Karen started off our morning with a devotional on calling—being mindful of who you’ve been called for whether it’s a calling from God, a calling for a patient, for another volunteer, for someone maybe you haven’t met yet. She shared Isaiah 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am!’ Send me.”
Bob shared that yesterday Team Wells cared for 479 patients. 479 humans who received care and kindness.
When volunteers arrived at the school, patients lined the sidewalk, waiting with their invitations in hand to come in, to have their stories heard and treated. They waited for triage. They waited to be seen. They waited for hours with smiles and “Buenos Dias” and hope and relief.
Faith In Practice volunteers were busy in all the clinics, administering medical and dental care with heart, with compassion. Local volunteers, known as the "Red Hats", guided patients and families through the clinics. An ultrasound to show a fetus in gynecology, council given to worried parents in pediatrics (“Dress her in fewer clothes and she won’t sweat so much.”), teeth pulled to relieve pain, wheelchairs assembled and fitted, more.
Outside, patients waited in the sun, fabrics (in brilliant reds and blues, yellows and greens) on their heads for shade. They waited to be seen in the mobility clinic. Seniors with their walking sticks carved and worn. Curved and straight. Light wood. Dark wood. Worn smooth by hands and years. Many arrived with their walking sticks and left with aluminum canes, carefully and lovingly sized to fit.
Catarina, age 84 walked hesitantly with her homemade walking stick. Fitted with a cane, her confidence bloomed. Steady gait. Erect posture. This beautiful woman, shy of four feet tall, in her peacock colored skirt, emerald embroidered blouse, topped off with a Puma baseball cap, braids to her waist woven with lilac satin bows. She came in slumped and left with a grin. With hugs for all and cheek kisses too.
Life-changing wheelchairs were given to more seniors than children today. “The chairs were almost more for caregivers today,” one volunteer said. Because the family’s been carrying their senior. Now the family can push their loved one in their new shiny chair. Everyone glowed.
Alejandra, age 72, came in with her son and daughter-in-law who are her caregivers. She came with voice. She came with: “No.” She didn’t want the chair even though she’s unable to walk. Even though she’s mostly blind. Her son said she was afraid if she moved to the chair she would get a shot. And it was more than that. It was her generosity. “Why me and not him?” she asked, pointing to a man older than herself who sat in the sun, waiting his turn. She was adamant: she did not want a chair. In the end the chair went home so Alejandra can test it out in familiar surroundings.
Family. Familia. We experienced the importance of family over and over, especially with the blue chairs. Blue, some say, is the color of love. These blue chairs. Chairs of love. Chairs of possibility. Chairs that say I never would have left you behind and now having you close is easier. I am my brother’s keeper. My mother’s keeper. My sibling’s. My children’s. I am for them and they are for me. Because family is a powerful tree with deep roots, a thick trunk, branches and leaves that tickle the sky. In sun and storm.
The love of beautiful families. The calling the youngers feel in their hearts for their elders.
What’s your calling? Hear it. Act on it. We make the world a sweeter place one act of kindness at a time.