Andrea Powell from San Diego tells us about her experience volunteering in Mexico

For over a year now, I’ve been volunteering with the Flying Samaritans, a group of US doctors, nurses, dent…

Volunteering with the Flying Samaritans

18 May 2018

 

For over a year now, I’ve been volunteering with the Flying Samaritans, a group of US doctors, nurses, dentists, translators and pilots. I love the work they do, down in San Quentin, Mexico. 

Their clinic is about 6 hours south of the border, and although only a short distance from San Diego, it’s an entirely different world. 

I’m a huge advocate for volunteering and am very proud to be working for a company that shares my passion for volunteer work. 

When I first began volunteering with the Flying Samaritans, I worked at the eye clinic, helping translate for the optometrists/opticians, so they could fit donated prescription glasses to those in need.  Most of the people we helped work outside in the fields, where the sun and other elements have damaged their sight. 

The clinic has grown enormously since I started: on my recent volunteering visit, they saw close to 120 patients in one day.

On that visit, to Los Pinos clinic, I volunteered with the dentistry team.  This was more challenging than the eyesight work I’d done in the past.  Most of the work is with children, whose tooth decay is brought upon by lack of education on dental hygiene, as well as poor diet and lack of funds for simple things like toothpaste and toothbrushes. 

I don’t have to tell you, that seeing kids in pain can be emotionally draining.  My heart ached every time I had to tell a parent we needed to extract a child’s tooth due to decay.  

On my next visit, the doctors have asked me to work in the medical clinic.  Spanish is my second language, so learning medical terminology for translation, is something I have been working on, and will probably prove to be a challenge but one which I am excited to take on.

For anyone’s who’s interested in finding out more about the Flying Samaritans, there’s a monthly newsletter covering everything they do:

http://www.flyingsamaritansmotherlode.org/files/ClinicReports/FSML_201803_ClinicReport.pdf

 

 

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