Our day began by visiting a local cancer clinic run by a convent of nuns from Puerto Rico. This cancer clinic is one of the only available chemo treatment centers in the northern part of the country. The conditions and availability of medical supplies were far less than that of the United States. The oncologist had patients at the clinic every Friday to receive treatment. Although this treatment may be successful, many patients have recurrent cancer that they do not survive. Chemotherapy is half the price of the average Dominican income for one round of therapy. At the clinic however, they offer a lower price for the treatment. They also have a pharmacy in this clinic that fills prescription meds for low to no cost. There is a general doctor that comes every fifteen days, but only one exam room is available at a time. The clinic is currently working on reopening their dental unit and holding a surgical clinic run by volunteers.
Before heading to lunch, we went to a local market where they sold fruits vegetables and meats. The market was completely open with many bugs flying around. When buying livestock, one was given the option of having the animal slaughtered at the butcher or taking the animal home to do it for oneself.
After lunch we returned to Dove Missions to teach the children a lesson on the biology of different types of cells as well as a lesson on the spreading of germs.The first lesson was taught through the use of worksheets and microscopes so that the children could visually see the cells they were learning about. The children were very excited about this because most of them had never seen or used a microscope. The second lesson was taught by a hands-on activity in which the children could see how easily germs can spread by gluing eyes onto pom-poms and blowing them throughout the classroom. The kids also really enjoyed this activity, and it taught them the importance of hand hygiene.
By Kayla Royster and Caleigh Jordan
(Follow the experiences of our students as they have been serving in the Dominican Republic during spring break. Visit the blog at the Barton College School of Nursing.)