Today, we went out in to the “campo” or countryside surrounding San Francisco de Macoris to search for mothers involved in the Kangaroo program. Our first stop was a small village called Las Matas de Cotui. The mother had triplets who were 9 weeks old. She would “kangaroo” 2 of them at a time. Although they were relatively healthy, each child had some kind of medical problem. One had thrush, another had club feet, and another had a functional heart murmur. But it appeared that they were all gaining adequate weight and improving. Only a few went in to the house, and the rest of us went to survey the surrounding community to get a better feel for where the children will be raised and what their environment will be like. There are photos below of the triplets and the community. We proceeded to drive through the countryside. We stopped at the other hospital, and we got to compare Then we went to another village called Las Guaranas. This area was a little more developed. Here, we saw another set of triplets; however one of the triplets had died shortly after birth. The two surviving children were around 18 months and were doing quite well.
To continue our animal/breastmilk saga, Sara H. found the kitten of the house cat “Pooka” this evening. We named her Kanga- for Kangaroo. She looks to be about 5 or 6 weeks old as well, and she thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie’s breastmilk as well! Sarah G, Sara H., and Kathleen have had so much fun playing with all their baby animals! Jenny says this is the year of the animals; but we say it is the year of the babies! Kittens, puppies and babies, oh my! The puppies are doing great and are growing so fast. We know they will probably be the saddest to see us leave!
Tomorrow, we will go visit more mothers and babies in the morning, and in the afternoon we will go through our data and begin our presentation for the hospital on Thursday afternoon! We are also hoping to get to visit the “coco” farm of one of our Dominican friends. One of the most important parts of our work here is continuing to build a relationship with the local hospital, and not just “impart knowledge” on the people here, but help them figure out what works best in their individual situation. By forming a relationship with and empowering the health care staff and community leaders, we hope to provide a sustainable way for them improve the quality of care for the people of San Francisco de Macoris, the Dominican Republic, and the rest of the Caribbean.
Kathleen, Catharine, and the DR Team
Here are some pictures from our trip so far! (Today was the first day we could upload some of them)
Our first day, just after orientation
These were two of the triplets- the mother would “kangaroo” two of them at a time
This was in the village where the triplets live.