Larry and Jane take a suitcase to Dominican Republic

Good evening everyone! 
I just wanted to share a story from our travellers, Larry and Jane, who took a suitcase with them to Centro de Primer/Nivel Maimon Clinic in the Dominican Republic. Thank you Larry and Jane for taking the time to bring a suitcase with you on your vacation!

The Clinic – Centro de Primer/Nivel Maimon:
In December, we visited the Dominican Republic and stayed at the Riu Resort Complex. Maimon is a 45 minute bus ride from Puerto Plata. For this size of community there were 3 doctors and several assistants. The clinic here is also a very modest sized facility, but with a recent expansion. It appears to be a two-story cinder block and white stucco unit. A small yard, surrounded by a two metre fence encloses the property. 
Interesting people:
My wife and I have visited this Riu resort many times, over the past 10 years, and I have become good friends with, Carlos and Melanya. As locals living in the nearby community of Maimon, they were able to help us with contacting one of the newest doctors at the Maimon Public Clinic, Dr. Samantina. Dr. Samantina was also a recent graduate of the medical school in Santo Domingo. This is her first posting. As this is a much larger community, the clinic here “Centro Prime/Ruriel Maimon” has 3 doctors. The Maimon community, with streets branching out along the highway, is much larger and is very dispersed with a population of about 6 thousand residents. Most employed people commute to work in Puerto Plata, or at various coastal Resorts. The bus system is their lifeline. Carlos, who is also a lay minister at his church in Maimon, made the connection with Dr. Samantina.
Carlos and I agreed to meet at the nearest bus stop to the resort. On that day, heavy rains began to fall just after I arrived at the bus stop. I waited for 40 minutes absorbing diesel fumes in a tropical downpour. Next day, I discovered that my wrist watch was still on EDS Time. Meanwhile, Dr Samantina’s mother had driven specially from Maimon, picked up Carlos and waited almost an hour before they gave up and left! I finally walked back soaking wet.
Carlos and I made a successful bus trip two days later. We met the doctor and her brother at Carlos’ church, one of several in the community. Dr. Samantina arrived on foot, and carefully went through the items in the suitcase. It was almost like gift opening on Christmas morning! Unfortunately, I was unable to get a tour through the clinic as it was closed during mid-day.
Why Carry Medical Supplies:
This is a very easy thing to do, and the public clinics are always in need. It is a very satisfying experience. We always carry a minimum amount of luggage, and so we are able to bring along one of the NJT provided carry-on suitcases. The recipient doctors are noticeably most grateful for all and any supplies they can get. For many years, my wife and I have been taking down modest medical supplies such as pain pills, band aids, toothbrushes and school supplies, but NJT provides us with more sophisticated and expensive medical items. Tourists, and more prosperous citizens, have access to the expensive, well supplied private medical facilities. However, most citizens rely on the government supported public clinics. They manage with extremely limited budgets. While most experienced doctors aim for the private hospitals, new doctors are expected to put in several years working in the public clinics, with long hours, and considerably less pay. The opportunity to contribute to the health and welfare of the people is a very positive experience. There is no comparison between our Canadian health services and these public clinics! With what NJT can provide, this means that as tourists, we merely pick up the prepared supplies and deliver them to our destination. The personal responses I have experienced when we have been able to personally deliver NJT supplies have been extremely satisfying, and heartwarming.

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