Posted By: Alyson Landry on July 7, 2011

Labels: Nicaragua , Volunteers

Some say laughter is the best medicine. Almost every night the sound of laughter, singing, sometimes instruments can be heard at the “Comfort Inn.” The Inn is a room on the USNS Comfort where patients who are getting surgery the next day stay overnight. The Latter Day Saints (LDS) organization, another medical volunteer organization participating in Continuing Promise 2011 hosts the evening get together to help ease the tension of patients and their families who will be receiving surgery the next day.

Tonight, HOPE volunteers joined in the fun and dancing. We broke out into the hokey pokey first thing. No matter what language, age or country, everyone knows the hokey pokey. So, after loosening up a bit, the group sang various songs together in Spanish. Most of the patients and family members gladly joined in. 

Laughter and smiles filled the room as people began to connect.

HOPE Volunteer Christy Manso, who got her first undergraduate degree in music, sang Ave Maria beautifully. As she stood in the center of the circle singing this song to mostly Catholics, everyone listened attentively. When she finished to everyone’s applause, a woman sitting in front of Manso dried the tears from her eyes and smiled.

“The last time I sang it, a couple of days ago, someone teared-up as well. I wasn’t sure if I should sing it again,” she says. “But the great by product of doing this is that the patients recognize me tomorrow in discharge planning. It’s just nice for them to see a friendly face.”

“Two days ago, as patients were leaving the ship, most who heard me sing gave me a hug,” Manso says with a smile.

Later, after several women sang Nicaraguan songs with gusto, the tunes turned softer. The group bid each other “Buenos Noches”  and “Adios,” and turned in for the night.

Tomorrow their medicine will be different.

For more photos of volunteers in Nicaragua, check out our Flickr site.

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