Adios Amigos

Hospital de Dia in Talca Chile.JPG
Who would ever think you could become so connected with a group of people in such few days? We were amazed by how close we became with these patients and workers in the Hospital de Dia, where we spent the majority of our time. Despite multiple communication barriers (sign language and Spanish) we really formed a lasting bond with these individuals.
These people were more than happy to take us in with open arms upon arrival, greeting us with hugs and kisses on the cheeks. They invited us to join them in breakfast, and included us in all daily activities such as coloring and morning exercises. The staff wanted to take photos with us and made our coloring pages into a book to help them remember the time we spent together. The patients faces lit up when they saw us either in the facility or out while doing their daily business. In one instance a patient was at a local food store purchasing groceries and saw us passing by. He yelled and waved to us and then we ran over to say hi and see how his day was going. We were thrilled that we made such an impact on this young man’s life just by connecting and spending time with him.
When it came time to say good bye on our last academic day we were all emotional. Many of us had to fight back tears as we hugged our new friends goodbye. The thought of potentially not seeing them again made it tough, but still being able to keep in touch via email helped ease the pain.
These care providers really inspired us to go above and beyond for our patients and showed us that the nurse patient bond is truly built on trust, respect, and compassionate care. We learned that despite communication barriers people can still connect if they are willing to take the time and effort into trying.
<3 Mariah and Sara

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Oh The Places We Go

santiago chile.JPG

On Sunday we packed our bags to begin our departure from Santiago to Talca. After spending a few days in a developed city we were eager to experience a developing community in Chile.

We liked Santiago, and there were differences, but it felt like a city from home. Although we were experiencing a lot of cultural aspects of Chile our hearts yearned for a community in need. Before leaving the USA we spoke so much about the destruction that remained from the earthquake in 2010, however, for the most part Santiago was rebuilt and we did not truly see any remaining aftermath of the earthquake.

After our 3 and a half hour bus ride we were more than thrilled to stretch our legs and explore the community of Talca. Leaving the bus terminal was an eye opening experience. Right away we saw a difference in the economic status of the citizens. The people of Talca were no longer dressed in suits and business attire but rather everyday, blue collar working clothes. The buildings were smaller, and more simple, but there is a bit of wealth throughout the town.

We checked into the hotel we discovered it was far less lavish and the residents of Talca are more welcoming and friendly. After we unpacked we went on an adventure to find it first traditional Chilean meal. What was supposed to be a 15 minute walk, became an hour and 45 minutes. To be honest the extra long walk was definitely worth it. The walk gave us an incredible opportunity to observe the development of a town.

There were numerous homes and businesses with large cracks in the foundations, destroyed roofs, broken windows,and completely crumbled walls. The destruction was heart breaking. As we continued to walk we saw some incredibly poor homes hidden along the riverbank. At one point we saw a bridge that an entire section had fallen, but in the other direction there was a beautiful river, glorious mountains, and people celebrating.

Earthquake damage.JPG

These people know how to cherish life and be grateful that they are alive. They were more than happy to give us directions even if they were not accurate on the time it would take to get there. The road that led to the restaurant was an old dirt road compared to the cement sides walks we had been traveling on. We were told we needed to travel up the narrow hill that had no side walks and quite a bit of traffic. We asked yet another local and they told us we climbed this hill for nothing, because the restaurant was on the bottom of the hill next to the riverbank. We FINALLY made it to the restaurant and enjoyed an amazing traditional Chilean meal.

Instead of another adventure back we called a taxi so we did not half to walk in the dark. Overall our first day in Talca was overwhelming, but good. I truly made us appreciate all of the amenities we have at home.

<3 Sarah Mariah Sara (Mariah sandwich room).

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