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floating doctors

While in Bocas del Toro I discover, in amongst the seedy tourist dross, a few more inspiring people and projects.

Foating Doctors work bringing mobile clinics in remote coastal communities that are only accessible by water. Their base is a sailing boat moored at one of Bocas three marinas and the majority of their staff are international volunteers. Floating Doctors team up with other people and organisations to bring health care to people who desperately need it. They came to Panama after an extended stint in Haiti. I went out with the floating doctors on a couple of days to see their work.

A expat resident of Bocas del Toro provides transport.

Remote coastal communities like this one are only accessible by water.

Unloading the medical equipment and supplies.

The patients...

...come in all shapes and sizes.

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Children suck on sugary frozen drinks...

...while a dental hygienist instills some basic information about tooth brushing to a classroom of youngsters...

...and their mothers peer in from outside.

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The second day I accompanied the doctors on their rounds we visited a community on the mainland and the clinic took place in a large primary school. The principal of the school clearly took her responsibilities to her students very seriously and was working with a number of different organisations to help to improve their quality of life.

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The school where this clinic took place provided us all with a meal of fish, rice and vegetables.

Counting out pills.

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The link into this community was provided by a couple of US retirees living in Bocas who have set up, Operation Safe Drinking Water, another inspiring programme with the mission to improve local indigenous communities access to safe drinking water. They install tanks to catch rain water in villages and at schools. Simple. Effective. Potentially life saving.

Clean water.

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