We started off the day by going to some amazing waterfalls. We ended up hiking them with two guides, then sliding down them with a finale of a big jump into the water at the end. The students really enjoyed themselves, and Hanni and Jazz seemed to be the two that really went out of their comfort zones on this adventure. We ate lunch on the grass outside the National Park, changed our wet clothing, and then headed to the hospital to deliver our toiletries that we brought as donations.
The hospital was eye-opening, and for some of our students, it was more difficult for them to witness then they realized. We started our visit with the older kids, passing out coloring books, crayons, and some stuffed animals; from there we went to the younger kids, then toddlers, then babies, to preemies. The students were so taken back, but got in each room to pass out the donations. After we met with the kids we went upstairs to see the women who were sick. We passed out toiletries and washcloths…they were so appreciative. We later went to see the adult males and handed out the same items. We were told that some of these people end up staying in the hospital for months, until their families are able to raise enough money so they can get the necessary care.
It was a very hard place to be in, but the people were very appreciative that we were there for them. The students sat down with some of the patients and spoke to them, acknowledged them, showed that they cared, and the patients smiled.
We will be debriefing the trip over lunch and letting them know sometimes a transition from a world like this back to “reality” is always difficult. Lines become blurry as to what is really important, and it sometimes is easy to forget the selflessness and connection that was felt with others. My hope is that they do not lose that feeling, and that this experience is something that has shaped them into more aware, understanding, and giving individuals.