Posted By: Alyson Landry on July 13, 2011

Labels: Nicaragua , Volunteers

Volunteer Nursing Professor Randy Roark watched in astonishment as his patient slowly got up from the chair and slung his arms over beat-up crutches, which he said he walked to the Mendez medical site on.

“Tell him that is amazing he came here on those,” Roark says to his translator. The patient, who had a problem with his knee was sent to the X-ray department at Mendez on Thursday as the rain clouds kept turning on and off their faucets.

A U.S. Navy crowd-control person walked side by side with the patient, the whole way, and he scooped his arm around the patient as he attempted the steps to X-ray.

That was the kind of care seen throughout the Mendez School medical site in Nicaragua today.

Volunteers, Midwife Patricia Olenick worked in women’s health and Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Mbuthia and Nurse Nicole Navarre,  worked in the busy pediatrics section.

Pediatrics was packed with a steady flow the entire day. Since Mendez is a school site, some kids stared at the cut out decorations on the wall or alphabet signs as they were being seen by the doctors.


But, the main theme today was “Mas Agua.” “Drink more water,” the pediatric doctors and nurses kept saying. “No more soda or juice, just more water.”

And there was plenty of it to go around since a water station was set up to convert the local water into drinkable water by testing it and treating it with sodium chloride, according to a Naval nurse. Navy personnel continued to walk around carrying a tray of plastic Ziploc bags filled with drinking water. The temperatures also seesawed between sweat-drenched hot to “this-actually-feels-ok” because of the intermittent showers throughout the day.

Onboard the USNS Comfort, the surgeons are not taking anymore new cases because of transport issues. When the sites are broken down on Saturday, the Continuing Promise 2011 team wants to make sure the patients can safely get home and not be stuck on the ship because of the rough seas or weather.

Visit Project HOPE’s Flickr site for more photos of volunteers onboard the USNS Comfort.

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