Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Lifting a Life" in The Dominican

We're back!! How do I put a trip like this into words? Like our great friend Gina (who traveled with us) said, "It's wonderful, it's sad...it's the hardest thing, it's the most fulfilling thing...it breaks your heart, it fills you up" and we spend our days trying to figure out how and when we can get back there. The Dominican is such a beautiful country with some incredibley strong and courageous people and some really serious problems. I can't explain how fulfilling it is to take part first hand in helping bring relief to the people in those villages...to be able to cure ring worm from a little 7-year-old who's had it since she was 2...to remove shards of glass from a girl's foot who has had the cut so long her foot is oozing puss and red streaks of infection are creeping up her leg...to talk a little boy through the scary process of removing a pussing, infected tooth and telling him he's going to feel so much better tomorrow--I can't explain the feeling.
Troy and I were translators for the medical team-which was a really cool job! I love the connection I got with the people as the translator--and I loved using my skills to help them. It made all the years of school and sitting in front with the Spanish-speaking taxi driver worth it. We set up shop inside this tiny little church. We squeezed in the dental team, sanitation table, the medical team, the pharmacy, triage and education into this dark, one-room building and I was amazed at how fluid and efficient the process was. (This is the before picture. In about a half hour it turns into a full blown clinic.) When I saw this I was dumbstruck to find out that 9 people live here...then I learned that 9 people live in HALF that. There are actually 2 front doors.

What courage it would take to bring a baby into the world in these conditions. Look at the love and pride on her face.

This is our good friend Chris, we love him! He had the hard job of front line-crowd control. But did it with that big smile.

Another great friend, Gina, we love her! She fell in love with this boy Joaquin and with the DR. It was her enthusiasm that introduced us to IASK and brought us here.

Juan Luis (below) came home one day with a backache and within a couple months was unable to walk. That was 5 years ago and he hasn't left this bed on his porch ever since. Although we can't help him walk again, we were able to help him change a bandage that he'd had for months on a nasty bed sore and then teach him how to help it heal and how to prevent more sores in the future. He is such an inspiration to me. Despite what he's been dealt he exuded happiness and his smile will never leave me.

One of the most rewarding things I did was teach moms how to increase their milk production so that they could feed their babies more than once or twice a day.

Dr. Mike is great! I love these kids-they have such zest for life! Lori is one cool nurse and he is one sick kid

Don't you love that face?

They were building a fence. Their only tool: a machete. This is possibly the only place where men can walk around with huge knives and it doesn't instill fear in me. They are just coming from cutting sugar cane.Isn't she adorable? (Isn't he dead sexy?!)I helped the dentist one day and it was an awesome, emotional experience. How wonderful to be able to talk the kids through the scary process and help them understand what was happening--and then let them squeeze the heck out of my hands till we yelled "¡Ya salío!"
Go Team B! We grew to love these people! The good old Don Carlos where we stayed. Besides the bed bugs and cockroaches, it really is a great place to stay. Troy says the 80's hotel bedspread is nasty, but they are in the States too.

Thanks to our cute girls who helped SO MUCH on packing day! They stuffed hygeine kits and schools kits for hours with those darling big smiles they're famous for! And thank you Jane for the donations--we hand delivered them for you.

And of course every good humanitarian deserves a couple days at the beach! We want to thank the wonderful people in our lives who lovingly and selflessly take care of our kids while we go traipsing around the world. If it weren't for you, we could never have had this experience and helped the people in the DR--Thank you!


Tami and Kaleo said...

HI Daph
ITs Tami Terris sister. I love you guys. I love that you can travel enjoy and serve and do such wonderful things. I wish I spoke spanish. I feel like you if i could be i would ... I love the food the music the food, the avacados the lime, the sites and all the wonderful people. THough I can do without the dirty men yelling in the markets... but hey they are entertaining if you have a man on your arm.lol. Love you girl. Thanks for sharing your story during the holidays it makes me want to do a little more. Love you. Tami

jane said...

awesome. awesome. awesome.

i love the pictures - you are so in your element doing this. I can just picture you running person to person, translating. those people are just beautiful, could the kids be any more adorable?!? especially those three little girls you are in a picture with, my gosh.

i am so proud of you for doing this, and I can only imagine the chain reaction it's going to have for your future...more and more humanitarian aid trips for daph are on the way. watch out world, troy and daph are coming.

love you.

Jenny said...

That is so awsome that you guys did that! Did you get sick at all? How awsome to serve others in such selfless way, you guys are great examples to us!

Celeste said...

These pictures say so much- what a great mission. Thanks for sharing your zeal for helping others!

Britney said...

I love all the pictures - You guys really are inspiring. It reminds me that there is always more I can do to help others. Keep up the good work! I'm glad you and Troy made it home safe and sound.

6 P's in a Pod said...

You guys have inspired me! Seriously! Now all I have to do is learn spanish, become a nurse and I'm good to go...
Really, though. I'd love to do what you guys did. I admire you for doing it.
P.S. Welcome home!

Mike & Kenia said...

when you talk about dead sexy, are you talking about Troy, or the naked kid?


k8 said...

wow, so inspiring Daph. You two are pretty amazing.

Heidi said...

What an amazing experience. I am jealous. How do the babies survive on one to two feeding a day? Or do they supplement them? I can't imagine them having formula though. WOW!