San Joachin is the local nursing home and currently has 47 residents. This is where I have been volunteering my time for the past 15 years. Where does the time go?
This is also where there is a group of dedicated women and men who work with the residents and help maintain the building.
I went for a tour in mid-April to show the facility off. It is amazing how you can see the beauty among the obstacles.
Flowers are in bloom everywhere and the smiling faces from everyone is a delight to see.
The courtyard has this huge almendros tree that I thought we might loose in 2002 after the hurricane but look at it today – majestic and healthy.
The ladies are often sitting in their TV lounge watching TV and chatting.
This room used to be the Infirmary where residents who were needing more care would stay. There usually were about 8-10 ladies living in this room and today it has been converted into the ladies TV room and place to sit while the nortes rage outside.
The ladies dorm has seen improvements over time and the nuns work at brightening up the area. If you look closely, there is a new storage area being built at the end of the room where the staff will have easier access to sheets and blankets and other supplies.
The communal bathroom has seen some improvements and the men who maintain the building in the winter have spent many hours repairing the plumbing and painting.
But what the residents enjoy most of all is the interaction. Even though there is the language barrier, a warm smile and gentle touch is always enjoyed and appreciated.
The activity room is a large space where most of the activities and interactions occur. Exercise group with the snowbird volunteers brings energy and enthusiasm every Tuesday and Thursday. Occasionally there are parties when folks bring in ice cream, cookies and during Carnival there is a fiesta put on by local groups.
Mary is relatively new to the facility and travels from Merida twice a week to do activities with the residents. Mary continues with the exercises that the winter snowbirds do and has introduced the residents to loteria and handicrafts. They are loving it.