Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Beautiful Ending

Today we said "goodbye" to Cofradia.  We gathered for our traditional group picture, then loaded the bus for Valley of the Angels, a popular tourist town just outside of Tegucigalpa.  Here's a look at the drive through Tegucigalpa and the countryside going to Valley of the Angels.

Today's weather was beautiful, and it made walking around the Valley of the Angels very pleasant.  We enjoyed a group lunch at Don Juan restaurant on their second-story covered open air patio. A refreshing breeze kept us comfortable while we chatted and ate.  The restaurant served a family style meal of assorted grilled meats, rice, beans, cheese and avocado tray, salsa, chimichurri sauce, and home-made tortilla chips with hot bean dip.  Delicioso!

After lunch we walked around town and shopped for souvenirs.  Valley of the Angels is home to a community of local artisans, including leather workers, carvers, painters and potters.  After shopping for a few hours, we rode back to the city and checked into our hotel in Tegucigalpa.  We were all on our own for supper.

Tomorrow we will board the bus for the trip to the airport and travel home. A small Luke 9:2 Ministries team will come to Cofradia in March to install more water systems and to work on programming for health and hygiene.  In September, a small medical team will come to assist Dr. Ponce in follow up clinics in some of the same communities.

Thanks for your prayers!  And until next year, we say "Dios Le Bendiga!", or "God Bless You"!

Some final pictures...
Girls room at Cofradia

Media center and salon in girl's room

Wash day at the river

Along the highway back down into the city

Monument in downtown Tegucigalpa

On the highway out of the city

Don Juan restaurant in Valley of the Angels

Cheese and avocado tray
Night view of Tegucigalpa 

Leather shop in Valley of the Angels

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Impacting the Next Generation

We made it home from Soroguara before dark last night.  It was a treat to have a little down time before dinner.  During our share time, we all remarked on the “little old ladies” with their beautiful aprons.  Donna told of one of the ladies that she and Anna gave special attention to.  The lady completed her time at the clinic, went home, and then came back looking for Donna and Anna (she called her the girl with curly hair!).  She brought back some fresh parsley from her garden as a thank you! 

Hannah shared with us that their last patients for the day were two young teenage girls.  After their examination, Hannah (who is 18 and a freshman at Union University), took the time to remind the girls that even if they are bullied at school, they are beautiful in God’s eyes and they are made exactly in His image.  The girls were emotional and wanted their picture with Hannah so they could remember her and what she told them.

Today we went to Casa De Diamantes.  This ministry is located near the city dump.  Many people live near the dump and “mine” the dump for recyclables as their only source of income.  Individuals in the dump community are typically uneducated and trapped in their poverty.  Casa De Diamantes has a church, school, and other programs to try to help break this cycle.  Luke 9:2 Ministries has held a clinic here for the last 3 or 4 years.

When we arrived this morning, there were about 100 Hondurans lined up outside the fence of the compound waiting for the clinic to start.  Church volunteers had already set up the clinic rooms, chairs for the patients, and a cooking station to sell lunch and snacks to the attendees.  And, they surprised us with lunch – Chinese (much like chow mein) and passion fruit juice.  Yum!

Although we see many children at every clinic, today’s clinic seemed especially blessed with kids.  Moms brought nieces and nephews, and it was not uncommon for one adult to have 4 or 5 kids with them.  Amazingly, most of the young people were quite healthy.  We assured the moms they are healthy and provided basic education in how to treat the inevitable future illness.

The kids who saw the dentist had lots of bad teeth.  When the only water you have makes you sick, then you drink sodas instead.  All that sugar has a harmful effect on their teeth.  Again, we encourage them to reduce the sugar, drink safe water, and brush often!

Every clinic day, Victor and his daughter Victoria Abigail (10 years old) rode on the bus to our clinic with us to help with triage and other tasks.  Abigail came along because she wants to be a pediatrician.  Her dad shared that she regularly lines up her friends and plays doctor with them.  They are her patients. She looks into their ears and eyes and gives them pretend shots.  Every day she patiently observed how we conduct clinics.

Today, she got to sit behind Donna, our pediatric nurse.  Abigail watched everything Donna did closely and it was obvious she was taking it all in.  During a slow time, Donna helped her look into another child’s ear and listen to her heartbeat. Hopefully, Abigail will be on our Luke 9:2 Ministries medical team one day!

