Mary Claire Jarrell
Editor’s Note: Three professional pharmacy students joined David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs, and 23 other volunteers on a medical mission trip to Copan, Honduras this summer. Tate Davis, Christine Hayden and Mary Claire Jarrell managed pharmacy services in clinics that assisted more than 2,000 patients. This is Mary Clarie’s story.
Getting on the plane always causes a rush of emotion, a rush of concern, apprehension, and trepidation. Doubts and questions always seem to cloud your mind. What will I actually be doing? Will I know enough? Will my Spanish be good enough? Where will I be sleeping? What will the weather be like? All of which are valid questions. I had all these questions recently on a medical mission trip to Honduras. What I didn’t know was how irrelevant and trivial most of these answers would become.
Throughout the trip, there were so many patients, so many faces, and so many smiles. So many holas, buenos dias, como estas were said day in and day out. One of the unforgettable smiles we encountered was from a 12-year old young lady named Judy. She was the daughter of a pastor of the church we attended on Sunday night. She had a smile that never wavered from the moment we met her. It was clear that Judy was a big help to not only her family but to all the families of the church. She was toting children around the service, leading songs, fixing flowers, and greeting everyone with whom she came in contact. Her smile immediately caught my eye. She had an inherent and radiant glow about her in a bright, yellow dress. I wanted to befriend her. One big, major problem existed between us. Her language was Spanish, and mine English. The little Spanish I could speak allowed me to get her name, age, and that she was the pastor’s daughter. Then, we were stuck. The one thing we could communicate was a smile. As the service came to an end, we hugged and parted ways after taking a photo.
The next few clinic days passed and we saw patient after patient, face after face, and smile after smile. Until one day, I hear “Maria Clara, Maria Clara.” It was Judy! She was there to help us in the pharmacy before she went to school. Through the help of a translator, we were able to train her how to counsel patients just as we had been doing. She was able to answer questions through our translator and we taught her medical terms in English. She practiced her English she had learned in school with us and was overjoyed to be able to do so. We were able to teach her how to be a pharmacist, but she was able to teach us how to eagerly serve. She jumped right in to help her community, exactly what we are to do as pharmacists. She wanted to do anything and everything to help her community learn how to properly take their medication, to aid in any way possible. Judy reminded us of our duties. She reminded us of our obligations. She came as a reminder that our future jobs, profession, and training are not just about the medication, interactions, and consultations. Our job is about service, not just to serve but to serve well with the eagerness of Judy to help our local communities to provide the best care we possibly can. For this, we are grateful for the lesson learned through a very special 12-year old young lady by the name of Judy.