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Building Relationships

becca and famDr. Terry Chaffee and his wife, Becca, have been involved with Medical Missions Foundation for six years.  Terry is on Team Anesthesiology and Becca coordinates the Art Team ambassadors.  On a trip four years ago, Becca met Claudia, a patient living at Casa de Fe recovering from an accident.  After being hit by a car and left on the side of the road to die, she lost one leg, and the use of one arm.  She was recuperating alone at Casa de Fe for several months as her two children and grandparents lived in a village almost three hours away.  Becca befriended her, and although Claudia didn’t speak English and Becca didn’t speak Spanish, Becca taught Claudia to play cards.  They played all week and sent the deck of cards home with Claudia.  The next time Becca returned with Medical Missions Foundation, the Casa de Fe coordinator helped her arrange a day when the women could see each other again. Claudia was still in the process of receiving her first prosthesis. Becca took her to the market and bought toiletries and clothes for her family.  On every return trip that followed, the Chaffes brought a suitcase full of clothing and supplies for the family.  On the previous trip, Becca worked on setting up a bank account for Claudia.  Their monetary support allowed Claudia to buy the uniforms required for her children to attend school. This year, Claudia boarded a bus at 3:00 am with her daughter, Fernanda, and the women reunited again.  They went to the market to buy shoes and other supplies.  Claudia was physically stronger and no longer a tentative shopper. She demonstrated her increased confidence and bargained with the vendors.  Afterwards, Becca made the three hour trip to  Claudia’s village to meet her family for the first time. The Chafee’s long term relationship with Claudia demonstrates the impact that our volunteers have on the lives of the people here.