[Achaibar], your human alarm clock this morning.” “OK! Thank you!” Knock, knock, “Who is it?” “It’s Bibi, and I am not going to stop knocking on your door until you open the door and I can see that you are up.”
And so the day began! We got ready and off to breakfast at 6:15 a.m. You better get there on time or you will be serenaded to the song: “Why are we waiting? Why are we waiting?” It is a song that is used when you are late for an event. By the end of the day I would have been beautifully serenaded on two occasions, since being here. In my opinion, it should only be once since on the other occasion I arrived early for dinner and it was going to be late. I waited for a few minutes and then returned to my room to continue blogging. It was a good thing that I did because dinner arrived an hour late.
At the Eucharist, we heard biblical readings from 1 Chronicles 16:19-27, Psalm 105:1-15, and Luke 13:22-30. Beverly Monteith and Linda Schlepp Gray read the first reading and the psalm respectively while Father Vicente read the Gospel. I presided at the Eucharist as I have for the past two days. It appears as if the team members are getting shorter or at least one of them. One of the team members had to cut the hem of Dr. Pat’s pants before she got into the van. They were too long. I am not quite sure what is “up with that.” I realized I had to turn up the hem of my pants today as well because it was touching the ground. So I am hoping I am not getting shorter too. Warning: “Check your height regularly when you are in the Dominican Republic.” Nevertheless, the Medical Team went to the clinic site which incidentally was the Senior Warden’s home, situated next to the venue of the evening VBS program.
I remained with the VBS team at the church for the morning half of the Vacation Bible School. About 30 children attended the morning session. There was a 5-year-old boy who has been a challenge to everyone for a couple of years and this year is no exception. I took on the responsibility of trying to find out why his behavior was so erratic, (with a translator, of course). Although, I needed to be firm with him, my heart really went out to him because his mother is struggling to be both mother and father to him. I am afraid of how his life will evolve without the appropriate help.
After blessing the children, Father Vicente drove through one of the wealthier areas of Bonao named Falcon Bridge Residential. There were some very lovely homes in this neighborhood. Father Vicente spoke of being asked by persons to set up a mission church in the area and he was not sure if he wanted to do that. I told him that although it is a good proposal, I did not think it was practical presentlyor in his best interest and that of his health and family since he already leads 8 churches on his own. Unless he receives help with some of these missions, forming any more missions is not of bounds for him. We spoke of some of the dynamics between the middle and rich class and the lower class as it relates to co-existing together in a church. We also visited a person who the goodly priest knows very well. The experience was very good.
The Medical Team had a very interesting but hot day. They were appreciative of Carmen’s hospitality in allowing her house to be used in this way. The group treated 79 children today. On a side note, I made the mistake of telling the medical team that I had receive an email from our missionary counterparts in Jamaica and that the medical team there was treating 42 patients a day. They declared that they wanted to be a part of a union and requested better conditions and perks since they are seeing about 80 patients on average a day (twice as much as Jamaica) and they conditions were not as good as those in Jamaica. Furthermore, in many of the venues where they are setting up clinics, they do not have running water or electricity and yet they are doing some fantastic work. I responded to the Jamaica contingent speedily and them that I prayed they will step it up before I lose my team. I have not heard from the Jamaica team since then.
Now, getting back on track, the children were not as ill as the ones they had met the previous day. However, they were some who had the “pink eye,” which is contagious, and there was a 13-year-old girl who was pregnant.
For those who may be wondering how the process works, it is similar to a doctor’s office policy. Tickets are normally issued to the parents prior to our coming to the Dominican Republic so that we know how many persons we are going to be treating. It is very difficult for the doctor to see other patients who have not received a ticket. But she has done so on a few occasions because of the urgency of the situation. When the parents arrive at the clinic with the children there is an area in which they wait to be registered. Karen [Eddy] and Brian [McClain] have handled all the registration process. Then, they go to Beverly [Monteith]and Tom [Ungleich] to have the children weighed and eyes checked. Next, it is to see Dr. Pat [Rowe King], who is assisted by two nurses, Bibi [Achaibar] and Carol [Bhim]. When the doctor has examined the child and made a diagnosis and prescribe medication, the prescription goes to the Pharmacist, Audrey [Burgher], who with the help of Lunny, (a young translator from the DR), dispenses the medication to the patients via her two assistants, Linda [Schlepp Gray], and Melissa [Schleifer]. After the parents receive the prescription, the process is complete.
The afternoon VBS was being held the same usual place but the medical team was at the same venue. We were to have our largest number of children to date – 185. The lesson of the day was about Naaman being healed of leprosy.
Meanwhile, Ron [McDonald] and William painted at the rectory, the home of Father Vincente and his family, giving it a spruce up.
After a delicious dinner provided by our chef, Tomas, and enjoying the presence of Father Vicente and others, we held our team meeting. The various components of the team shared aspects and highlights of their day. After the recap, I presented a question to the group to discuss – “What do you think was your purpose in all that you did today?” Every member of the team was given the opportunity to speak and to say what they perceived to be their purpose for the day. Some of the responses brought many of us to tears. They were not many dry eyes in the team. Following the responses we pray for two members of our mission team who were in need of prayer at a critical point in their lives. The team really bounded together in a genuine, caring and concerned way. Let’s see what happens the next night.