Updated to include Day 7 at the bottom
SCS Alum Kalyn Davis (’14) is a Pharmacy student at Samford, and is currently on a medical mission trip in Nicaragua. She’s sharing trip highlights with us via email and allowing us to post them on our blog.
Nicaragua Medical Mission trip 2017
August 19, Day 1:
Hola! Thank you in advance for your prayers, your love, and your encouragement! We have safely arrived in Nicaragua, and we are currently in route to our mission site in Somotillo.
Today has been filled with traveling, nerves, excitement, and more traveling. Throughout the numerous hours in the airport and the bus ride, I have been able to get to know the UAB students more personally. I am looking forward to forming closer relationships with them as the week progresses.
It is currently 9:00pm (10 CT) and we are still in route. The weather has become quite stormy, mainly extremely intense lightning and some light rain. Ironically, the lightning is absolutely beautiful. It becomes dark here much earlier in the night than in Alabama. Each time the lightning illuminates the sky, the rolling mountains in the landscape are revealed for just a fleeting moment. It makes me excited to see it all in the daylight tomorrow.
My update for today simply put: we arrived safely as well as all of our luggage and supplies!
Tomorrow’s schedule includes unpacking and organizing the supplies within the medical clinic, organizing the pharmacy, visiting a village, and attending a Sunday afternoon church service.
Things to pray for Day 2:
That I don’t bite my nails (silly, but serious because don’t want to get sick!)
God’s will to be done (Most Importantly! ️)
Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring!
We will be up bright and early!
August 20, Day 2:
What a day! Today was spent organizing, planning, playing with children, and attending a church service.
The morning began early, at 7 am with a devotional by our missionary leader, Dr. Donald Gillette, along with wonderful coffee and hot breakfast! We then began to unpack and prepackage/label all of the medicine that we will be distributing in the clinic this week! The students did a wonderful job with each task I asked of them, and it was fun playing the role of a “real life pharmacist!”
After that long process came another authentic Somotillo meal for lunch! Again, the food was great and the cake was out of this world delicious (a cross between a carrot cake and a cinnamon coffee cake). After lunch, we loaded into trucks and headed to the village of La Pascula. Along the way, as the trucks passed houses, children would run to the side of the road waving because they knew these trucks… and they knew these trucks meant candy! It was fun to see their faces light up as we threw out the treats.
Upon our arrival at the village, about 1:30pm, we were welcomed with hugs and cheers! Immediately the kids wanted to interact with us,play soccer, etc. I helped several little girls make bracelets! One native little girl, named Elizabeth, 10 years old, decided to sing a song for everyone, completely in English! I was so impressed! It was very hot out, and after about an hour or so, it began to rain. Upon the rain we left the village.
The church service began around 6:30pm and was truly an awesome experience, hearing the same scriptures and songs in another language. Wow! What a good reminder of what is important. Someone let the word out that we had a few “singers” in the group, me included in that category, so we threw together a praise song and it was fun to sing for the people. During the church service, the pastor said something that stuck out to me. He said, “Today, we are here, different people, different countries and languages, but only one reason to live and to praise, and that is Jesus!”
Overall, today was a great warm up for the chaos that the clinic will bring tomorrow. I enjoyed meeting each villager, and they really blessed me as much as we hopefully blessed them.
Prayers for Day 3:
Guidance and clarity
Lots and lots of patience
Safe travels for the patients coming to our clinic
Jesus to show up big! ️
August 21, Day 3:
Happy Eclipse Day!
This morning, we had breakfast over a devotional led by one of the students, Lauren. She spoke about how although we may be able to heal or help sickness, Jesus is the only one who can really heal you in this world. A great start to a day in the clinic.
At 9:00am it was time to open the clinic. This soon became mass chaos. As there were several patients waiting to be seen, and many many prescriptions to fill.
The Health Department showed up to check our credentials and supplies… this process took around 45 minutes and while they were there we were not allowed to dispense any medicines. This put us behind greatly. However, although it was chaotic, extremely hot, and stressful, we were able to serve just around 150 patients in around 4 hours! The UAB students and my interpreters were so helpful and I couldn’t of made it today without them! Each patient was extremely appreciative! It was a wonderful feeling to be able to bring them some relief by providing free medicine!
Overall, it was a day filled with a lot of stress, a test of my endurance, hard work, so much sweat, standing for 8 hours, and my first trial run as a real life pharmacist!!
Oh yeah, and we had ice cream cones after dinner! 🙂
Prayers for Day 4:
Guidance for the doctors
Health and unity for our team
Patience, good attitudes, positivity
Safe travels for patients coming to our clinic
Jesus to shine!!⭐️
Thank you for following me on this adventure!
August 22, Day 4:
We began the clinic at 9am and continued until 4pm. As we walked up to the clinic at 9:00, there was already a line around the building… however, several children began running and high fiving each of us… giving me the encouragement I needed for the hard day I knew was coming.
