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Day 2: Clinic July 6th, 2017

Women’s Health Medical Mission

It is our second day at the clinic in Escuintla. When we walk in around 8:00 in the morning and there are already at least 100 women waiting patiently for us. We split up. Some of us go into the pharmacy, to organize and be prepared to hand out medicines as quickly as possible. Others head to the vital signs area, where the weights and blood pressures of the women will be recorded. A few of us go to the registration area. The doctors head to the cervical screening areas. Throughout the day, some of the student volunteers will shadow the doctors and observe the screening process.

We learn that many of the women and children here normally don't eat breakfast, so a few of us cut up some Pop tarts for them. Some thought they were not allowed to eat before the cervical cancer screens. The women smile graciously as we hand out the food.

We had collected multiple suitcases of clothing donations to give out to the women, mostly for their children. Together, a few of us fold and organize the clothing by size. After the women receive their medicine from the pharmacy, they can pick up an item of clothing for each of their children.

The women here are pleasant and fun to talk to. They smile, make jokes, and their laughter is contagious as we converse with them. They seem so thankful, and many repeatedly call us "very kind."

A local volunteer shows us the newspaper of the day and we see that our mission has been featured in it. It was a good reminder to see that we really are making an impact and all of our hard work is worth it for them. A few other volunteers, like Nurse Ashle and teacher Madiha from Pennsylvania, presented educational workshops on pelvic infections and mental health. The volunteers in the pharmacy also take countless blood sugar checks for the patients lined up eagerly to see if they have any risk of hypo- or hyperglycemic issues.

At the end of the day, we are exhausted, especially from the humidity, but it all seems worth it. After seeing how grateful the women are, it helps us realize how important this work is, not for our own gratification, but because people are confirming that they are in need. In a country where cervical cancer is the number one cause of death in women, clinics like this are needed badly. It is hard for us to see how greatly we affected their lives or which prayer we answered from just one free clinic. The day is long and hot in this area, but we know the sacrifice has an immeasurable impact on the ladies that come and patiently wait all day.

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