Peace Care Blog

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“La Feria de Salud”

“La Feria de Salud” (The Health Fair)

Author: Morgan Madison, Resident Physician; Dylan Andrews, Peace Corp Volunteer

Date: 3/1/14

The health fair – our last day in Guaymate.  We had games, our handouts for the different charlas (presentations), tables, chairs, green bananas, oranges, and TONS of water … just no way to carry it all from the church to the Multi-Uso center.  In typical fashion, the youth group members pulled it together; while Shannon sent Daniella and I on a mission to find the keys to Lilo’s truck, they had singlehandedly flagged down a guagua, loaded EVERYTHING in, and were on route to the multi-uso.
We arrive promptly at 1 pm with tables and chairs on our backs, a full stomach of rice and beans, just in time to greet the  who arrived early to the fair. Each and every participant entered the gated basketball court to sign-in at the registration table where they would then be sent to various stations within the court. We provided a variety of different stations, where we gave interactive presentations (charlas) on both sexual health and healthy eating.

The most important part of the project was that it was locally led. Understanding that nearly 500 people came to event, that we are a group of nearly 10 Americans who don’t necessarily speak (Dominican) Spanish, it was incredible to have the help of 15 local volunteers who assisted us at each station and helped us register every participant.  This is important because we are here hoping to provide sustainable development, so everything we do must be locally-led.   With their leadership we were able to successfully have a community fair that reached a variety of people that would not have otherwise been able to attend. While this is a success for our group of Americans, the gold medal should definitely be given to the Dominican volunteers and community of Guaymate that made this fair a success.

At the end of the day, while the fair was a success we certainly were aware of our limitations. The community speaks both Spanish and Kreyol, yet we catered mostly to the Spanish-speaking prior to the fair. During the fair when the Kreyol-speaking community members arrived to a certain station, we scrambled to find volunteers who could speak Kreyol and luckily we were able to communicate our teaching sessions. Furthermore the volume of attendees was really not expected and so a second registration table would have been really helpful as well as more instructions in Kreyol and Spanish through out the fair.

I must acknowledge the MC of the fair, DJ Bombo, who was particularly amazing in relaying all of the instructions for each station as well as conducting the lottery. Lastly, what we didn’t realize ahead of time is that many of the community members were coming to SEEK medical attention not necessarily learn about preventive health. Luckily the Central Romana Medical Van was present to provide some acute care.

Despite whatever drawbacks there may have been the end result was certainly a positive one. Everyone enjoyed their time and I think we were really able to make an impact in the community.  This was the final event of our trip, a celebration in the community after most of our prior work on this trip was working with the hospital staff to improve service quality.  We now have a few days to relax and enjoy the sun, and start planning for our next trip to Guaymate!

Children at the Health Fair playing Healthy Food games

 

“Charlas” are interactive presentations.  We discussed health topics selected by our Community Advisory Board as major issues in the community

 

Acute medical care was provided by a mobile van.  The primary purpose of the Health Fair was health promotion and celebration

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