David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his report; click here to read previous entries.
I took fewer pictures today. It was a day not unlike like the others as far as routine was concerned. The city of El Tahar was only 30 minutes from the hotel and, compared to our previous outings, it felt as though we had barely left the hotel when we arrived at our destination. We set up the clinic in a small church on a two-way street in what would be considered a barrio at best.
Today the students and doctors saw over 500 patients and I was put back to work dispensing medicine. At 11:00 it was so busy that my guide had to come to me to say it was time to go. We only drove about 10 minutes before we arrived at a large metal gate that was being staffed by a teacher who waved us in. As we entered the courtyard, this time it was quiet. After meeting the principal, we were shown the entire school had been put in assembly around the playground.
We spoke with the principal for a few moments and then handed out some shirts to the class of her choice. I explained to her I had jerseys, balls and socks that were for the school's soccer program. She had us come to the playground where we were surrounded by 1,500 students. They sang two songs and then the principal gave a speech of recognition and thankfulness in both Spanish and Mayan. They all waved and clapped as we left them. They followed us to our car then out onto the street. They were so excited.
On the way back I asked our driver about the school and why there were so many children. He laughed and said the day is divided in 1/2 and that 1,500 go in the morning and 1,500 more go in the afternoon. It feels good to know that the donations went to a school that was in great need. Being a public school in Guatemala does not mean you get help from the local government.
The rest of the day was spent working. We did a house call in the afternoon and the doctors who agreed to go requested that I go along for their security. It was described as close and we decided to walk. It was at least seven or eight Guatemalan blocks from where we were, with Guatemalan blocks being much larger than what we are used to in the US.
I stood on the porch outside the one-room house and listened through a concrete hole that was also the window. The woman they were attending to was diagnosed with a broken hip. They repeatedly asked her to agree to a surgery to which she replied she would never do. She said she was old and scared and resigned herself to praying for a miracle and nothing else. They tried to explain that she would surely die if she did not seek help soon. As we left the home and headed back, there were many mini-conversations amongst the people who had attended. Some spoke of previous experiences with loved ones that were similar, some asked each other what they would do if presented with a similar situation while I'm sure the one thought in the back of people's minds was could they have done more.
From my prospective of a literal outsider looking in, I will have to say that what was done was a beautiful and heartfelt house call. I've heard the term “bedside manners" used before. Until today, my understanding of this term was in my mind the doctor being nice while you were in the hospital. The saying took on a much deeper and more altruistic meaning for me today. As I walked behind the group listening to their conversations about the experience, I could only think about how this would be in the minds of the student doctors forever, this day, Valentine's Day. Each and every day has been full of experiences to remember for all of us.