Babies and Baseball in the DR
By: Colleen Kerger
Where to begin.... The barrio team has arrived in the Dominican! Our blog has a little catching up to do since this is our third day here so I will do the best I can! Our awesome ONU team flew in to Santo Domingo on Saturday to a very rainy afternoon. Once everyone arrived at the airport, we gathered our 26 suitcases of supplies, packed our vans, and headed off to San Juan. Unfortunately the rain stopped us short of our destination and we had to stay in a fabulous hotel in Santo Domingo Saturday night.
Sunday we were up bright and early (a fine 5:15AM) and headed off on our 3 hour journey to San Juan de la Maguana. Once we arrived at Clinica Christiana (or the guesthouse as we call it) we spent the day unpacked our supplies and preparing for our first barrio clinic on Monday. We counted and bagged THOUSANDS of pills. I've never seen so many vitamins in my life! Apparently we had 29,000 children vitamins! Wow. We also had loads of toothpaste. And by loads I mean we had at least two giant toothbrushes full of nothing toothpaste. Nothing. But. Toothpaste. The people we see in the clinics this week are sure to have some pearly whites to smile about.
Before dinner, we explored the local village and brought stickers with us to give to the kids. When the kids saw us coming we were swarmed. Literally they were coming out of anywhere and everywhere. It was awesome. We walked around the streets trying to mutter as much Spanish as we could (some of us clearly better than others). Kids followed us throughout the entire village. They couldn't get enough of the stickers. Even the empty sticker pages were fascinating. We taught them how to play hot hands and gave them tons of piggy back rides. They absolutely loved us and we had a blast. It's absolutely incredible how welcoming and friendly the people are down here.
Monday was our first day at the barrio clinic! We occupied a local schoolhouse in Las Carreras/Sosa. There we saw about 150 people. We took blood pressure, weight, pulse, reparations and each one of them got to visit with a doctor. Then they got their prescriptions filled by our awesome pharmacy group. Meanwhile, the engineers did a fantastic job keeping all the kids entertained by playing games with them.
Monday night we had an amazing opportunity to play softball with the some locals. We drove up to the field in style and started warming up. Baseball and softball are the big sports in the Dominican and about half way through the warm-up it suddenly hit me: how awesome it is that we are playing baseball in the Dominican Republic right now!! It really was a once in lifetime experience.
Well, that's about all for now folks! Hope the States are treating you well. Adios!
Colleen Kerger (Junior Nursing Student)