What a day…. This morning I woke up early, around 6am, to watch the beautiful sunrise on the beach. Pigs snored in their owner’s backyards and we witnessed a mother pig nursing her baby wilburs!!
After a breakfast of omelettes and pancakes, we piled into the bus and made our way to the nearby community called El Tambo. I was so caught off guard when we arrived… We met a few of the families, who live in a variety of homes… Most were small, one-room brick-house dwellings with tin roofs, but some were made of less sturdy materials like thin logs and sheets and open to the outside.
Chickens ran around the front yards, going inside occasionally to escape the curious visitors who were trying to catch them. A lone, skinny puppy peered shyly at us from one of the front stoops.
One of leaders of El Tambo gave us a tour of the neighborhood, introducing us to members of the community. We ended up meeting an older man who asked us for help with his eyes. Professor Kelly grabbed her pen light and examined the man’s cloudy eye… she then spent the next half hour speaking with him and attempting to arrange a way for him to get driven to the nearby health clinic.
After more community members had arrived, we gave several presentations on health promotion topics, including diabetes, hypertension, clean water, and breast exam education in the community center next door.
They were the most wonderful women, and they were so welcoming to us! They loved our presentations and thanked us for them often. A few of us got to play with their adorable children while they stayed and watched the presentations, a welcome break for them from the constant attention the playful toddlers and babies required. (We also got to watch Finding Dori with them!)
It was so obvious they appreciated the time we spent with them, and they showed their gratitude by surprising us with the most delicious meal we had experienced YET, a delicious homemade chicken dish with rice, squash, pico de gallo, and amazing sauce. They even brought us homemade star fruit juice!
We were moved (to tears) by their generosity. They showed complete strangers so much love and hospitality, and they trusted us immensely, not only with their children but with sharing their difficult stories with us.
This just goes to show, someone can have almost nothing… Barely enough money to even feed their family, to buy building materials, or own a mode of transportation, but they still may be some of the kindest, most hospitable, welcoming people you will ever meet in your life. We all agreed-today will have an impact on us for life.