Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 – Day 3 Clinic

Unlike the isolated, impoverished rural villages of our first two clinics, Anayito is a crime-ridden, urban area. Many of the people living here were displaced by such traumatic events as civil war, earthquakes, volcanoes and natural disasters. With nowhere else to go, a community of 380 families was created, with another 90 families living nearby as squatters. They are extremely poor. Most people in Amayito make their living as garbage collectors.

Our trip during the day was safe as we had our security escort but by night this area is considered dangerous. Violent crimes – shootings and robberies – are a nightly occurrence. Gangs are prevalent, many recruiting boys as young as 10 years old.

In the centre of it all is Virginia. Now 48 years old, Virginia was adopted as a baby by a loving middle class couple. She experienced an extremely caring upbringing. When Virginia learned at age 14 that she had been adopted, she realized how lucky she was to have grown up in such a loving, safe environment, and that many children were not so fortunate. It became her goal in life to give to others the gifts that she had been given.

Virginia has run the community center in Anayito for 12 years. She works to provide families in the area with a safe, loving environment where they can receive food and education. She feeds 150 children lunch, three times a week and strives to empower them with knowledge. Her efforts to create a compassionate oasis in the midst of such a violent area are immediately felt upon entering the center, where our medical-dental team set up today’s clinic.

While Virgina’s community center provides respite during the day, families often fear for their safety in their homes at night. Our doctors met many patients suffering from a high level of anxiety.

As Dr. Tony aptly said, there is no medicine we can give that will take that anxiety away. What the team could do though was share a moment of empathy, provide comfort, a hug, and a smile, to let the people of this community know that they are not alone.

No comments: