Monday, October 17, 2022
We joined the Honduran medical staff and translation team today, traveling about an hour and a half through the beautiful mountains and valleys to reach Aguas de la Reina.
About 50 families live together in this community. Many of them greeted us upon arrival and listened respectfully to the instructions for the day and our modest welcome message. Most of our patients were children, but mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers arrived to take advantage of clinic day. We understand that this was the Friends of Barnabas team's second visit to the community this year.
Our Harrisonburg Team joined the local Friends of Barnabas staff to offer six clinic stations, dental services, vision screenings, weights and measures, and deworming services. Each family also received a wellness pack.
Today was about finding our rhythm. We most definitely relied on the leadership of our local counterparts. Some of our Harrisonburg Team were moved several times from one station to another. "It's all about flexibility," one of our more experienced team members reminded us.
Clinic stations were busy, but the team members focused on "quality over quantity" and were able to spend the time needed with each family. It was a blessing to have a full complement of providers today. Patients presented with cough, headaches, eye irritation and a range of aches and pains. The team made referrals in real time to our Honduran referral physician for additional care. The referrals included elevated blood pressures, heart murmur, possible anemia, irregular menstrual period, hole in the eardrum, epilepsy, impacted ear wax, vision disturbances, developmental delays, nose bleeding, enlarged prostate, and blood in the stool. Our medical providers jumped in all day to carry out clinics with limited resources in temperatures hovering close to 90 degrees. The other stations were equally busy. It was a long day, but we headed for homebase feeling grateful that each individual seeking care received a consultation.
Several team members shared observations during the day. First, the town was incredibly isolated. We wondered what options were available for emergency care. What about access to good food? Access to prenatal care? We couldn't help but wonder if the two annual visits from Friends of Barnabas were the only health care options for the men, women, and children in this remote area.
Second, a team member expressed worry about the education that the children receive. There is a local school with 75 students, all elementary school ages. Students that want a chance to go beyond elementary school must travel to a city, likely an hour or more away. How do these kids go further in their education? What about education for special needs children? Our team leader learned that the 14-year-old girl with developmental delays was not welcome at school. A friendly, happy teenager, we hope that today's referral results in new opportunities for this precious child!
It was a good day!
(Photos by Shawn & Sue Lepley)