Category: Volunteering

Neighbor.

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• Monteagudo, Bolivia •

Puppydoc, in her usual fashion, seems to befriend animals wherever she goes. This particular companion was one who lived adjacent to the hospital…and whom Puppydoc would visit whenever she just needed some time alone.

Isolation.

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• Monteagudo, Bolivia •

This is where tuberculosis patients, including little Luis’ father, were kept, quarantined away from other patients. It is quite different from the standard isolation facilities seen at most hospitals today, but this is all they had, and they made the most of it.

Outside is where little Luis played while visiting the hospital.

And Puppydoc did end up getting latent TB after caring for the patients, but she took medicine and is now all better.

Little Luis.

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• Monteagudo, Bolivia •

Meet little Luis– otherwise known as Puppydoc’s partner in crime. He was a regular visitor to the hospital, as his father had tuberculosis and was undergoing a long course of treatment.

Since the hospital was a scary place for Luis, we always tried to make the visit pleasant for him. In short, what began as innocent playing quickly escalated to mischievousness as little Luis and Puppydoc discovered the treasure that was the hospital candy stash.

As you can imagine, the supply rapidly diminished into their tummies.

But don’t worry; Puppydoc later replenished the stolen candy with a fresh stock of Dum Dums.

Holiday Across the Globe.

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• Mahantantely, Madagascar & Takoradi, Ghana •

Through my time spent abroad during the holiday seasons, I noticed something:
That despite our dissimilar lives, cultures, appearances, beliefs…
one thing never changes:

Our love and compassion for one another.

Wishing everyone much love this December.

Buddies.

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• Cochabamba, Bolivia •

Because sometimes, there are simply not enough words that can be said that will convey the same amount of endearment as…a staring contest.

Storytime.

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• Vinto, Bolivia •

After tea—and before little Esterita’s nap—she and Puppydoc would often enjoy a story together.

And for a second, they would forget their troubles…big and small…and just touch the stars…

Tea Time!

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• Vinto, Bolivia •

When Puppydoc wasn’t working, she would step right next door to her home…the hospital guesthouse.

There, waiting for her, would be the afternoon tea…fully prepared and served by her host sister, little Esterita…

…and together, they would then chat about their busy day while they took their tea…with two lumps of sugar, of course.

Meet Mayra.

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• Vinto, Bolivia •

One of our littler and bravest guests, I first met Mayra when she was admitted to the hospital with cerebral malaria (a severe form affecting the brain) a month prior. Few thought she was going to make it, but as one can see here…she absolutely did.

From scared little girl to fearless survivor, she quickly became an inspiration to those caring for her. Bonding over children’s songs and Dum Dums (green apple was her favorite), our friendship grew, and she quickly became a ray of light in my day.

Here, she is pictured at one of her follow-up appointments with—what else—
—but a green apple Dum Dum.

Behind the Smile.

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• Melchor de Mencos, Belize •

Meet the Aguado household. A place where love runs deep…simple are the joys…and wide are the smiles that shield the scars aching to heal beneath.

Here we see one of the effects of inaccessible health care. Where fathers lose their lives to otherwise treatable diseases, leaving two mothers and seven children with little more than the lingering fragrance of memories.

Here we also see a strength undeniable. Where the youngest to the eldest come together to care for one another…encourage one another…support one another.

And finally, we see ‘little Juan,’ whose palpable nonchalance tells you really all that you need to know:

He is now the man of the family.

Meet Elise.

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• Belmopan, Belize •

Elise is no average girl. Brought to the children’s home at the age of five, she was a carer of two siblings through her nights on the streets, had always been a fighter and a leader, and is now a pattern for many at her home.

She also wants to be a doctor when she grows up and is already a highly skilled blood pressure taker.

Public Health & Turkey Fun.

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• Santa Elena, Belize •

One of our tasks was to visit the residents in Western Belize. While our purpose was to conduct epidemiologic study and to raise disease awareness, it was just a pleasure getting to know the community.

Also, we always made sure to take time to admire the pet turkeys.

A Hospital Called Home.

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• San Ignacio, Belize •

My dwelling place during a medical trip…a lovely hospital with even lovelier people.