Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jennifer Ledonne – Rainbows above the volcanoes

Jennifer is a junior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She is from Cincinnati.
This is amazing. Today we woke up to no electric and no water due to a storm last night. However, we were all still very excited to go to the clinic. When we arrived there was a rainbow over the three volcanoes that surround the lake, which also happens to be the view from our clinic windows. Our first patients were running a little late but eventually the clinic was in full swing. The people here are all so thankful and loving. They walk so far through very mountainous paths to reach the clinic. People of every age make the trek and wait patiently and gratefully for hours to be seen by the doctors. The most rewarding part of the day was providing people who could not see even the largest line of an eye chart with eyeglasses. They walked out of the clinic able to see more clearly for the first time. The people, the culture, the landscape...everything about this country is beautiful and I could not be more thankful to be here. Each of us is learning so much from every person we encounter, even Marghareta, the woman outside our hotel who tries to sell us blankets. Leaving the clinic today, we were lucky to see a sunset over the volcanoes.

Yesterday, we set up the clinic in the morning which was a lot of work, but fun. In the afternoon we split into four groups and made house calls. It was eye-opening to see how the people live day to day. All of the families live in very close vicinity to one another. The family that most stood out to me had a beautiful and healthy three-week-old. The parents, grandparents and entire family were glowing with pride of their new addition. Micayla and I were trying to say “handsome” but weren’t certain if the correct Spanish was “guapo” or “gordo.” It turns out “gordo” means “fat!” After trying to figure it out, the family caught on to our bad Spanish and it became a joke among all of us. Though there is a bit of a language barrier, but the miscommunications often lead to laughter, and our respect is apparent.

I could not be happier to be here. Since I first turned in my application, I have felt I was meant to be on this trip. Tonight at dinner I shared that with Cesar, the principal at the local school, who really initiated the clinic. He was so sweet and appreciative of all of us leaving our homes behind to come here but he didn’t realize how grateful we are to be here. We get to learn so much from this community and its people, which makes us grow as people. I am looking forward to the rest of the week and do NOT want this trip to end!!

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