A day in the field

As part of setting up the clinic, I visited a couple of villages and talked with future clients of the clinics to find out what they’re already doing for their healthcare. My story for today, is about a family from Santa Catarina (above), or I should say the father and one of his sons. His other children were in school and the mother wasn’t home.

I’d been to several houses that day before coming to this home. Generally speaking, the kitchen is in a separate room with a dirt floor. Most of them have some signs of food, though it’s often just tortillas and maybe a vegetable. In this home, I saw no signs of food.

The man (above) is a carpenter by trade and the brutal rainy season that we’ve had this year has hurt his business (I heard this over and over again with those in agriculture as well). What happens is that because of all the moisture, the glue doesn’t hold. I suppose my point is that even if he were able to work, he still wouldn’t have much but in this case, he had even less.

What moved me is that as we were sitting in his kitchen/sala, he sent his son to the store to buy cola so that he could offer us a drink. I could hear him give this direction to his son and I wanted to jump up and stop him which of course would have been too rude for words. I still get teary thinking about it and I was glad to have on my sunglasses to hide my discomfort.

I’ve experienced this generosity before in other parts of the world too – families with very little themselves offer what they do have to the guests who are sitting in their livingrooms. I’ll bet you have as well. On one trip to Hungary, we arrived at 8am in a small house in a small village and we were given shots of vodka (I think some people call this an eye opener) and their daughters bedroom to sleep in (she slept on the sofa). This family didn’t have much but what they had they shared.

This was different. They had nothing and still gave.

And just so you know that I'm still OK and that it's still beautiful here....