After months of anticipation, it’s hard to believe I am finally here in the Dominican Republic. I left Denver on Thursday at 11:50pm and twelve hours later, after a layover in Miami, I arrived in the Dominican Republic on Friday at 2pm local time. I was met at the Puerto Plata airport by Janelle, the Clinical Programs Director for HHI and a very gracious hostess and guide. After an 8-minute taxi ride we arrived in the small town of Montellano where I will be living while I’m here. Janelle gave me a walking tour of the town: the supermarket, pharmacy, produce store (I am admittedly not a big fan of veggies), bakery (I have been known to eat a doughnut or two), bank, baseball field, HHI headquarters, water bottle refill place, cell phone store, etc. I unpacked and picked up groceries and water, and then Janelle and her roommate Emily invited me over for a really nice dinner. By 8pm the long day of travel had caught up with me and I returned to my apartment and fell fast asleep.
Unfortunately, my next-door neighbor is a rooster. Unless I am forced to take desperate measures, I probably won’t be sleeping in past sunrise (6:10am) any time soon.
Orientation and training is on Sunday, and our week-long primary care field clinic starts on Monday. So today (Saturday) was my last free day before things get busy. I went for a run in the morning, ate a breakfast of corn flakes and powdered milk, went to the airport to greet some of our medical team that was arriving from the U.S., and then spent the day with them at their really nice beachside hotel at Playa Dorada. Today I met eight of the medical professionals on our team (physicians, nurses, social workers, etc). Several others will join us tomorrow. They are all wonderful people, and I’m really looking forward to working with them.
This evening I went exploring and found a cool open-air venue with two pool tables. There were about twenty guys there in their early 20’s. They gave me a warm welcome, and I played with them for a couple hours. I didn’t win a single game. I’m not bad at pool, but they were all really good. I get the feeling they play a lot.
Next week during the primary care field clinic we will all be very busy. I think I will primarily be helping with medications and patient charts. It should be quite the experience. I’m still figuring out my new camera. Next weekend’s post will have pictures.
I am very happy to be here, but it was heartbreaking saying goodbye to my family and friends in Denver. I miss you. Thank you for your support.