Today (Sunday) was a very busy and long day for our team. We all woke up early this morning to get ready for breakfast at the hotel and prepare for the day ahead. Breakfast consisted of various fruits (frutas), breads (pan), eggs (huevos), and other foods as well as some tasty fruit beverages. After breakfast, we all jumped onto the buses to head over to the school again where we were divided into groups to visit different churches in the area. All of the churches were unique in themselves and full of powerful messages about the gospel. During the church services, our medical teams were introduced to the congregations. After hearing about our team coming into the community to bring medical care, they showed great appreciation to us all with big smiles and warm hugs. After church was over, the three different groups joined back up at the school to work on preparation for the clinic. All of the doctors started getting to work, ensuring their rooms were set up correctly and all of the supplies needed were there and ready for tomorrow. The rest of the team worked on setting up pharmacy, general medicine, optometry, pediatrics, and the photo station. Everyone kept busy and chipped in where they could until it was time to eat. Lunch was prepared by local community members tied in with the school and local churches. The meal consisted of rice, beef, salad, and a juice drink all of which were delicious. After lunch, everyone was back to work, ensuring each station was prepared for tomorrow's first full clinic day. We were able to finish up most of the stations though some have to be finished up tomorrow due to some constraints (ex. pharmacy still needs most of their medicines). Once we were prepared as we could be for the day, we split up into some groups to take a walk around the block of the school. The walks were very eye opening for us all, revealing what situations the people in this area of Cartagena live in. All of the housing in this area is very small and run down. A lot of the roads were dirt with pot holes all around, making it difficult to drive through. Garbage was everywhere, including broken glass on which kids would proceed to play soccer around. A majority of the people were out on their patios hanging out with friends and family. Loud music would be blasting out of the houses (more like apartments) every quarter mile or so, making it seem like we were in a giant fiesta on the whole walk. All in all, the walk around helped us all understand the situations these people come from when they show up to the clinic. After the walk around, the group (minus all dental personnel who just left to set up their work site) jumped on our buses to go back to the hotel. We ate another great meal in the evening and enjoyed a night devotional talking about how Jesus is the truth. Amen to that. Tomorrow is the first day of clinic for our team. It will be really hot, humid, demanding, but rewarding none the less. We all ask for your prayers with the start of clinic and trust that you have already been praying for us.
Attached is a picture exemplifying the conditions of the community surrounding the clinic site.