STATE HOUSE – Rep. Peter G. Palumbo is taking the trip of a lifetime.
For nine days this month, he’ll swelter under the sun while listening to the cries of a thousand irritable children. He’ll lack running water, be subjected to exotic bugs the size of his palm, and dine on a canned cuisine of Spam and deviled ham sandwiches.
Sound like a tropical getaway gone horribly wrong? Well, it’s a dream vacation for Representative Palumbo, who will spend his 3rd consecutive January traveling to Nicaragua to provide impoverished families with badly needed health care.
“I can’t wait to go back,” said Representative Palumbo (D-Dist. 16) of Cranston. “I really look forward to seeing all the kids. It’s hard work, but it’s so rewarding. If it wasn’t for our visits, most of these families would never even see a doctor during their lifetime.”
From January 17-26th, Representative Palumbo will assist doctors, nurses and other volunteers from the Northeast Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) in setting up a free medical clinic for residents.
The group of volunteers visits the third-world country each year to provide needy children and adults with much-needed (and free) medical care, such as medical and dental exams, eye exams, glasses, eye surgery and pharmaceutical drugs.
During their last medical mission in January 2002, volunteers treated 5,000 patients in a makeshift clinic crafted inside a cluster of brick schoolhouses.
The latest trip is just one of many humanitarian missions Representative Palumbo has embarked on. He has traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina 10 times on relief efforts, and in 1993 established the Medjugorje Appeal, which provides clothing and medical supplies to Croatian, Muslim and Serbian war victims.