A walk to the clinic

Jan 19, 2016

By Laura Sumner Coon

A silent, short young man follows a nurse to the medical line Saturday afternoon. Already, there are more than 90 people in front of him,waiting to be seen. The nurse whispers, “Can we get this person in today? He walked five hours to get here.”

It’s a tricky maneuver to manage the crowd. Nearly all people walk to the clinic. Some are lucky to carpool or pile into a truck. Omar Neftali Morales, 22, has by far traveled the most distance on foot.

We carefully point out a seat near the wall for Omar to be seen within the hour. That maneuver is done nearly every half hour, as patients with extremely high blood sugar or high blood pressure are escorted to the medical area.

On Sunday, another day when farmworkers are off, Omar returned to have a tooth filled. Again, he waited all day to be seen. In all, Omar spent his weekend walking 20 hours for simple medical attention. Word of his quiet resolve and gentle demeanor rippled through the team. Amazed, many reflected that few people at home would follow his example, and with a smile.

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