Peace Care Blog

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“Si es un perro, te muerde”

“If it were a dog, it would have bitten you”
by: Lauren Greene, resident physician
September 9, 2014
Today is our 2nd full day in Guaymate. A cooler evening last night means a better night sleep for several of us, and a more refreshed start to the day especially after our hot breakfast. Just after 9 am we headed across the street to the hospital where we had planned to meet up with Mario, one of the hospital staff, to organize a closet of supplies they had recently received from Project C.U.R.E (a request they had made the day before when we met with Dr. Estevez). Not entirely surprisingly they were not completely ready for us when we arrived, so we enjoyed a nice educational presentation (“charla”) about Tuberculosis given by staff members to the patients in the waiting room.  Admittedly it was probably about a lot more than just TB, but that’s what my limited Spanish picked up – mostly thanks to the colorful pictures on their cloth “slides.” I was impressed by the initiative to take advantage of the captive audience and the opportunity to inform and educate. It was much more beneficial then the random TV channel showing random TV shows in waiting rooms back home.
After listening in to the presentation, we re-scheduled the equipment reorganization for the afternoon, when the patient waiting room would be available.  The rest of the morning we took a tour around Guaymate where we had been staying lead by the returning group members.  Sandwiched between the small shops and dwellings was the (quite clean and impressive appearing) community center, complete with a computer lab, and a nearby gym (filled with lots of you children) with a back drop of sugar cane fields. The many smiling faces and greetings from random people on the street: “Bueno” (short for buenos dias) and my personal favorite when running into someone we know “que lo que” (literally translated what the what or what’s up) are a nice contrast to the habit of seeing people walking the streets of Chicago in their own world (rarely stopping to acknowledge another soul).

The central park of Guaymate
After lunch, with a belly full of rice and beans, we headed back to the hospital to undertake the task of organizing the large amount of supplies delivered by Project CURE. It turns out to be a more involved then we initially anticipate at one point stopping and just starting at the once empty patient waiting room now filled with box after box sorted somewhat arbitrarily into different categories of things – ER, ambulatory, surgery, obstetrics, etc. After briefly being concerned that we were going to have done all the work of taking out the supplies to organize them only to put them back in again (in no more usable of a format then we had found them) we discovered an empty room.  Mario was able to create a lock for the door and somewhat improve the lighting (a major concern is leaving items unsecured that could be stolen), we were able to organize the supplies in a more systematic way. 4 hours later and 10 pounds lighter we closed the door and headed into town to grab a cold beverage.

Donated medical supplies stored in an unused hospital room

Many of the supplies that were stored away could have been used right away (gloves, alcohol, syringes).  We were less clear on how others might be used (cardiac catheterization kits). The Project CURE shipment was created after a needs assessment identifying supplies the hospital would most benefit from, so we expect most of it to be very useful.

Our team organizing the supplies by hospital unit

This brings me back to the title of the post, translated in English – “if it were a dog, it would have bitten you.”  This is an expression Dr. Estevez taught us, which means that sometimes solutions are so close to you but you don’t see them until much later.  Over the next few days, we’ll be meeting with hospital staff to show how the supplies were re-organized so that hopefully they can start being used immediately, rather than waiting for that dog to bite.


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