Today we went back to the community Paso Bajito, but this time with some friends! After picking up some local doctors we headed to the community with boxes of different medicines that we would assist in handing out to patients. Throughout the year a Christian non profit organization called Los Salesianos sets up free health clinics all around DR to provide free medical care to citizens who do not have health coverage and cannot afford treatment. The plan was to assist the doctors with helping more than 60 community members by splitting into groups and doing different tasks. Some groups were responsible for greeting patients and ushering them around the clinic, some sat with the doctors and translated to the non Spanish speakers of our group what medical issues peeople were having, some helped hand out medicine, and some of us even played with the children while their parents were getting checked out.
Probably the most impactful part about today was when the doctors were explaining to our group what ailments people here have and why. The majority of the health problems that people have are the flu and stomach problems due to contaminated food and water. When we probed a bit deeper we found out that many communities do not have proper water treatment, are getting water from contaminated sources, and most people cannot afford to purchase and install water filtration systems in their homes. When we asked whether or not something was being done about this, or if the government was addressing the issue the doctors told a simple no. It turns out that due to government corruption and greed, a great of the money that is supposed to be devoted to public health and infrastructure. This was all very shocking and eye opening for us. Weve all seen poverty in the US, but not like this. Not to the level where people are wanting for clean water and their government wont help. We had a somewhat solemn nightly meeting where we reflected about what we learned about the community, and what we take for granted in the US. Even with the kinds of things that happen in the US, we really do have alot to be grateful for, and the things we sometimes think are inconvenient or hard are nothing compared to what other people in other countries deal with! Even though seeing things like this can be hard, its good for people to travel so they can have a new perspective.