforts to provide care to them. While they have health posts, they are usually only staffed with one doctor during the week which makes it close to impossible to see everyone in need. Each of our teams has 2-3 nurses and 5-6 providers to help meet the needs of these communities. Working with the local nurses and doctors proved to be an extremely rewarding experience and they, too, seemed receptive and eager for us to relieve some of their load. The education that our team was able to provide will hopefully leave a lasting imprint to help the patients and health care providers sustain the promotion of good health to those in need.
For most healthcare providers, the desire to help people wasn’t something that was acquired but was a characteristic that we were each born with. Most of us are keenly aware of the need to make the world a better place for all people. For those members on our team who were making their first trip to Nicaragua with GivingMore this was an eye-opening experience. Unless you have experienced it, there is no possible way to comprehend the challenges faced when attempting to give medical care in an environment without electricity or running water. Where if a provider kneels to get closer to their patient their uniform will be soiled because the floors are made of dirt. To operate a gynecological clinic out of a barn and have the patients remain grateful simply to be receiving any care at all. To face the challenge of 100cc of urine being spilled on a team member’s foot without the capabilities of washing the body fluids away. To operate a dental clinic without running water or suction. These things are real. These things are a normal part of what is happening in the impoverished countries of the world. The most amazing part of this experience is that this wonderful team doesn’t seem to mind. They continued to adapt their practice throughout the week to meet the demands of each unique location. They didn’t complain. They didn’t focus on the obvious deficiencies with which they were faced. This team focused on only one thing: Seeing as many patients as they possibly could given the time allotted.
Some people may question why GivingMore feels such a strong connection to Nicaragua. The answer is simple. Nicaragua is the second most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere. For the most part there is no indoor plumbing or running water. There is limited access to healthcare. The majority of the houses have dirt floors. The streets are not paved. These are all of the things you would see on a first glance of Nicaragua. However, if you take a second look, what you will find is a nation made of people who work hard and are proud of the things that they have, no matter how little we may consider it to be. The people are clean. The mothers love their children and the husbands love their wives. They care for each other and know the people in their communities. The people of Nicaragua are happy. Their lives appear to be uncomplicated and perhaps that contributes to the open arms with which they have greeted us each time we have arrived here to offer our services. They truly embrace us. They make it easy for us to want to be here and to return again and again. It might boil down to one simple fact: When we look at the people of Nicaragua we see a reflection of ourselves. There is no question that we make an impact here. There is no doubt that we will return to continue making that impact. In closing, the words of JFK seem to be more than fitting for our experience as GivingMore Team #3:
“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”