Dominican Republic (Pharmacy): A Dissonance of Sounds
5.29.2014 | by Joanna Berry, Vice President of South Texas Children's Home Ministries (Host Partner)
The experience: motorcycles, trucks roar past – who needs mufflers? A car bounces over the ruts wailing an emergency siren, more effective than a horn. The lay pastor of this chapel, now med-clinic for a day, plays Spanish praise music over a loud speaker. And the children, running, climbing, chasing, tripping, falling, first laughing then crying as they wait their turn to see the doctors. A symphonic dissonance of sounds, representing people who will receive God’s love today through a medical mission.
In one corner of the courtyard Valentina, one of our translators, soon to become a permanent South Texas Children’s Home Ministries staff member, gathers the children together to sing choruses, tell a Bible story, then hand out coloring sheets. Patients have been registered in numerical order and periodically the cry goes out, “numero 50, numero 51” for their turn to enter the chapel. Inside, sheets have been hung from floor to ceiling to separate the chapel into pharmacy, triage, and consulting rooms for the docs. Children scream in fright, certain that taking their temperature will be painful. Sometime in the middle of the day, there is a break for a delicious Dominican arroz con pollo meal, and the clinic continues into the afternoon.
Amazingly, it’s not at all chaotic. The number one priority is to smile; it communicates God’s love in any language. Each patient describes their problems and caring translators relay questions as a diagnosis is made, then refer to the pharmacy team for the appropriate meds, dosages and instructions. The first day of clinic over 150 patients were attended, 80 of them children. All together the Lipscomb University pharmacy students, professors, and doctors ministered to over 675 people in three days of clinics. Lipscomb team also generously supplied meds that they will leave behind for our local Christian docs to administer to our Samuel’s Fund children and families. We are grateful for the many ways God supplies the needs here in the DR.