Ok, sorry for not writing for so long. I've been a little busy. I've been doing everything from translating for various different doctor groups that have come through the area, to help start a new tour in my site, to being part of a worm composting seminar. It's been a crazy and the fact that we have only had 4 days of sunshine in the past 30 days hasn't even fazed me. I actually like it now. Anyways, here is what has been going on:
The pastor of our community church came up to me a couple months ago asking if I and some of other Peace Corps Volunteers could come for a 4 day medical clinic to help translate. Of course my first response was that I would not even consider it if we had to translate anything jesusy. He assured me that we would not and so I sent out the word. The day came and I hosted 4 volunteers in my very small hut and things went pretty well. The group was organized and had done this many times before. The clinic actually took place in a place called Valle de Risco which is up the hill from me but we were able to get a ride with the church van all 4 days. The people were really nice and if it wasn't for them saying god bless after some things and doing group prayers before meals I wouldn't have even known they were a church group. We all actually made some good friends and were able to swap stories about our social work in various places. I was definitely relieved that we weren't forced to do any prayer stuff with them and apart from them having a bible reading next to the line to get in they didn't make anyone do anything special to be seen. They had glasses for those who needed it and all the equipment to check vision and they came with a boat load medication. The line stretched the school we were housed in and it seemed that it was never ending. Each day more and more people came from further and further away. Each one of the Peace Corps Volunteers were with a doctor or nurse and after translating all day we were all pretty tired. I had translated for other groups and could definitely see the difference in the organization level. They seemed to have it down to a science.
|Me holding another happy patient|
Even though everything went pretty well of course, like always, I had my complaints and reservations. As most people know I'm critical and always like to look at the hidden side of things. In other words I'm convinced that many of these groups that come down here (especially church groups) have a over-riding agenda. For the most part, this groups agenda was out in the open. They were a church group and they were putting on a free clinic. There were just a couple things that bothered me. One, again, there were no real doctors! I don't know how many times I have translated for these types of groups where there are nurses or someone who just started school to be a doctor handing out meds like they are candy. There was a Physicians Assistant there whom was very nice and knowledgeable but I hate the fact that people are allowed to come down here and further reinforce the fact that they are second class citizens. It might not be that big of deal as something is better than nothing but I just feel better knowing a real doctor is around. The second thing was that with this clinic brought a lot of bad habits we have formed in the states. Almost every person got Antibiotics, worm meds, and pain relievers.
There was no equipment to check blood, urine, or saliva and no ultrasound. With other mobil clinics that I've worked with these things are very valuable and save the person from taking drugs they don't need to and from you having to pay for them. I've really never seen anything like it. Almost every damn person got those things. Of course I gave my own speech while they were handing the meds out talking about how they need to drink boiled water and more of it. The last thing that really started to bug me, but didn't start bugging me until the last day was the fact that these people brought their own translators but were using them for walking door to door to talk about the bible. I realized that in a way I was helping them evangelize the town by freeing up their translators. I realized later that they would have gotten other translators from Almirante but it still bothered me. As most know, I think that the bible and its story are just that. Stories. I even think that some are good stories. I just don't believe that one should live their lives based on a story. Especially one made up almost 2k years ago. The bible or Jesus or anything else that is religious doesn't really bother me and I think that there are beautiful cultures built around some of these stories and beliefs. What does bother me are church groups knowingly going to places that have low to no education and that live in poverty and promising a better life if they live it by worshiping a particular god. I just don't think its fair to these people. Why do they need this? I really think that the church people think they are doing something good and they seemed really happy doing it. The locals are pretty used to church and evangelists so they were happy too. I guess I'm the one that just doesn't get it.