After a few weeks of working with teams we are back in the office with regular internet access – so time to blog!! Last week we had the priviledge of being translators for a medical team. But let me be more specific – the team needed 7 translators. Sean and I working together were counted as 1 translator and we were placed with the kids who were waiting for their parents to be seen. So we didn’t need to say much more than ‘come here’, ‘ Do you want to color?’ ‘More?’ Things like that. Even though we didn’t get to work with the patients, we were still so excited to be working with this team. I’ve wished so many times that I could stomach blood and pain because serving people in this way makes such an impact. We went to different villages each day and every day we had between 150-300 people waiting for hours to see one of the 5 doctors on this team. So many people here have limited, if any, access to medical treatment. We also had an eye doctor who fitted hundreds of people for glasses. Can you imagine going through life with everything blurry?? The best moment for me was on the second day. We had been seeing patients for a few hours when a man hobbled in with a blood soaked leg. He had cut his leg right above the knee with a chainsaw. (Super deep, but not to the bone.) One of our doctor’s was an ER doc who had brought a kit with her just for this sort of thing. She was able to clean the wound and stitch him up in less than an hour. (No numbing the area though. This was a tough guy! Sean said he was even joking and laughting at times.) He was bandaged and sent home with medication and strict instructions to clean the wound and rest. (Most people who know me know that I have a very sensitive gag reflex when it comes to physical ailments, which is why I don’t have a picture of the man getting stitches on the front lawn. Sorry to disappoint.) What amazes me is that if this man had cut himself the day after we had been there, this story would probably end very very differently. For the 10 minute walk to our clinic he didn´t even attempt to bandage the wound. So he may have simply bled to death. If they could´ve stopped the bleeding it is very likely that the wound would´ve gotten severly infected resulting in him losing his leg. But that´s only if he was able to get to a doctor. Chances are good he wouldn´t be able to afford to pay so wouldn´t have gone at all, resulting in death from his infection. I know I´m painting a grim picture here but a trip to the ER just isn´t a possibility for so many people here! I am just so incredibly thankful to God that this accident happened when it did. This man is the father of 11 children. Can you imagine being a single parent to 11 children?? Being in that place at that time was such a blessing!
People waiting in line to see a Dr. (Las Colinas, Santa Barbara)
Inside the school that we were using as a clinic. We also had a gynecolegist on this team. Her very `private` room is behind those sheets!
On this day we didn´t have an actual room for the kids. But they were just fine with coloring on a tarp in the middle of the road!
And now for other very important news. Sean and I have a new addition to our family!
Just kidding! This is a very friendly little monkey named Sasha. Our last day was my favorite. We went to an orphanage near our house to give all the kids medical exams. I was completely blown away by this place. The orphanage has existed for 50 years and you can see the wear and tear on some of the buildings, but these kids are sooooo loved by the people who run it as well as the staff. Many of the kids here have living parents, their parents simply cannot afford to feed them so they come here very malnourished. But with love and the right nutrients these kids are flourishing! We worked mainly with the little ones because all the older kids were in school, but I got to tour the living quarters of the older kids. Very nice new buildings and their rooms looked like typical kids´rooms, which was nice to see. Also, a student from the orphange (or the child of a person who grew up in the orphanage) has been the valedictorian at the local school for I think 3 out of the last 4 years! It was also really neat to meet some of the staff members who grew up here and consider it home so they want to give back to the kid that are living there now. Incredibly inspiring. AND they have a pet monkey. How could you be sad when you have a pet monkey?? If you want to learn more about the orphanage you can visit their website at http://www.blogger.com/www.panamhealth.org
Finally, and all joking aside, we do have a new, furry addition to our lives. On our 3rd day we had our clinic at a church. (The picture with the kids on the tarps.) In the back of the church were 3 dogs tied to trees, starving. Now, one of the first things that rips an animal lovers´heart in a 3rd world country is the state of the animals. Honduras is no different. Sometimes I wish I was a vet and could fix many dogs and put many many others out of their misery. But most of these dogs are free to roam around the village in hopes of finding scraps of food. These poor dogs were pets so they were at the mercy of their owners who didn´t have enough money to buy them food. This little guy captured our hearts right away. Gigantic ears. By far the worst of the 3. And tied to a tree with roughly a foot and a half chain.
We bought him for 500 lempiras – about 27 dollars. They told us he was sick and there was something wrong with his back legs. Sure enough, the first night it looked like he couldn´t extend his legs far enough and he was so weak that every time he tried to stretch he would fall over. BUT with less than 24 hours of regular food and room to move around we are happy to say his legs are totally fine. A little weak, but fine. We gave him a bath the first night and he very passively let us pick off a bunch of fleas and ticks and clean inside his ears. Again, after some regular food, he is no longer the passive, lethargic pup he was last week. Now when we try to search for unwanted visitors he thinks it´s play time and his goal is to bite those tweezers!! Since he is now in full puppy mode we´ve decided to call him Chamaco (rascal) and we believe that he will fully live up to his name!
Just coming over to say hello!
Waiting patiently for Sean to make his scrambled eggs. (We read that eggs are high in protein so good for malnourished animals…)
He REALLY likes to chew on stuff. Bad Chamaco!!
This picture is from our 5th day with him. He is still incredibly skinny, but his ribs are less defined now. And here´s a little video
to show just how much energy he has. =) Another crazy thing is that our neighbor kids absolutely LOVE him. We thought for sure that we were going to have to talk to them about not kicking him or throwing rocks at him, since they do it to all other dogs. Nope, they think he´s the greatest thing. They stand at our window calling his name. When we walk him they want to take over the leash. So he went from being the starving, neglected dog behind the house to the King of Santa Elena! Pretty good week for him I would say!