From the slums of the city of Medellin to the faraway village of Concordia, Colombia varies in vast landscapes and people. This month, my mother, father, sister and I went on a medical mission trip to both areas to help people in need. We were with a team of 12 nurses, doctors and helpers like my family. My mother Kim McGrath is going to show her views and experiences on this very different, difficult, and exciting trip to Colombia.
We left PA around 4am to land in Florida for a ten hour layover. After spending a day on the warm beach, we were back in the airport flying again for Medellin, Colombia. When we landed around 1 am, we went straight to the “farmhouse” where we found our bunk beds with one inch mattresses.
When we woke up the next morning, there were four other women in my room. My mother and father had their own room together. We had our own chef that always had every meal ready for us. “ Rice and beans all the time,” thought Kim. After breakfast we went to the slums of the city to a little church where the clinic would take place for the next three days. Kim describes the city people that we saw as “people who were very poor and over populated, barely surviving by living off of the government.” My mother’s job was crowd control, handing out worm pills to everyone, as well as vitamins. She thought that a lot of the people we saw were prostitutes. That would have to be Medellin’s biggest problem, along with drugs. “As we walked on the street, every other person wanted to sell us drugs.”
Luckily, the city portion of our trip only lasted three days. Next we were going to the faraway village of Concordia. The view of the mountainous landscape was breathtaking. There were no other signs of humans anywhere in sight. We stayed in a tiny open-air house with the 1 inch mattresses again. My sister and I got to stay in the open-air garage floor.
This clinic was a lot better than the church in Medellin. We got to walk through the village and interact with the people. My mom got to help my dad with glasses this time. She fit the people with readers and distance lenses. In her opinion, the villagers were better off the city people: they could live off the land and were not so afraid of drugs, theft and killing like the city people were. My mother said she would love to revisit the village again on another mission trip.
My mom’s favorite part was spending time with her daughters and husband. She had an amazing time on the trip but most likely would not do this same trip again. This was the first time this church has been to Colombia and it was very unorganized. But we helped about 200-300 people a day and some lives were even saved from death. We were taught a lot about the culture and the people, but most of all about ourselves.