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Steve Barnes MD

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TOGETHER IN HOPE
September 14, 2012

I was a volunteer physician for Together In Hope's first medical mission to El Salvador in January 2012. I went to El Salvador with a medical team and dental team. Overall, we saw hundreds of eager patients in 5 days. I've been on medical missions before, but this mission with Together in Hope was head and shoulders above the rest. I was so impressed with the eagerness and sacrifice of the entire team, from the administrative (Diane and Laura), to the laypersons who went along to translate, plan for a future medical clinic, and provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support. Together in Hope was simply the best all around group of people I've been involved with regarding medical missions, and this was their very first mission! The people of El Salvador are an unknown treasure. They have suffered from genocide and political oppression in the past, but today they are for the most part poor yet proud. They deserve to be proud. The family structure of the patients that we saw was incredibly cohesive: grandparents, parents, and children all came together to our makeshift clinic. These families reflected love for their children, their husbands and wives, and respect for their elders. The gratitude that these people expressed to our team was unmeasurable. All of us at Together in Hope were brought to tears of joy during this trip. If you are a physician, dentist, nurse, have any background in healthcare, or are simply a giving person, then I highly recommend that you volunteer with Together in Hope for future missions. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you will return a better and more grounded person.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a medical mission to El Salvador in January, 2012

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand the physical location/clinic resources (building, supplies, etc.) but of course this means increasing the financial resources of Together in Hope.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Increase medical personnel: physicians and nurses (but again, this means that more need to volunteer!)

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Yes! This experience brought me back to what medicine is about: physically and emotionally healing the less fortunate.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

I feel proud and yet humbled by my trip to El Salvador. I wish that I could have done more. I was treated with such respect by the many patients who came to see "the Doctor" and "the Dentist." But pride wasn't about my provision of some "superior Western medicine" it was about the smiles, hugs, tears, and love that people far less fortunate (in material things) than I provided despite what we as Americans feel are destitute conditions. El Salvador needs our help, and our resources, but El Salvador is far from destitute when it comes to being human. It was I who felt honored to be included in the lives of the El Salvador people. And I feel honored to have been included in Together in Hope's mission.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Provided medical screening and care to hundreds of poor San Salvador citizens.