Saturday, September 8, 2007

I meet Mr. Rasta

Tina and Harry Alexander

I got a call from Tina Alexander yesterday. She is a key person with Lifeline Ministries and also runs Island Guests Realty. She helped us find the lovely Sherbet Cottage which was our rental until until the arrival of our container made it too small. Tina's house is always open and is a hub of many activities, including helping newcomers moving to Dominica find their way. In fact, I got to meet some very nice people who have recently moved to Dominica when I visited there yesterday.

Tina needed a hand with checking on a guy whose brother had called her. This young guy has a very large tumor on his neck which at times smells bad, so we went off to see if we could help. And I got to haul out all my nursing gear, which I enjoyed.

This Rasta guy lives in a very poor house with a spongy floor. It reminded me of my days as a hospice nurse in the poorest sections of my home town. I always worry when I visit folks with shaky houses that I will go through, since I am "a woman of substance" (ok, fat). But luckily I stayed on the sturdy bits and did not fall through. Mr. Rasta did indeed have a very large tumor about half the size of his head, which I dressed for him. He had recently changed the dressing, so the smell was not too bad, but he said he had missed his doctor's appointments because the bus drivers will not let him ride on the buses due to the odor.

This is where Tina's crew can really help. They run a bus through Life Goes On, the HIV/AIDS support organization which can take Mr. Rasta to his appointments. It is available to any person on the island who has difficulty with transportation due to a medical condition. Unfortunately, funding has become an issue for this project.

This fellow is really doing a pretty good job of caring for himself otherwise. But he does not have a lot of family or community support to assist him. Again, Tina's group has a great outreach and support network providing a safety net for those in need, plus a place to rest and be welcomed when they have to go town to see the doctor.

It felt kind of good to go do something a bit nursey after a couple of years of mostly sitting at a computer. And I was struck, once again, that Dominican poverty is much the same as US poverty, just with less "stuff". There are fewer discards and cast offs here. Poor is poor all over but there are fewer resources here, making Life Goes On a critically needed service.

livingdominica: if everyone who reads this blog would send Life Goes On a few dollars, euros or pounds, many people would be helped.

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