Vicky Chen, Grace Wang, and Cher Ting take us to Thursday’s clinic, where even the rain couldn’t stop local children from winning hearts (and probably a basketball game or two).
It was a cold, dark, and rainy day. A bus full of tired college students arrived at a new foreign village. Having woken up at 6am, something that we are not accustomed to, we sluggishly began to set up all the mobile clinics at the village school. Little curious faces started to peek through the window and the doors; as soon as we saw their faces, we couldn’t help but smile and all the physical discomfort from the rain and the cold and the early wake-up call was forgotten. After the stations were set up, the adults of the village greeted us with fresh bread and tea. I almost felt like a celebrity walking among the locals – all of them would flash you their biggest smile and say, “hola,” as you walked around, and the younger kids would hide behind their parents or older siblings and peek out half of their face and give you a shy but radiantly bright smile.
In the afternoon, a couple of students decided to play baseketball with the kids. It is amazing how a game of basketball broke though the extreme language barrier that exists between students and the children who live in the area; we hardly spoke any Spanish, and the kids hardly any English. Simple words, such as “pase” and “pelota,” one ball, and two groups of completely different people somehow generated a court full of laughter and an afternoon of unforgettable joy. By the end of the day, we all made friends; these are not just kids in a random village that we helped, we connected with them and got attached. The day ended with a huge “family photo.” No amount of “ciao” or “adios” seemed to be enough, because we didn’t want to say goodbye.
Even after an exhausting day at the mobile clinic, we were still willing to stay a bit longer, just for these kids. We were all amazed how though these kids live in what we consider “poverty” and they might never experience the kinds of comforts that we take for granted, they were genuinely happy. Really, I know we will never see a smile more brighter and sunnier than the ones we saw today on these kids’ faces. Their eyes flicker with hope, joy, and love when they smile. Knowing that I can be a part something that keeps these little angels healthy and happy everyday gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy that can hardly be described by words but can certainly be recognized by the heart.