Baltimore Clinic

Our travel to the Baltimore clinic was by boat from the Finca Tatin hotel. At first, we weren’t sure we were going to be able to make the clinic day as it had rained so hard the night before. However, word was that the ocean had calmed down and there were no safety concerns about travel to the village after all. This village was off the Caribbean coast, and one of the more resource wealthy villages that we visited. I was surprised that this remote feeling village still existed as it does being so much closer to “city”life in Livingston and Barrio in comparison the more rural villages we had already visited in the mountains. There was a group of men and children waiting for us on the shore. Kids were laughing, playing in the water. We walked past a tarp covered in sardines as we trudged through the sand and grass to arrive at the clinic. This clinic was also larger and more spread out, which made patient flow a little easier. I was excited that this day was our windshield survey as I wanted to get a better view of the village and how its people lived. I was surprised to learn that school had been cancelled today because the teacher decided not to show up from Livingston. What a bummer for those kids, having a teacher that didn’t seem invested in her job. I wondered what kind of motivator might work to keep teachers coming back? I also was pleasantly surprised at the village tienda, which sold snacks as well as many common personal products. There was even a refrigerator/freezer in the tienda! (although it was not plugged in). The homes even had fences, some had gardens, a water source, and the animals that co-habitated (dogs, chickens, pigs, turkeys) all seemed a little more plump compared to the mountain villages. Our leader that took us on the tour, Manuel, was obviously a known community leader as several groups of kids came over throughout our walk into town to give Manuel a hug. Overall, the patients we saw on this day were more overwheigt and seemed to have more problems with diabetes and hypertension compared to our other clinics. I am certain that being less than a 20 minute boat ride to a larger city with resources (Livingston) made a difference in both patient activity level and proximity to processed food and other non-healthy resources. I was sad when we drove away in our boat, as we watched the children giggling and waving at us in their canoes close to the shore. This was our last clinic day for the trip. What a beautiful spot to call it a wrap.

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