Monday, May 28, 2007

Day 8

We started off our day with breakfast at the El Valle restaurant and some last minute shopping at the market. I must admit, it was nice to buy fruit this morning for 5 cents. After that we packed up, left the hotel, and went to the only clinic located in El Valle called Centro Materno Infantil de El Valle de Anton. Some people travel from 6 hours away just to go there! There are only two doctors and two nurses for the whole clinic. One of the things we learned while at the clinic was that there is no health prevention or health teaching for the community as of yet, but it is one of the goals they are working toward. We were also able to see Kevin, a new baby just born at the clinic 5 o’clock that morning with his mother. We learned at the clinic that they only do natural births because there are no types of anesthesia available. They also have to send mothers 45 minutes away to another hospital if they have any complications with their delivery. After the hospital we went to a nursing home, Casa Hogar, run by a local church. Everyone found it interesting because it was run very different than any of the nursing homes in the US. The church members would actually go out into the community and find older people that needed more assistance than their families could provide for them. They would then ask the families permission to put them in the nursing home and provide extra care for them. For the people of El Valle it was free. The residents of the nursing home consisted of 7 men and 2 women who all shared the same room together. After the nursing home we all had lunch together at Sla Librada. The dish of choice was mostly Sancocho, a popular Panamanian style soup with chicken, yucca, and cilantro. I can say the Sancocho was good, but trying out new things here has definitely been an adventure! After that it was a two hour bus ride out of El Valle and back to the City of Knowledge. It is good to be home :)

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