As we walked out of the bank after yet another e t e r n a l process of changing traveler’s checks, a man with crutches came up to us asking for money. Pastor José gave him one peso. I didn’t give him anything, though he directed most of his begging at me. I felt so confused. People say, “Don’t give money to beggars.” This one looked like one of his legs was a lot shorter than the other, so short that it couldn’t touch the ground. But he must have been holding it up, because later I turned around and saw him walking pretty normally on it. I think I would give to beggars if people didn’t say not to. But maybe then I would get taken advantage of. I don’t know. I’ll have to file this one in the “For Further Thought” pile.
After changing our money, Pastor José took Rosie and me to the clinic. I would have gone on to the school, but we got to the clinic rather late after the time we took at the bank, so we stayed there together and took a taxi home at 2:30.
When we got there, first Eulalia showed us around. We saw her office of bacteriology or whatever it’s called, and met the people she works with. A group of American doctors was in for the week with specialties in gynecology, plastic surgery, and general surgery. People had registered months ahead of time to be able to have these services, and the doctors had a full load of patients. Cheloids and hemangiomas were removed, tubes tied, stitches put in and taken out, and a general flurry of activity pervaded everything.
We could have watched a surgery, but we opted not to. Neither of us were feeling well that day, and I was afraid it wouldn’t be good for my stomach.
This clinic was started by missionaries to help children who were in various stages of malnutrition. From there its services spread to include a huge variety of things. In 1998, a hurricane destroyed everything and they had to start from scratch, but then American sponsors helped them, and when they reopened 6 months later, they were the fastest hospital in the whole area to recover from the hurricane. They have been in operation 25 years now, and the founders are no longer there. The husband died 4 years ago and his elderly wife lives in
The clinic also has a guest house where the American groups stay, run by a man and wife named Rod and
This is where Rosie and I helped. We met Sandy, Juanita (from Pennsylvania), and Margo (a Dominican) in
the kitchen of the guest house. This is the first place we have seen hot water
or a working refrigerator, and the whole kitchen is very well-equipped. Under Sandy’s direction, it is
also a very cheerful, well-organized place, and Juanita and Margo keep it
lively with laughter and playful pranks.
Rosie and Margo were standing side by side at the sink at one point, and Margo accidentally got some water on Rosie’s shirt. She was saying, “I’m sorry” and Rosie was saying, “No, it’s okay, it’s fine.” Margo dried Rosie off with a towel and then directed a grin at Juanita. “Es tu culpa,” she said. “Pero tu estás enfrente de la lavamanos,” Juanita shot back with a laugh. I got a kick out of the whole thing, so I translated for Rosie, “It’s your fault / But you’re the one in front of the sink,” I said. Margo looked back with surprise. “Me entendiste…” (you understood me) she realized. We all laughed.
We washed dishes, roasted peanuts, buttered bread, advised
Sandy in making crescent
rolls, fed scraps to two sheep and a goat, washed tables, and ate lunch with
them. I took some pictures there of flowers and the buildings.
Eulalia called a taxi for us to go home at about , and
Sandy sent us a paper plate full of the
crescent rolls she had just made. The smell of the hot fresh bread filled the
taxi. As I was paying the driver 50 pesos when we had arrived, I asked, “Le
gustaría un pan?” He looked like he thought he hadn’t heard me right. “Está
bien?” he breathed. I nodded as I held up the open bag. He took one with a big
smile on his face, thanked me, and left.
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