Sunday, May 3, 2009

VACCINATION CAMPAIGNS

Monday, April 27, 2009

Over the next three months, the local nurses are involved in vaccination campaigns. Every year they are responsible to vaccinate not only San Francisco (5,000 people) but also 8 surrounding towns. They go to the schools and also door-to-door.
I joined them this past week. Monday we stayed in San Francisco, Wednesday I drove them to Maria Auxilliadora and today we went to Karaguata. In previous years the nurses had to walk to all these towns (some are 15 miles away) since transportation is hard to come by.

Today we went to Karaguata. I dropped the first set of nurses off at the town’s entrance, then two nurses got off at the school (the middle of town) and I was on my way to drop the next set at the far end of town. I was almost there when I got stuck. I was up to the bumper in deep sand. We tried to dig out, but it wasn’t working. The nurses walked on since the car wasn’t going anywhere soon and Hector went to get help. 30 minutes later, he came back with two oxen! How I wished I had had my camera! At first the oxen were pretty ornery and did not want to walk, but after 30 minutes of trying, they threw their weight into their job and pulled me out!

Hector (and I) walked up to a random house and asked if we could come in and wait. Can you imagine doing that in the states? They invited us in - Paraguayans are so friendly - and we sat under a big shade tree, ate oranges and drank terere. The mom of the house and I bonded while I helped her shell red beans.
At 11:00 the nurses who were dropped off last, made their way back to us. After we visited and drank more terere, we continued going door-to-door until we met up with the other nurses. One lady didn’t know how old she was but she was certain she was over 60 years and thus qualified for the flu vaccine. We saw a boy, who looked about 8 years old, running down the street. He said he needed to ask his mom how old he was because the nurses at the school wanted to know. Since these nurses do this every year, they know everyone and every house. Every kid remembers them too! Kids began crying and running for cover as soon as they saw the nurses coming. One 4 year old had to be chased all over his field and was finally caught 10 minutes later. A couple children had to sign for their parents who couldn’t even write their name.

I am glad to could go and get to know the nurses better and hopefully lighten their load a bit.

* Hector drove the ambulance when we had one and now he….well, I don’t really know what he does now. Every time I see him, he is getting paid to sit and drink terere.

1 comment:

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

How fun! The nurses visited our school about a week ago, and the kids were none to happy about it! My daughters were so glad they could say they already had their vaccinations...