What a glorious day! After a great breakfast we loaded the vans and headed up the mountain to the village of Texoxingales (Teo). We arrived at the village and took a tour of the stoves and latrines HAF had helped to build in the village. Then we proceeded to set up shop in the school. It was a three room building and we used two of the rooms. School is out now so we could use the building with no trouble. Eight of the group and the interpreters worked with the adults being fit for glasses. Over 50 people were fitted today and it was reported that many of those had marvelous moments when at last they could see. Clients were evaluated, then moved to a fitting station where they were helped to find a pair of prescription glasses–many donated by the Lion’s Club–and a pair of reading glasses.
While most of the group worked with the adults, three of the group kept the children busy. There were many of them and they were ready to go. A variety of games, bubbles, balloons, and bracelets were handed out.
For lunch we were all given the honor of being invited to the local leader’s home for lunch. We were treated to a rich chicken soup in the living room, where the tables were set with the best hand embroidered table cloths. Then back to work or to play with the children.
There were so many children, all with such bright eyes and ready to play. We tried to play duck duck goose, but with limited Spanish and no translator it became perro, perro, gatto (dog, dog, cat). It worked and everybody had a good time.
After the team finished with the glasses we regrouped and began a mass demonstration (show and tell) of the proper way to brush teeth. Believe it or not we were not laughed out of town. We taught young families with small babies to use a cloth to clean the first teeth of the babies and parents were receptive of the information. They readily accepted the tooth brushes, young and old, and all wanted a cover for their brush.
The next session was a visual demonstration and lecture on the health benefits of hand washing. The local cleaning soap was used and a count down from 1 to 10 was made to show that it needed to be a prolonged wash and not a quick one. It is felt this is one of the most important things we can teach them as this has been proven to decrease disease and the death rates.
While this was going on in the court yard area, a group was meeting with leaders from the three community churches about future needs and concerns. Spanish Bibles were distributed to each church, along with varied children’s Bible teaching books and coloring books. The representatives from the three churches worked out a plan for trying and sharing the materials in an equitable way. When we return, the time will be right to ask “Did you use the material? What parts did you use? How did you use it? What worked the best for you and how?” The group agreed that Vilma will be the single point of contact with us. I believe the locals all left with the feeling that they had received valuable items and were ready to test them in use.
One last task was to leave the tub of school supplies that the Wilkesboro contingent had brought. The teachers will arrive for the new school year on Wednesday, so we decided to leave the supplies with the family that had fed us lunch. They would see that the teachers got all the supplies when school resumed.
As we returned over the mountain we stopped at the top to admire the fantastic view of the Quimistan valley, and stopped again at the water fall. It was a truly great way to finish the day.
Except let me tell you about the food. We are all going to come back over weight!
Dee-Dee and Allen