San Borja Mission Trip Report from Bolivia

Some time ago the medical team planned a trip to San Borja to give the eight health law lectures and to do some medical works. I learned more about it when they came and invited me to join them. I was really happy. They also approved to have me take Emma, my nine years old daughter. Our team would consist of a dentist and her husband who is her assistant ( Patty and Wes), a couple from the media project Red Advenir ( Saray and Federico), Emma, my self, and Herman the pilot.

We left on a very bad day to fly and I can tell I felt it. All the way my stomach felt every bump in the air and pushed something out, even if it had nothing in it. We used the rest of the day to recover.

By Monday morning we were ready for work. We had a class of 400 in the morning and another 400 in the afternoon. Imagine giving a lecture to 150-180 kids at the same time and this in a not very organized school. p1000857 - Copy

Anyway we were exhausted after the day. May God grant His grace that the words spoken would change at least some of them the interests of their life.

A local dentist joined our team and it ended up being the blessing from the Lord for our trip.  Tuesday we found out that the school that we needed to give the lectures have classes in the afternoon. So the Mayor said that we may go to the neighboring places so the dentist and the Adventist pastor led us to a poorer neighborhood’s school. We did what we could in this place giving lectures and the two dentist attending the kids.

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When we were finally over at the school they got a call from the mayor suggesting that it would be better if we would go to the remote areas than to do the lectures in the city where they have more information. So after some arrangements, the dental ambulance would take us to a tribe that was not very far. We had lunch than loaded in the ambulance. This is illegal in Bolivia but the situation was very difficult. There would not be a taxi that would consent to enter this area and if they would finally take us they would not be willing to come back after us. The dental ambulance is a medical jewel. Inside has a dental chair and everything that a dental office would need, even x-ray, electricity with generator and everything else.

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We went into this tribe and the village came up to the open area where they have all their events; they also have the school in this area. Well, the school is made out of light wood that is tied together by some kind of strong leaves. The curiosity of this people is very strong. We concluded that these tribal people are living for pleasure and curiosity. They also have a church in the village, we learned. The difficulty we had was that they speak a dialect that is called Chimani. Since we were not very prepared we had no translator and so communication with them was a great challenge. I set up to check their blood pressure and started checking it but they had no clue what I am doing. When I found a lady that her blood pressure was high, explaining it to her was a challenge. Another challenge was that I had nothing for high blood pressure, and even if I would have, it would have been a challenge to entrust her to take the medicine.

Then I realized that they would know the word “pain” in Spanish so I asked if they have any pain. Sure enough, I found some ladies with a back pain, so I started doing massage. That would start them laughing; they were really amused by this. I was surprised after all that they let me touch them. Most of them had stomach pain and I realized that the pain is because of parasites, so I tried to explain to them how to use the papaya seeds for it. O I had fun with them!

Patty and the other dentist were really busy attending the people, and the people just kept coming and comnig until they finally had to refuse them so we would be able to leave before it got dark there. One moment I went in the house areas just to see how they live and what they do, and I met a man who later I found out was the village witch. Since he knew enough Spanish I tried conversing with him, but that was not much when I discovered that he was drunk. He asked me to take coca because in Bolivia Coca chewing is legal. You can find people all over chewing coca leaves. In order to fortify the potency of the coca leaf they add bicarbonate and medicinal alcohol. I did not have a nice conversation with him and later I understood that he has three women that live with him in the same house.

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It was a nice experience to see them and to meet their needs. Here I have to mention that we had some Bibles prepared for them and since they were in Spanish I told them that is only for those that read Spanish, suddenly there were more than I could count who could all “read” Spanish. Later on I saw one of the young man being curious enough to open the Bible and look at the letters, but dear he opened the Bible sideway and looked at the letters from top to bottom as if examining how nice those forms were. How shocking to find this. I could see those precious Bibles becoming a decoration in the house until they would be used for who knows what. May the Lord work His perfect will for them!

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The day we had to head home the Mayors of different regions came to us and asked us to come back to work in their areas. All these regions are just opening up for us and we must take advantage of their offer as long as it stands! They also told us what they need. They need dentists, pediatricians, and obstetricians. Well I am hooked now. I must learn more about prenatal care. I want to be prepared to help these people. These people who would seem to live with no purpose and bring nobody a benefit are still children of God.

Ellen White in Reflecting Christ says:

“The value of a man is estimated in heaven, according to the capacity of the heart to know GOD.”

Pray with me that God will make His work go further with rapidity and power.


Babi Cristea

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