We will attend church services tonight in Cofradía followed by our final team meeting, debriefing, and review of the week.  Tomorrow, we will visit Valley of the Angels, a popular tourist spot in Honduras and just enjoy being together (as well as dressing in something other than scrubs!).

More pictures from today…

Regan, Mega-Medical Technician!

Cesar and Kristen consult with a patient

Elizabeth and Allen testing eyes

Dr. Kristen at work.

The kids love nurse Donna (and she loves them, too!)

Janet and Jean made a great team

Nellet interpreting for Todd

Our Chinese lunch 

Erica assisting Heather with a cleaning

Loretta numbing teeth before they are pulled

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Slow Day? Maybe.

The group finished at our clinic site last night about 6:00 PM. With only an hour bus ride ahead of us, we were eating supper at 7:30 - Chinese!  And, it was very good! 

The team spent time debriefing both the Guiamaca and Rio Dulce clinics.  Martha told us about a grandmother who came to her station with what seemed to be a case of depression.  She had several young ones with her.  She told Martha that her daughter, the kids’ mother, was killed in a random shooting two weeks ago and that their father is in prison.  She and the other grandmother were caring for the children amid dealing with their grief.

Donna told the story of an 18-year-old who came to her station with her 1 year old baby.  The young mother was very concerned for the health of her baby (Donna reported the baby was just fine).  The mother also told Donna that she wanted to learn to read and write.  Donna went the extra mile to report the woman’s name and contact info to Dr. Ponce.  He promised to follow up with her and connect her to literacy ministries available in the area.  We took time to pray for both women and their special needs.

After dinner Anna set up her massage table and gave massages to several team members.  Her gentle generosity and unselfish gifts were so appreciated!

This morning things were slow getting started.  It was 9:30 before we left Cofradía and headed out for our clinic.  Today, we were in Soroguara, a new location for Luke 9:2 Ministries.  None of us knew what to expect, only that it would be a little over an hour bus ride.  We rode to “the other side of the mountain” and were charmed by the scenery.  Fruitful farms and fit farm animals were everywhere.  As we drove into Soroguara, farmers on horseback 
were herding their cows down the road.

Then, we got to the clinic site.  And there was no one waiting for us.  We’ve never experienced that before.  According to Dr. Ponce, the local officials knew we were coming over a month ago, but they didn’t share that information with the community at large. 

Regardless, we set up clinic in a small school yard and waited.  The people began to trickle into the schoolyard.  Dr. Ponce got in his truck and drove around spreading the word that we were here.  He came back with the bed of his truck full of families.  He made two more trips, and slowly but surely our patient count began to climb!

Many of our patients were old women.  All of them wore beautiful aprons they save for special occasions.  The people were all very gracious…and grateful. 

Our special guests at the clinic site today were the dogs!  Dogs, dogs everywhere.  Wandering in and out of the treatment rooms, getting into fights with each other and making a general nuisance of themselves.  (Some of our team members will take offense to this last statement, but I call it like I see it!)

There was no local pastor at today’s clinic site to decide who should or should not receive food.  Since we had hundreds of pounds of food left from yesterday’s clinic, we decided to give food to every head of household, regardless of need.  The food – bag of beans, corn and rice - was clearly appreciated.

As of this writing, its estimated that we will end up seeing about 300 people by the time the day is over.  It may have been a slow start, but we will be running to finish before dark!

More pictures from today:

Donna and company rig a way to catch water from the leaking skylight.
Anna began her massages even before she set up her table.  Note the expression on the woman's face!
Erica found a friend.

He stole our heart!
Doug, Stephen and Al set up the canopy.

Will made a great door monitor!

Hannah rocks as an interpreter!
Rick, Brian and Greg help pack food for distribution.
Ivonne helps with triage.

Nickie and one of the beautiful women we saw today.

Letsbi stepped out of the kitchen to help in pharmacy.

Todd helped a lot of senior adults with their aching joints.

Hannah and Donna made a great team.
A towel was her scarf.

Scenes from the bus ride.

We drove past a very decorated cemetery.

Nashville Hot Chicken???