During our time in Montego Bay, we met some incredible people with even more incredible stories. We were encouraged and embraced by each of them as we had the privilege to serve them. It had become evident that our trip was intended to be more than the act of pouring out materials to a resource poor city. Rather, it was meant to be an opportunity to serve others while learning valuable lessons that are worth more than anything money can buy. Today, we had the privilege to talk to some of the people in the city of Retirement. We asked them what motivated them to come in today for their health screenings and their answers reflected their eagerness to learn about their health. Thank you to these amazing individuals for volunteering their stories.
“It is important to know of your cancer or your blood sugar so that you can be treated and take medication for it. I saw the driver and was told about the health screening so I decided to stop by. It is always good to know than to not know.”
“Experience with getting my blood sugar checked. I thought it was going to be painful but it was not. It was the first time to know what is going on with me.”
“In a community we appreciate all of the activities going on. Check on your system to find out what problems you have.”
“Because we don’t have money to private doctor and since you are free, why not come. There are a lot of people and no doctors to attend. We appreciate you guys coming. There are so many diseases coming around that make me very concerned. We have to make sure to check our systems to see if we are okay. With you guys here, we feel good.”
“It has gotten better but before, it was not so good. All day and all night to see a doctor. They just give you a prescription and that’s it. I am diabetic and my health is really important. Only Metformin is free. Insulin, you have to buy. In so many years, you are the first in 15 years that have come out to screen us.”
“Very excited to come. We need to keep our body healthy, eat properly to stay active.”
Lastly we had the honor of talking to Marva Lawson-Byfield, the Chief Nursing Officer of Jamaica, as she shared inspirational words with us. Almost every one of us were welling with tears in our eyes when she reminded us of how important it is to not only learn the code of nursing ethics but to actually put it into practice. The way in which she spoke with absolute confidence, warmth, and authenticity left us in awe of her ability to touch all people in such a personal way. In some ways, we felt like we were watching our childhood super hero while dreaming to be like her one day. By the end of the night, we were filled with the hope and the motivation to soon become the type of nurse that she described– one that serves others with the guidance of our head, heart, and hands.
“If nurses don’t care, the patient dies. The head and the hands must be guided by the heart.”
In the words of Reverend Clement Clarke, the senior pastor of Montego Bay New Testament Church of God, “Do not ever forget, nursing is a calling.”