What an incredible week in Nicaragua!
For the first time ever, we teamed up with the medical non-profit One World Health to help run a week of mobile medical clinics around the small town of Tola.
We weren’t sure how much value a bunch of surfers would be able to add among a team of doctors, but things ran incredibly smooth as we saw over 600 patients this week!
The CS volunteers served somewhat as the “oil” of the machine, as they checked in patients, guided them from station to station, fitted for reading glasses, and dropped off and delivered prescriptions. We were thrilled at the chemistry of the group, and the care and love these doctors showed each patient. And we’ve learned that if you want to connect with a kid and don’t speak their language, it turns out all you need is a few adhesive mustaches and an inflated surgical glove with a cat or dogs face drawn on it to light up their day.
Each day started at first light for a morning surf, then breakfast and off to a new part of town for the day’s mobile clinic. Some of the doctors shared what a honor it is seeing the joy expressed by parents and the trust instantly placed in them. Dr. Chung carefully cleared a significant ear blockage, restoring hearing to a woman. Another special thing this week was seeing Dr. Jeff and his wife / registered Nurse Kimball, serve together. They are both pediatric specialists, but this trip was their first time getting to work together and see each other using their gifts to serve.
Often, the gift is simply seeing parents receive assurance from a professional, as their child may have never had a routine check up. They are able to leave with peace of mind that their kids are getting the nutrition they need, and growing as they should. OWH runs a full time sustainable clinic in Tola, and patients are connected with this resource.
One patient was an elderly man with debilitating foot pain. He’s lived the past 9 years in only sandals, worn completely through in parts, and his feet and arches hurt deeply. A typical day of work for him would’ve been spent in the fields performing hard physical labor, but he has been unable to work due to his debilitating foot condition. Dr. Daryl, who had worn a pair of running shoes to clinic, bent down, unlaced his own shoes, and placed them on the man’s feet – a perfect match! This gave the man the experience of arch support and cushioned soles for the very first time. Ten minutes later, with a big grin on his face, the man was still walking back and forth outside of the clinic.
As we talk to people arriving at the clinic we are learning their stories. We are learning about runny noses and sore knees. We are learning about kidney stones and esophageal reflux. We are learning about being sad from a lost pregnancy and about mean kids at a boy’s school.
We are learning that we are all the same. We are learning that we all have stories.
Christ and his followers told and heard many stories. Stories about searching for lost sheep, stories about sick children, and stories about women being healed by touching his clothes in a crowd.
For such a moment as this we are part of a story, a story of loving and being loved, a story of searching and finding and a story of lives being changed, both ours and the locals we’ve encountered.
Some of the crew took a boat surf trip on the last day, scoring great waves at Playgrounds and Lance’s Left. We celebrated a great trip with a visit from a local band and Chiky s’mores on the final night, but as the team departed Nicaragua, our hearts were heavy as the usually peaceful country has been in the spotlight with political protests and internal clashes with the government and lives have been lost. We are praying for peace and resolution, and certainly hope to return soon to this beautiful country and people.
We’d love for you to join us on one of our many upcoming trips, click here to see what’s coming up this summer and the rest of the year!