Friday, January 20, 2017

Nicaragua Part 2: Clinic

Now we start on the reason why we came to Nicaragua anyway: help people with eye exams and glasses.  Like I mentioned earlier Lee was in a classroom with 6 other optometry students.  There were 8 eye doctors total who had either 6 or 5 students each also.  Over a thousand people were seen each day.  First they would line up to get an eye exam, then if they needed glasses they came to the dispensary where Clark and I helped at.  Once Monday rolled around it was VERY windy.
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Lots of people already waiting.  The clinic opened at 8am.  We arrived pretty much right at 8.  Lee went ahead of us to meet with his students.
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It was fun meeting his students.  A few of them were incredibly nervous about the eye exams because they had never done one before.
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Lee had an edge up with his patients since he knows Spanish.  A few of the other doctors have picked up quite a bit through the years too.  Lee would screen each of his patients and then tell each student what to look for or be aware of during the exam.
Jan 9 2017 (5)

Clark and I in the dispensary.  Trying to find a close prescription was kind of tricky.  I mentioned somewhere it's similar to getting a lady the size 10 heels she wants.  You only have a 7.5 pair of flats, or size 10.5 pair of sneakers.  Once I found a prescription that matched exactly.
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Another shot in Lee's clinic.
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Lunch break.  We had about an hour each day for lunch and ate there each day.  Some people from San Juan were hired to catered the meal.  (And we all paid for it prior with our VOSH fees.) 
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Clark loved trying on the glasses.  He also was very concerned about his hair during this trip.
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The first day went well and we all survived.  We got out after 5:00pm.  I was hoping to be done at 4 like Lee was everyday last year. Walking around that night a band was playing at a restaurant. So here's a picture, ha ha.
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It was weird seeing little kids on motorcycles, or on the lap of their mom in the front passenger seat of a car.
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One night during clinics, I think Tuesday, we stopped at a chocolate shop.  I wanted to go back later and get chocolates but forgot about it.  It was a cute little shop.  The cake wasn't good, but I liked the chocolate mousse.
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The lunches were slightly random, but good.  Almost every day there was some sort of chicken, either with a sauce or fried chicken.  And rice.  They make yummy rice there! This day there was some Christmas type candy, nuts and cheese puffs.  And always pop/soda, whatever you call it.  We normally had Fresca.
Jan 10 2017 (2)

After lunches we would have a meeting with all the VOSH people.  We were supposed to be done eating and back to work at 2, but that rarely happened.  More like 2:30 or 2:45. 
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Screening another patient.
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We heard about a good barber in town and took Clark to get his hair cut.  We went Monday night, but the power was out, thus his shop closed. 
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Wendall cut his hair.  It was about $7.  The first time EVER we've paid for a haircut on a male in our house.  I have always cut our kids hair, and have even cut mine a few times!  Lee cuts his own hair. 
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It was really fun picking a restaurant every night to eat at.  In ways it was kind of hard because there are SO many to choose from in San Juan.
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Talking to the kids. I had chicken nachos that night. 
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Clark some lobster with a beef patty?
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And......a whole fish, for Lee. The yellow circular items are so yummy.  They are smashed plantains fried up a little.  Very similar to french fries.
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We found out that since we were associated with VOSH we could swim at the Pelican.  It had cooled off some every evening and was still very windy, so Lee and I were not interested.  Clark was though! 
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Days 3&4 were very similar as well.  A four day clinic week I think worked great.  It was long enough to help a lot of people, but short enough for us that it didn't seem overwhelming.
Jan 10 2017

One morning before we started...Clark reading, the others sorting.  Since people had to see the doctors first, we didn't see any patients till about 8:45ish. But then we'd have really long lines and were super backed up.  We were always the last people to finish for the day.
Jan 11 2017 (2)

So the toilets at the school weren't that great.  One of them would flush sometimes, others would not at all.  Not all of them had toilet seats either.  This lady is Sarah that helped in the dispensary. There was a big thing of water that you scoop out a jug of water to pour down to toilet to make it flush. Thankfully they had soap and water there to wash up.  Though one afternoon I put soap on my hand, went to the courtyard to wash them and the water wasn't working.  Thankfully one of Lee's students had some hand wipes, and then there was hand sanitizer in the dispensary.
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Getting water to flush the toilet.
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Group photo! Wednesday we all wore our VOSH shirts.
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We heard there was going to be a surprise, but I didn't think much of it.  A guy proposed to his girlfriend.  It was really cute.  I did think fast enough to get a picture of him on his knee.
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The dispensary group...Back L to R: Sarah, Nora, Judy, Colleen, Ruth, Myra, Marisha, Clark, Sally, & Sally's daughter...rats can't remember her name...

