On Tuesday, June 11, we celebrated the feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle and Martyr. It is always a special day in my life since my childhood parish in Barbados is named after this wonderful saint. This year is even more special since the Parish of St. Barnabas, Barbados, is celebrating its 175th Anniversary. It is the church at which my parents and youngest brother have been regular communicant members for decades. Congratulations to the Rector, Assistant Priest and People of St. Barnabas Church, Barbados, on reaching this great milestone.
Our clinic was set up in an elementary school in a little town named “Piedra Blanca,” which means “White Stone.” It is a very small school with two classrooms and an office. However, it was nicely pained. It is necessary to note that each day, we set up clinics in different parts of the city of Bonao, known as “Villa De Las Hortensias” – “the town of hydrangeas,” since the hortensia is its local flower.
The day was the hottest one so far since we arrived in the Dominican Republic. It was humid and sweltering. However, by early afternoon, there would be torrential rain for hours. Apart from the problems the rain created, there were other challenges – preparation was arduous (no power/electricity; a generator had to be brought in). The building was hot, energy level of missionaries was spent at times, lunch was over 2 hours late. As a result of the rain. many who were sitting outside had to move into a very small room in the school. To make matters worse, since the generator was outside, when the rain began it had to be turned off and covered. The afternoon was dark, making it difficult for missionaries to fill prescriptions and process registration. We didn’t return to the hotel until 7:00 p.m., which meant a late dinner and team meeting. But it is all part of engaging in missionary work. If the challenges of the day were not bad enough…we spent the night watching the Miami Heat get clobbered by the San Antonio Spurs 77 – 113. “Oh well, you win some and you lose some!”
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Nevertheless, in spite of all the challenges, our pediatric physician, Dr. Pat Rowe-King treated 83 children, with the assistance of her medical crew – Bibi Achaibar, Carol Bhim, Alicia Campbell, Karen Eddy, Mary Reed, Matthew Campbell, and Hashan Bhim. There were also a number of volunteers, including three young translators, from the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista.
One of the children we met during the day was an 18-year-old named Nelson, who is diabetic, blind, and very mal-nourished. After deliberation on his condition, he was sent to the hospital. Since one of my tasks is to do the “running around” for the team, and realizing that Nelson’s blood sugar levels were not being tested on a daily basis, Father Vicente took me to buy a blood sugar monitor with more test strips and lancets. This presented another challenge since we could not get one from any of the pharmacies and eventually bought a monitor at the Diabetic Institute (dah!).
Ron painted the floor of the café’s patio as well as the roof of the back patio of the Rectory.
After dinner and team meeting, I went to bed early, by my standards, since I knew I was going to have an early start on Wednesday morning.