“¡Cuidado! ¡Cuidado!” my broken Spanish caused a grin to erupt on Lupe’s face. The hot plethora of mushy rice began to dribble out of the corners of her smile. I tried to wipe her face clean of the goo, but my apologetic expression and humorous warnings only entertained her further. Her laughter carried across the hospital ward, causing other teenage girls to look at our bed in the corner. After a few more moments of this, I realized resistance was futile and joined in her gay peals.
Lupe has severe muscular dystrophy. She has little to no control of any muscular functioning, causing her to be confined to a bed and at the mercy of other people for the rest of her life. She resides in a Catholic church-turned-hospital in
I was there for a mere two weeks to volunteer with the missionary group Students International.
I felt as though I dove headfirst into a well-oiled set of machinery. One of the most incredible constituents of this was the Spartan group of nurses working around the clock, seven days a week. These men and women had an infinite amount of patience and persuasion, as I was taught while assisting them. They bathed, fed, exercised, cleaned up after, and entertained patients from the age of infancy all the way up to the zenith of life, without complaint, with compassion. My task: to assist these heroic nurses in any way possible. This included taking the elderly gentlemen out on walks in the fecund gardens, painting the fingernails of the abuelitas, and bottle feeding teenagers with cleft palate and mental retardation.
The entire hospital was a constant beehive of activity. It pulsed with a life and light that was unparalleled by any hospital I have visited in the
This steadfast commitment to an individual is something I had never seen before, living in the
The intense submersion into a completely foreign culture was such a unique event that it must be experienced to be brought to justice.
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