Front L to R: Alan, me, Kevin, Rey, Allison   One young adult translator not pictured: Syonara.       
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This lady I helped get her glasses and then saw her the next day helping with food for lunch.
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Clark loved hanging out with everyone.  He is quite the social guy.  In this picture, Clark is sitting next to Kevin in the desk.  Kevin is one of the translators that helps out.  He is studying to be an accountant which is really cool.  So one afternoon as Kevin was helping me with another patient I asked him if he had heard the expression "a wild goose chase".  I thought of that while I was searching for this person's glasses.  Actually I felt that for 99% of the people's prescriptions I was looking for!  It was funny because Kevin didn't understand me at first and started to translate to the patient "a wild goose chase".  Anyway, Lee told me they love learning English phrases and do they!  It was fun having Kevin ask me how to pronounce the saying and what not.  I finally wrote it down for him.  We also taught him a few others, but personally it seemed like he liked "a wild goose chase" phrase the best.
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That night there was a big dinner for everyone at the Pelican.  I decided to change into a "cuter" summer type outfit and I'm glad I did.  Everyone was dressed up!  Lee and I had no idea about this, so Lee went as he was.
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Last day of clinic..lots of people lined up! 
Jan 11 2017

Backtracking to breakfast.  Something I started getting was their fruit, yogurt and granola.  It was really yummy.  When Lee first ordered this dish they did a fun design on the bowl edge with honey, but not on this one.
Jan 12 2017 (2)

This student, Hyder, will be coming back next year which is fun.
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This is Lee's door "guard".  She worked with him last year too.  We found out that last afternoon that the doctors normally tip their translators and volunteers.  Lee had no idea about this and didn't do it last year.  People need to speak up about these things.  I'm glad I overheard a conversation about the dispensary people tipping the translators.  I went over to a doctor that has been coming down for about 16 years and asked him what to protocol was.  Lee tipped the guard and her two helpers, then invited his two translators to meet us for dinner that night with the rest of his students.
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In case I make some.....glasses cases that Marisha makes.  We ran out early in the morning on Thursday.  I need to get with the young women and see if they would like to do this for a project.
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That afternoon when I did a quick run to the ATM with Clark, we stopped by the local library and chatted with Joyce.  She met Lee last year at the VOSH clinic and came down this year to help in the library.  She's the one that went to the temple open house.  One of the other doctors did too, actually.  Joyce is really nice and really likes Lee.  She took us on a tour of the library.  It's bigger than the one in our town!
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Lunch time!
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Clark recommending that day's chicken to Sarah.
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It's folded over, but this is the slip of paper we would get from each patient to look for their glasses.  Good luck.  I don't know what the numbers mean so it was hard to know which numbers I could tweak.  I learned a little bit, but it's still foreign to me.
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Only once did we go to the Pelican for a bathroom break.  They were just down the street from the school.  But a steep hike up to the hotel.
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So so pretty.
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Here are our numbers!  It was a record breaking year.  Almost 4500 people were seen!!! The couple in the orange shirts coordinate this clinic week.
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Lee and the doctors, and others.
LtoR: Peter, Lee, Matt, Larry, Bob, Kathleen, Audrey-Matt's wife & a lawyer, then the two guys in back Brian & Jerry.  Get this, Larry brought a friend named Gary.  Too funny.  The two Nicaraguan ladies I am not sure of their names.  One of them is a local doctor and one of them helped oversee the clinic with the government?  No clue.
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That night we treated Lee's six students and two translators to dinner.  A tradition that the doctors do.  Lee found out about it last minute last year.  Clark found these fun RayBan glasses in the dispensary.  Marisha is an optician and runs the dispensary. She let Clark keep them and another pair of glasses.  Clark eventually popped the lenses out and just wore them around.  Clark picked up a souvenir too...the wooden thing he is holding.  I think it's to place hot pots on.
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We had a fun time at dinner that night with the students.  It was fun telling them about our family and what we've been doing since optometry school.  And lots of people were shocked we had five kids and were pleasantly surprised when they found out we had twin girls.  A few of the young adult translators didn't know till the last day that Clark was my son, and they were surprised about that.  Not sure how.....  We made it through clinic week!

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