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2012 Dominican Republic Medical Mission Trip
January 13, 2013
By: Ani Levy
“Por favor entren, todo esto es suyos…” (translated to: “Please come in, all of this is yours) those words brought me to tears. With them Daniurka Santan Montero, an 11-year-old, welcomed us into her home.
Daniurka has cerebral palsy and the stent placed in her head to drain fluid has stopped working. Confined to a wheelchair she is unable to maneuver the dirt road to where doctors and dentists were providing care. Her smile, eyes and generosity masked her illness, which is currently causing her head to grow disproportionately to her body.
She offered us her tin shed and all of her family’s possessions with the most beautiful, and powerful smile. She is one of the children of the Dominican Republic. She, like the other children I met, is content, elated, wanting for nothing yet needing everything. My own children request juice with Elmo on the box while the Dominican kids rely on rainy days to have clean drinking water. The people we met were strong, beautiful, faithful people with an ability to feel and express happiness in a way that I have never seen.
In October 2012, I was privileged and honored to join a team of doctors, dentists and ophthalmologists on their medical mission to Batey Experimental, Bienvenido and Palave in the Dominican Republic. The trip changed my life and my perspective on child-rearing. I saw things that I hope will remain with me forever.
While we helped many people on this trip, I, surprisingly, left the Dominican with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I could not stop thinking, what about all the kids left waiting? What about follow-up care? Who would care enough to find a way to replace Daniurka’s stent so she will live? I am honored and thank God for the amazing opportunity the Pujols Family Foundation gave me. I carry the experience with me and remember the children of the DR when my kids ask for something unnecessary. Even those items that appeared necessary before my trip are irrelevant now. I pray that I may have the opportunity to serve again someday. Most importantly, I pray for the Pujols family. May God continue to give them the resources, strength and ability to pursue these missions. I am forever grateful for the experience.