I didn't realize what an immense underestimation that would turn out to be. It truly changed my life. As I sit here typing now, it's hard for me to even describe in words. I spent a week in the Dominican Republic in the capital city of Santo Domingo, at a very run-down and limited-resource hospital, with the most incredibly kind and caring group of people I have ever met. We worked 12 hour days, sweating and hustling, to perform nearly 100 surgeries, most of which were on children (who otherwise would never have the opportunity to to get such care.) I was completely exhausted every night...and it felt amazing.
What I didn't expect was the level of gratitude and kindness shown to us by the patients, children, and families. The children were brave, (they even said thank you when we started their IV lines) and walked proudly to the operating rooms. The mothers hugged us, offered their help with our work, and brought us gifts and homemade food. They held our hands and cried and said we were angels....all for doing something we do at work every day and take for granted.
Since the day I left the Dominican, I have been looking forward to going back. This winter, our group will head back again, with more physicians, to perform more life-changing surgeries. The first day of our clinic last year, the huge waiting room overflowed with hopeful parents and their children. There is no shortage of people there who desperately need our help, and greatly appreciate it.
Each volunteer in our group pays their own way. Costs include the flights, hotel, bus transportation all week, food, and incidentals. We also pay for and bring 100% of the medical supplies we use, which we pack into duffel bags and pay for as extra luggage. Last year we brought candy and toys for the kids. Many of the children showed up in shoes that were several sizes too small, the backs of which had been cut out so their heels could hang over. This year, I would love to bring as many pairs of kids' shoes as I can fit in my suitcase! I can't go on this mission trip without help, however. Any amount you can donate makes a difference! I know that not everyone is in a position in their life to be able to travel and volunteer, but please consider making a donation...it truly makes a difference. Thank you!!