Yesterday, PRHDR sent a team to La Playita, a small village that is extremely poor, very isolated and frequently completely cut off from the world. This was only the second time that PRHDR has managed to access this village, as the last time we tried, the road conditions made it completely unattainable.
This time, we were able to get most of the way there by car. We stopped at the top of a hill, where we were met by our community leader, Evelyn, who has recently joined the PRHDR team. Evelyn had hiked all the way up to the meeting point early in the morning to wait for us and then guided us all the way back down to her village. She also got a mule that carried our bags and patient files. The road was a little complicated and involved a total of 12 river crossings – six on the way there and six on the way back.
The clinic was held on the porch of a peaceful house and the owner of the house showed up part way through sweating profusely and carrying a load of bananas he’d brought for us. When we got there, we saw approximately 40 patients. Many patients complained of physical pain – something to be expected in a very agricultural society.
At the end of the clinic, we did a home visit with two patients, a mother and son who are both severely physically disabled. The son is in his forties and has cerebral palsy, while the mother is “about 80 years old” and had her leg amputated five years ago after a wound became gangrenous. The son does not have a wheelchair and it was really hard, particularly as a group that has travelled to see two people whose entire lives are limited to two rooms.
After the home visit, we hiked back – two miles that frequently seemed to just go straight up and was exhausting. At the beginning of the day, Evelyn had informed us that the village children made this hike both ways every day just to get to and from school.