Back row: Ellie Wood, Phil, Bella Wood, Sarah, Aleph, Zia (hiding behind her grandfather), Dr. Ron, Dennis, Don, Al, Rob, Shirlene Wood, Me Front row: Andy, Dennis, Rick, Linda, Bobby Wood.
The Healing Fund, a 13-person missions team, led by Aleph, spent 11-days doing all sorts of cool things on Isla Bastimentos, Isla Tigre, Buena Esperanza, Tierra Oscuras, De Jada and Valle Escondido. We had medical/dental clinics, baseball clinics for the kids, repaired water tanks and installed new rain catchment systems, dug ditches for pipelines, drilled wells and started constructing a medical clinic building at Agua Dulce (the property of the Wood family).
I really loved how well everyone worked together and each had an important role to play. We had the medical staff, construction staff, water staff, ministry staff…everyone used their talents to serve in the name of Jesus; with joy and love (even during long hot days and too many biting bugs).
Aleph has been leading missions teams to this region since 2007 to provide rain catchment systems and bring medical clinics to the Ngobe communities. Aleph was trained by Hydromissions in 2011 to add manual drilling to the mission. He has since incorporated Hydromissions’ manual drilling method into their short-term missions trips. Serving in the same way to the same indigenous people group, The Healing Fund and Hydromissions partner to keep providing safe drinking water in this region of Panama year-round.
Now that the team has left, part of me can’t believe all that was accomplished in the short time, but part of me can – the part of me that is sooooo tired after the fast-paced week and a half.
Below are a few photos, but I did not get shots of all the activity – baseball clinics went over really well with the kids, but I wasn’t at the clinics to get photos.
The kids sat on long benches, watching cartoons about hygiene, while waiting to see Dr. Ron.
Repairing a rain water catchment system at the school in Buena Esperanza.
Carting and carrying supplies for the clinic at Valle Escondido.
On this particular day, I thought I was going to be helping the Dentist, but I bounce where needed…which is why I am dressed so nice to dig ditches at Asilo 😉 P.S. Sarah, Rick and Andy really did most of the ditch. I helped on the second day of digging, when it was nearly finished!
Most days, we used two boats to get to the various villages – even with two boats, we had to be creative to fit tools and humans.
Rick and Andy pretending to work for the photo. Just kidding… they worked really hard.
This path doesn’t look nearly as precarious in this photo as it was in real life.
Unfortunately, a typical latrine in these Ngobe villages along the water.
“Don’t pollute; dilute” must be the motto for this latrine 😉
Sometimes you find cool things in the ocean…like a water tank.
Andy, working with Nicholas (right), using a hot machete to create the hole needed for the inlet pipe in this tank.
On the last full day, Dr. Ron taught a class to the “gringos” from the area. We had about 60 guests come to learn about tropical diseases and the infections/fungi common in this area. This is the slide on the fun little unwanted guest, the botfly.
After Dr. Ron grossed everyone out with 20 slides on infections (which we all really loved, even though it was gross), Andy taught an engine repair class. This class attendance was split between gringos and locals so it was translated to Spanish.
Simon, far right, is my drilling teammate. Phil, center, is the best talker I ever met (in a really good way!). Phil is fantastic at just sitting down and sharing the gospel with all ages. He makes everyone feel so comfortable and at ease. His main purpose on these trips is to share and build those little relationships in the villages. Phil is fluent in Spanish from his 25+ years of mission work in the Dominican Republic. He is also Dr. Ron’s brother-in-law.
Al was our dentist on this trip. Sarah and I assisted him during most of the clinics – setting up the lidocaine needles, cleaning the tools and, most importantly, being the “dentist chair” since we didn’t have a real one. We would have the patient in one chair and we would sit behind in another chair and tilt the patient back so that Al could work on pulling their teeth. Al, like Phil and Dr. Ron, is also a super cool missionary, fluent in Spanish. Al served in Ecuador.
Linda & Rick Doty: What do you need? They can do it! Crochet, puppets, build desks for the school, read to the kids, baseball, art projects, dig ditches, organize, sew and hand out dresses. I could never keep track of where these two were because they were always out and about helping in unique pockets of service to the kids in the villages.