Tuesday afternoon, Mesa sur, about an hour (that probably means 7 miles or so)* from matagalapa (you can find Matagalpa on the map. You will not find mesa sur).
The afternoon clinic is in full swing. We’ve probably seen 12 patients by now — over 20 by the end of the day. before we get too far into Tuesday, let’s go back and talk about Monday…
It (y’know the automatic capitalization in Microsoft word drives me nuts) started in Managua. Breakfast before 7:30 (eggs and ham – normal color), some of us snuck away to the bakery nearby to see if they were open and we could get cookies (no). and then we loaded the truck – always an interesting exercise in coordination and communication but in the end, the truck is always loaded.
Then sandy, harold and junior took off to the health ministry where the vitamins were approved and the cream for diaper rash confiscated (It didn’t have an expiration date!!!). The rest of us had an outstanding lecture on the history of Nicaragua. An American named ayn (ann) who is married to a Nicaraguan, was an terrific speaker and the content was fascinating. When we’re back, ask somebody about how jergen’s lotion saved her husband’s life.
The long ride to Matagalpa was uneventful but the ride on to mesa sur was a trip and a half. The roads are so bad (imagine a typical country gravel road. Now cover it in large jagged rocks. Put the whole road in a blender and spread unevenly on the ground leaving unusually large pot holes in random places every few hundred feet. Got it? It’s worse.) that when they became steep, the bus, already struggling over the rough ground, stopped (thank you gravity) and we all piled out and walked up the hills before getting back on the bus. Wait for it…wait for it. And THEN edmundo (our trusty bus driver) had to hook up a tow line, throw us all out of the bus again and enlist “harold’s towing” to help pull the now empty bus up even more hills. Long story short (too late) walking part way to and from the village was a new experience for most of us. Reality: it is a normal part of the daily routine for residents of rural Nicaragua. But they don’t walk a few hundred feet like we did. They walk miles and miles at all hours of the day.
We got a quick look at the clinic site, met our partners and community leaders and then headed back to Matagalpa for dinner, group time to talk about the day and then Indiana Pilkington donned her leather hat, broke out the whip and put us all to work bagging band aids and vitamins and assembling the 450 home health kits (imagine everything you and I take for granted in our medicine cabinets including things like ibuprofen and soap – this is, as joe biden would say, a very big deal [okay not exactly what biden would say] to these folks) that we are passing out to villagers.
Then , cold showers…wait. Only kevin, bruce and I have cold showers. Everyone else has hot showers…”electric showers.” More on that on Tuesday.
*see paragraph 5 description of the roads.