Jamaica has a population of 2.5 million people, with 1.3 million living in the capital city of Kingston. By far the majority of these city dwellers do not even have plumbing. Health care for the most part is nonexistent. The word chiropractic was 99 percent of the time followed by the response, "chiro what man."
The three U.S. chiropractors were in Jamaica under the banner of the Life Foundation's Children to Children program. We stayed in a monastery run by the Missionaries of the Poor, a group which has three residencies: Jabob's Well, the Good Shepherd, and the Faith Center. These homes provide food, shelter, and clothing, as well as companionship and very basic health care to physically and emotionally challenged individuals from nine to 95 years of age.
It was at the three sites that we began our work. The brothers and nuns in charge of these facilities would introduce us and we would proceed to evaluate their needs and adjust. Our next stop was the Alpha school, part orphanage/reform school for boys. Here we adjusted about 175 boys, including a nun who was the school nurse. The beautiful thing was this sister could not stop testifying about the wonders and miracles of chiropractic, and how it saved her from gallbladder surgery she was slated for years ago in her home state of Ohio. After she told her story, the remainder of the sisters were also adjusted. It was heart warming to see these serious nuns laugh like school girls after their adjustments.
We were next taken to a large population of patients, who were very happy to see us. They were inmates at the Gun-Court prison in Kingston. Talk about a captive audience. Even more important, let's talk about appreciation. We adjusted more than 300 inmates and correction officers including the warden. The most interesting part of this visit was that the guards and the inmates were waiting for their adjustments shoulder to shoulder: a curious sight. Each location we went to, we would best as possible explain chiropractic and start adjusting. After one of the brothers or nuns from the mission would get on the adjusting table, everyone else would line up and we would go from there.
During a short lunch break, Dr. Mary and I went for a walk through the city with one of the women who worked at the Faith Center. Everybody knows everybody else here. To say we stood out would be an understatement. As we walked about, our unofficial guide, Cherry, would introduce us to her neighbors, friends, and relatives. We would then proceed to adjust them right there on the spot, be it a bench, tree stump, cart, fruit stand, or the road. Thank goodness for sitting rotaries.
We felt the mission was a complete success. We gave over 1,200 adjustments in two and one-half days. The love and appreciation we felt and were shown from our new found patients and friends was so profound that it's difficult to find the words to adequately describe it. I encourage anyone interested in such an experience to make themselves available to the Children to Children program, run through the Life Foundation. Thanks go to Lloyd Table Co. for their donation of a much utilized portable table. It was a trip I shall never forget. This was a true lesson of giving for the sake of giving, loving for the sake of loving, and serving for the sake of serving.
Scott Lawrence, DC
New York, NY