“Bienvenidos a Guaymate, la Republica Dominicana!”
Author: Morgan Madison, Resident physician
Sidenote: Bienvenido is also the name of one of the CAB members who is from Bateye Ochenta (slightly confusing for a minimal Spanish speaker when I kept asking his name and he kept saying “welcome (Bienvenido)”, and I kept saying “thank you; what’s your name?”).
We all met up safely at the airport and then hopped in a van headed to Guaymate. Not really having an exact address, we had our driver Jesus confirm the direction of Guaymate from La Romana (he had been to Guaymate once a long time ago) and then made it to Guaymate Hospital. When we asked for La Iglesia (the church) de Cherrie (the pastor’s name), many young children were excited to show us the right spot. Cherrie and her husband (both pastors I believe) welcomed us in and showed us around. A little while later some of the CAB (community advisory board) members – Melida, Nelisa, and Bienvenido gave us a brief evening tour of Guaymate. Even though it was night here, so many people were outside: kids playing, women walking around, people sitting on their porches.
Melida, Nelisa, and Bienvenido are what Rosa (the previous Peace Corps Volunteer at Guaymate) calls “multipliers”. Rosa and Dylan are both part of the Youth Development sector in PC-DR. Rosa worked with and organized various youth groups during her time here and now some of the youth in her original group each have and run their own youth group – hence the term “multipliers.” Dylan has only been here for about 6 months now, and he has been doing work with adolescent boys in his youth group where they talk about sexual health, communication skills, mentorship, etc. He’s also a soccer coach for some of the older men in Guaymate where he has introduced the idea of having the older men work with coaching and mentoring younger boys through soccer leagues.
Through the CAB members’ work, the previous GCHT group, was able to perform the community assessment phase for Guaymate, identifying areas of need among the community members in the Bateyes. Most of the identified areas of need had a common theme of health and services at Guaymate Hospital. Which brings us to this phase of the project: intervention – introducing a collaborative tool to help hospital staff with quality improvement – COPE. This will hopefully be a sustainable way to keep the dialogue open between the community members and the healthcare providers in continually improving hospital services for both the providers and the community members.
After our tour, we all regrouped at the church (CAB members, Rosa, Dylan, and our team) and ran through our schedule here. We ate Dylan’s favorite food here – dumplings. And by favorite food I mean he cringed when it came out because he OD’ed on it during his past ½ year here. Probably the best part of our meeting during dinner was when both Rosa and Dylan laughed at our neatly printed calendar and said, “so … this is nice, but just keep in mind that this might not happen … at all.” Time and schedules have a different meaning here, so even if it seems like nothing really happened according to our schedules, we can all feel comfortable knowing that it will happen eventually.
And then we ended our first night at an impromptu basketball tournament PACKED with people from the community at the freshly painted multi-uso center. All in all, a pretty great first day…