Volunteers bring joy to Clarendon community
The smell of jerk chicken, popcorn and other local dishes permeated the atmosphere along the main road directly opposite the Brandon Hill Infant School in Clarendon last Monday.
The heightened activity was caused by the seventh annual LDJR Davis Foundation's medical mission to the community.
Some 93 volunteers from New York converged on the community to deliver much-needed medical assistance. They were also joined by local volunteers.
"I am overjoyed that it's working ... I was shocked when I came in this morning and saw the large number of people," said Foundation head Novlet Davis. More than 1,300 people were seen over four days and by 4 a.m. on the first of the four-day mission, a husband and wife had already arrived.
"This year we have more practitioners so I think we will exceed the number. This year we are also doing dental work from two mobile units. We also have two OB/GYNs, we offer prostate checks; EKGs, paediatric services, back-to-school medicals, general physicals, disbursing reading glasses, a lab for blood tests, a pharmacy to dispense medication to patients, dermatology services, barbers to cut hair, and clothing, toiletries and shoes for everyone."
The team also conducted first-aid training with teachers from seven schools in the community.
"We also give toothbrushes and toothpaste after dental checks, and we bring books, toys, clothing and school supplies for the infants at Brandon Hill Infant School," Davis said.
Meanwhile, retired principal Pearline Clarke has been assisting Davis, her sister, from day one, with logistics and other arrangements for the medical mission.
Work begins in earnest two weeks prior to the start date, and there are several trips to the wharf to collect the barrels with supplies for the work.
They begin the actual sorting of barrels on the Thursday before start date.
The Brandon Hill and Crofts Hill communities show their appreciation by hosting volunteers free of cost in their homes; this year three more persons volunteered their homes for the guests.
"We compile a grocery list and do the market and wholesale shopping necessary to prepare three meals daily for the volunteers; these are supplemented by donations of ground provision, fruits and vegetables from community members, who also come in and assist with cooking," Clarke said.
After a hard week's work the team spent the long weekend vacationing in Negril before leaving the island on Monday.