One of our rising stars, Jenny Moats, just returned from a trip to Jamaica where she worked with an organization called the ISSA Trust Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica. Jenny shares her stories and her husbands photography from their trip below. Enjoy!
“Wow what a trip and an experience I will never forget. I had the opportunity to go to Jamaica with an organization called the ISSA Trust Foundation. The trip was a medical mission and the team was made up of Doctors, Nurses, RTs, Pharmacists, computer geniuses, a photographer, spouses, and of course Diane and Bill Pollard. Diane is the foundation’s CEO and President and when she is not in Jamaica on medical missions, she is overseeing operations of the foundation right here in Altoona. Bill is the “muscle” and keeps order in the clinics daily, along with four of my new Jamaican friends, Gregory, Regi, Winston, and Clifford. Things are not always safe on these missions because the Jamaican people have a strong desire to see the doctor and get treatment and prescriptions. Each day would start with a 1-2 hour bus ride into the mountains. It was gorgeous along the way as long as you did not get car sick on the winding roads! Once at our location for the day we would set up the clinic in a building they would provide us. Clinics were not ideal and had small rooms for the doctors which were very hot! Outside in shaded areas we would set up registration, heights and weights, triage, and teeth painting. The team provided treatment to 640 children during the week, with the highest day being 155! The days were long, hot, and amazing! I painted teeth on most days, which means painting fluoride gel on teeth with a small paintbrush. One day I noted heights and weights. The doctors worked hard to see each child every day and provide treatment and diagnosis. We also had Greg and Jeannine, two computer geniuses, that set up a system of record for each child on Ipads. They can track records and refer on to local doctors. Greg was always finding ways to improve the system and things flowed so well.
A few days before I left for Jamaica I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Tererai Trent speak. She was born in Africa, poor, and not allowed an education. She did her brother’s homework and learned to read. She was married off at age 11 and when she told her husband she wanted an education he would beat her. One day an organization came to visit Africa and a woman asked her “what are your dreams?” She told her an education and now she has a Doctorate Degree and has built 9 schools in Africa! I told myself that I too would ask someone what their dreams were before this trip was over because you never know when and how you can impact someone after you meet them. At the first clinic in Negril, I had an opportunity to spend several hours with two teen-age girls. One named Natalie and one named Desha. As I sat with them between painting teeth, we asked each other questions. They had many questions about where I was from, what I did for a job, and if I had a husband. My husband was around taking pictures and I said “how’d I do?” They giggled (not because of his looks-I don’t think anyway) and I said he was nice. We talked about boys and making sure they were nice and had dreams. Then we talked of their dreams. One was already on her way to polishing school so she could learn what she called proper speech and etiquette so she could work on a cruise ship. The other was younger and was helping paint the teeth of her extended family and I let her. We joked she would be a dentist someday. Who knows, maybe she will!”