I still am in disbelief that I am running my own pharmacy, making the decisions, confirming dosings, etc. It is extremely hot in the “pharmacy” and the sweating is no joke! Each UAB student that rotates through the pharmacy with me to work has left saying “Wow! That was really some hard work!”
To be quite honest, as amazing as this experience is, it is actually very challenging for me. Considering I haven’t had all of my classes and am not a pharmacist, this is one tough task that seriously cannot be messed up. My main concern going into this trip was dispensing medicine to babies. We are treating several infants, and luckily there is a wonderful neonatologist (who is a close friend) on our team that I have as a reference.
I don’t say all of this to make you feel nervous for me, I say this to confirm that God really has his hand over this team and this trip. He knew what I would be capable of, and he knew what I would need. I can feel your love and prayers from thousands of miles away, silently encouraging me to keep going, and telling me that I CAN do this! And, ultimately, it is going really well, and we have seen around 400 patients in 2 days!
I am thankful for this experience, each person I have met, and am excited to begin again in the morning.
Prayers for Day 5:
Unity for our team as we grow tired
Continued good health
Peace and patience
Peace and guidance for our village ministry teams
God’s love to shine through each of us! ⭐️
PS: We had pancakes for breakfast, chocolate cake at lunch, and “country fried” steak and rice for dinner…. needless to say that was a good addition to a stress filled day!
August 23, Day 5:
This was our third full day of the clinic so we may finally have gotten the hang of it all!
The morning began with a wonderful breakfast as always! Today, we took students to the local radio station that broadcasts to 3 countries. We have been doing this each morning actually, but today, I was invited to go along! Two other girls and I sang two songs! And we also got to share special parts of our lives and our faith. It was a very special experience to be heard by people all across Nicaragua and other countries.
The pharmacy ran steady all day as usual. Again, the students were a wonderful help working as my “techs!” We are beginning to run low on several medicines and ointments. At first this made me highly frustrated. As I began to think about what we should do I remembered that this means that several people have been helped. They have been given relief. They are feeling better because of what we were able to give them! This was so encouraging.
To top off the day, the power went out the last 30 minutes of clinic and it began a torrential downpour. We simply turned on our flashlights and filled the last prescriptions.
Dinner was spaghetti! Yum!!
And each night we have been listening to the doctors share their cases and their experiences with us, it has been really wonderful.
This experience has been a continuous learning process. I am so thankful for each moment and each person serving alongside of me.
Again thank you for the love and prayers! Keep them coming!
Prayers for Day 6:
To be able to find uses for the medicines we do still have stock of!
That it is all about Jesus and not about us️
August 24, Day 6:
I cannot believe that today was our last full day of the medical clinic! I also cannot believe that we saw around 300 people today! Needless to say, it was a busy busy day in the farmacia!
We began this morning having no power. Our little “camp” was running on a generator, but this meant that the clinic would be without power. Around 8:30am, right around time to open up the clinic, God decided to flip on the power! I sure am glad, because we saw so many patients in need of relief. There have been several cases of pink eye (praying our team stays clear) and many types of rashes and pain. Lots of coughing cases also.
During the lunch break, we all played a game called “Bananagrams” … similar to scrabble and so much fun! The afternoon shift was crazy. Lots of prescriptions to fill and less medications to fill them with. The power flickered again today a few times during the clinic, but all was well!
It truly has been an amazing week! I have been able to befriend so many of the UAB girls, and am glad to have met them all! Just sharing stories and chatting with them has been great.
I am sad that tomorrow is our last full day here in Nicaragua, but I am proud of the work we have accomplished.
Prayers for Day 7:
No pink eye cases for our team members
To keep power here, and to restore power in town
Jesus to soften our hearts and the hearts of these special people ️
August 25, Day 7:
I cannot believe this is my final update from Somotillo! This week flew by! I have completely enjoyed my stay here in Nicaragua, but am ready to get back to the states.
Today I was able to get off the “(ph)Farm” and we took a trip to the Pacific Ocean!
It was so great to just enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful creation! An awesome ending to the week for sure.
A good word to describe this trip: growth
Not only have I grown this week immensely as a student pharmacist, but I have grown spiritually and mentally. I have learned how to truly rejoice when I would of rather wished to just give up. Each student I was able to work alongside this week was so encouraging! Them believing in me was something I truly needed along this journey. The “team” atmosphere was a vital part of our success.
Total number of patients we were able to treat: 1010!!!! I am blown away! How amazing is that!!??
This week has been focused around love, joy, being selfless, positive, patient, kind, gracious, generous, humble, and sacrifice.
Each of those words are something that I easily can lose track of during the highly stressful lifestyle of pharmacy school. As I am preparing myself to start my P2 year on Monday, I cannot think of a better way I could have spent my last week of summer.
THANK YOU for your prayer, your love, and your support. This is something totally new for me, and I know I wouldn’t of made it through without you all.