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Growing Pains

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Today was a very busy day in the community of Planes de Picacho. About an hour and twenty-minute drive from the Alfredo House where we are staying, Planes de Picacho is a farming community surrounded by rolling hills and many pine trees. When the Friends of Barnabas bus pulled up to outside the village school, we were joyfully greeted by two smiling children shaking our hands saying "Buenos Dias!" The school quickly became our clinic as we all jumped in to set up the space; school desks were removed and replaced by long tables where medicines, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and stickers were scattered ready for use on our patients.

The people of Planes de Picacho were extremely friendly and close-knit. All of the children would run from family to family greeting their friends and cousins, and were very talkative to all of the team members. One of the little girls quickly became a favorite, as she sweetly comforted Becca who sustained a significant goose egg to her head. However, so many of our patients today were significantly uneducated in many realms of healthcare, including dental, nutritional, and infant care. Of the estimated 43 elementary school-aged children in the community, all are taught by one teacher, an incredibly strong and positive woman. Our team came home quite exhausted this evening after seeing so many rotten teeth, ringworm, lice, and so many other unique diagnoses and circumstances.

A common complaint that many children in the various communities we have visited this week have described, is what are commonly known as growing pains. You know the pains I'm talking about: a tingling to cramping soreness, usually in bilateral legs that tends to occur at night just as you are trying to relax. This week for many of us has been a week of growing pains in one way or another. Growing pains in ourselves, as we start getting to know a part of ourseves, we didn't to know existed. Growing pains as we interact with people we have never seen before who leave our hearts forever changed. And growing pains in our relationship with God as we wrestle with all the beautiful things and this world and all the difficult all mashed together. But, just as I tell my beautiful patients, these pains are there because they mean we are growing and changing. One day we will be able to look back and say, look how very strong all of those growing pains made me!

~Mary Hannah

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