As usual, after having the physical food of breakfast, we partake of the spiritual food of the Eucharist. The readings were taken from 1 Kings 18:41-46, Psalm 65:1, 8-14, and Matthew 5:20-26, and were read by Dr. Pat Rowe King and Karen Eddy respectively. Erna Rappaport led the Prayers of the People.
In light of the fact that Father Vicente attended a meeting in Santo Domingo, which is a 2-hour drive from Bonao, I attended the entire morning session of VBS. The lesson of the day was taken from Job 2:11 – 32:1 – Job and his Three Friends (Job y sus tres Amigos). The 53 children who attended the session engaged very well in the lessons and the activities. They understood the story and its purpose. At the conclusion of the session, I pronounced God’s blessing on each child as they went on their way home.
The Construction team was again hard at work today. Ron MacDonald and his crew made a computer table with three divisions so that three persons can use the table at the same time. They also built a telephone booth, painted the exterior, and started painting the interior of the building.
In the afternoon the VBS journeyed to the barrio for the evening session. Their program will take on a different character since it was their party celebration. About 80 children attended. Just around the corner, the medical clinic was set up. So having been with the VBS in the morning, I decided to go over to the medical team to see how they were doing. It appears as soon as I arrived the electricity went off. (I did not know I had so much power). But if you think that was weird or coincidental, it became doubly weird because as I was leaving the electricity returned. What power, I have! (Laugh out loud…). During the time I was there and that was for some time, the house in which the clinic was held (called the “Taj Mahal” of the barrio because it is the best looking house in the area) was very hot due. The fans obviously could not work because there was no electricity and air circulation in the house was minimal. In addition, the house was fairly dark without the lights being on so much so that our pharmacists needed to use a flashlight to read the labels on the medication.
There were other challenges for the medical team as well. They had to cope with constantly loud screaming, undisciplined children, and mostly young teenage mothers who did not have a clue about how to care for or control their children. One child was so undisciplined that one of the nurses on our team sternly sat the child down in a chair. It worked! He did not move an inch or said anything after that. Another challenge was that some parents only wanted vitamins for their children regardless to the illness of their child. Obviously, our medical staff needed to do a thorough examination first and prescribed what was the suitable medication. I remember at one of the clinics earlier in the week, a parent made sure she told us that she did not want purple vitamins for her child because the last time we gave them to her they made her throw up. That was fine and we can correct that. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, the team had examined 84 children.
One of the riveting situations for the medical team was the medical team’s visit to the home of Frank Jr., two houses away from where the clinic was taking place. From my conversation with Dr. Pat when I arrived, she remarked that she was pleased at the way he was being taken care of by his parents, the medication he was taking, some of which is similar to the medication given to children with the same conditions in the United States. She felt that he needed to receive more nourishment to build muscle strength leading ultimately to him not having to be lying in bed continuously. Dr. Pat believes that with the proper treatment and realistic, attainable goals, he should be able to go to school in a wheelchair and to use a computer. All in all, she was pleased with what she saw and felt that his doctor(s) and parents were moving in the right direction.
I joined Father Vicente when the VBS team was returning to the hotel. He, his children and I returned to the barrio to see the medical team and for him to speak to the Senior Warden of the church in the area. Then he took me back to the hotel where I stayed for the rest of the evening.
Following dinner, again with wine, and “Presidente” beer (the national beer of the Dominican Republic), we held our nightly meeting. It was also on this night that we received our palanca (secret gifts from family, friends, well-wishers and fellow missionaries). Among the many wonderful pieces of palanca I received were three touching and heartfelt letters written by my wife, son and daughter – a reminder of how much they love me and I love them.
Jordan King ably led us in Compline at the end of the meeting.