Day 5: Clinic and VBS in Mitu, Health Seminar

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: Contributed by Robin Johnson


Luca with Jose Rojas

It is with great joy that I come to you with the help of FREE internet service courtesy of the library next door to our hotel, and the enterprise of Craig Kindell and  Luca Contessa who built the relationship with Jose Rojas, IT guy for the Vaupes government and introduced him to the Spanish River Church website and our need to continue communications with you.  They had to take our computers over to the library and “register” them.  It took a while, but success is sweet!

We have had a very rewarding day, this being the first to actually interact with the indigenous people of the jungle of Mitu.  Our medical team, the “A (Aspirin) Team” worked all day, and the “Fiesta Team” worked with the children all day.  In addition, we were able to work with the adults in several workshops this afternoon.



Pastor Leonel commented that the indigenous people are never treated so well, and he was so pleased to offer them medical services that they did not have to wait all day long for.  Pastor Fabio Cano’s wife Diana, a nurse, was the registrar, and she had a detailed schedule for seeing patients that had been filled out for many weeks now.  All of the physicians were pleased with their work.  We have two dentists, and one set of the dental equipment we rented was not working.  Thankfully we were able to move to an actual dental office a few blocks away that had even more amenities.  The Lord provided.  We passed the dentists just returning from their days work at 7:00 PM, tired, but pleased with the work they were able to accomplish.

It was a curious start to the day as the children came in to color pictures, have their faces painted and pictures taken.  As I would introduce myself to them, they did not nod, or tell me their names.  We understood that they would understand Spanish, but for the most part, they did not. This took a while to figure out; as we talked amongst ourselves, we thought that perhaps they were just shy, or not really into having someone put paint on their faces.  I noticed that when I laughed and had fun, that they laughed and had fun.  So we had fun, and the smiles came as they saw their faces in a mirror, and had their pictures in their hands.

The crafts team has had to be quite inventive as we have unfortunately not received 6 suitcases of luggage that were to be sent by air cargo directly from Bogota.  One of the suitcases had the crafts for Mitu. (The other cases were gifts of clothes that we do not need until the last day.) Now Linda Fox ALWAYS travels with her paint and brushes, and we were able to improvise construction paper frames, and actually had some crafts left from Villavicencio, so we have managed “OK”. We have made a lot of calls from different angles, and we are assured that the cargo should arrive on tomorrow’s flight. The kids watched movies this afternoon, as we were low on crafts, but we wanted to keep them busy so we could have the parent’s attention for several educational workshops.

Several months ago, we asked Pastor Cano if there was any information we could bring to help the people of Mitu. His wife replied that they needed information about birth control (natural forms only), hygiene– especially for the women (and please send underwear), nutrition, and that many had back pain.  Today we were able to present two topics:  Hygiene and Birth Control.  We presented short Spanish videos that I found online.  Rita Ortiz, an English teacher at Boca High, presented in Spanish and came up with simple projects to reinforce the ideas. We paused often for the tribe leader’s translation into the native language of Cubeo. He was a very strong leader.  Another man (named “Billy Graham”…that’s another story) stood and reviewed the ideas in Cubeo as well.  Luca narrated much of the afternoon and offered good examples and some great illustrations that made the people… you guessed it… laugh. They were receptive and interested. I count it a total success.



Leave a Reply