Each morning here on the river at there is a cruisers net on VHF channel 69. So when the call went out for volunteers for one of
Each family was seen as group and at least one parent had to accompany any children. One thing that struck us right off was the lack of men waiting in line. We later found out that they usually won't come because it is not macho to stand in line with the women and children or to admit that you are sick. Many are also out working during the day. The line was very long and there were many children including some very young girls, only teens themselves, with three, four, and five children. These were the ones we were especially there to help. Riechelle kept control of the line and assigned numbers to each individual, but as a family group. The number was written on the back their hands so we could keep track.
Their first stop was at the table of either Bryan or the other paramedic, Mark. They determined the specific needs and wrote that down on a piece of paper with the number that coordinated to the one on their hand. They then moved to the next table, or station, and we would check their paper to see if they needed anything from our station. The paper needed to match the number on their hand since many mothers carried the papers for all their children. Most of the children required worm medicine which was liquid given orally. Next the children and adults were given vitamin supplements. They had been given instructions at the paramedic’s station by the interpreter as to when and how to take the pills or capsules. Next stop was for skin problems as well as eyes, and ears. Any needed antibiotics were applied by the team members. Their last stop was the pharmacy station. Each of the two pharmacy stations were manned by one of the two nurses on the team along with one helper that could at least speak Spanish. Since Susan speaks pretty good Spanish she was assigned to one of the pharmacy stations. Most of the items passed out there were some form of oral antibiotics to treat the infections diagnosed by the paramedics. There was a station set up in the middle of the school grounds at the town water pump. This station was to wash and treat the hair of the children infected with lice. We saw women and children from infants to ages I did not even want to guess.
We had started early in the morning and except for a quick lunch break finished up by mid afternoon. We saw, in all, almost 500 people. Several of us had brought along our digital cameras to photograph our experiences. The children were delighted to have us take their picture and then show them the results on the cameras LCD screen. Except for reflections in the water most had never seen an image of themselves. It was indeed a moving experience and we will jump at the chance to go again. At the end of the day we all had a good feeling inside and knew that we had made a difference in these peoples lives however small it might be. It also showed them that there were people out there that cared about their welfare. This was an experience that we will never forget. And the small space here really can not give it proper understanding.
The website is http://www.junglemedicmissions.org and should not be missed. If anyone ever has the opportunity to come and visit here and participate in