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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

‘A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’ John 13:34 (ESV)


Today we were privileged to return to the village of Piletas, which has not been visited in a number of years.   This name was apparently chosen when the village was formed because there were ‘piles of stones’ all over the area.  We certainly experienced the rocky landscape as our bus slowly made its way up the narrow dirt and rocky road deep into the hills above the village of Santa Cruz.


The community warmly welcomed us and some even gave up their personal homes for use by the medical team.  The dental team was especially touched by this generous act.  Kay was impressed as she stood in the kitchen, near the adobe stove, on the dirt floor and realized that this was someone’s home that was offered generously by a beautifully dressed woman giving from what little she had to offer for the benefit of her community.


Community seemed to be a theme noticed by many on the team today.  From the time of our arrival when one of the community members, who happened to be the volunteer school teacher, seemed very insistent on having things done a specific way.   It was clear that he took great pride in insuring that this community got the care it needed.  Patti commented that the last time this village was visited there was only a one room school and now, likely due to community involvement such as this teacher demonstrated, they have expanded to several classrooms. His involvement was also humbly demonstrated in that at the end of the day he was seen gathering trash in the school yard.  This individual touched Kay’s heart so much that she shared with him her ‘star’ which is something each team member can share with a special child to let them know that at night when we see the stars we are praying for them.  She could not pick just one child out of the many who blessed her so she gave the star to this school teacher so that he could share the story and meaning with all of them. 


This community had already identified significant medical issues that needed to be addressed. We definitely saw that in several cases today.  Dr. Marvin saw a young lady who had undergone open heart surgery for a congenital heart condition. She had significant issues that he identified but was no longer receiving the care she requires due to having aged out of the pediatric program.  He was able to refer her to our Honduran colleague, Dr. Pedro, and we are hopeful and prayerful that she can obtain needed services.

Another child was seen that initially had not been registered for care by his mother.  The child was registered by the encouragement of Eydi, one of our new Honduran nurses.   This 18 month old child who was not meeting developmental milestones and was not walking was referred to Dr. Pedro and then evaluated by Dr. Joe, our amazing Developmental Pediatrician.  He was found to have a suspected significant pediatric hip issue, likely from birth, that when properly cared for will allow him to be able to walk and run and have a completely normal life. 


Fulfilling the Medical Mountain Team tradition, Diane gave her cross to one young mother who displayed an amazing calm and loving demeanor toward her 4 young children.  She was very impressed by this young mother deferring any care for herself so that her children could all get the care they needed.


Daniel also commented that you can observe the sense of community even amongst the children.  Older kids often helped the younger kids.  Chelsea commented that she used this to get some of the younger children to take their deworming medicine.  When the younger children saw the older ones take the medicine and then get a sticker as a prize, they were now motivated to take their medicine as well in hopes of receiving such a prize themselves. 


Dr. Susan’s therapeutic skills remained in high demand throughout the day as many community members were blessed by the touch of her hands.


Karen noted that with our team there is a sense of community and helping each other.  She was very blessed when there was an afternoon rush for fluoride treatments that the dentists pitched in to help. Debbie also received encouragement from other team members as they ‘speech stretched her’ by having her read the Spanish developmental questionnaire to the young mothers.  She was thankful for their patience with her as she pushed the limits of her comfort zone. Debbie did acknowledge that she might not have pronounced all of the difficult medical terms correctly and was thankful that Eydi helped out by translating her ‘Spanish into Spanish’.  


As we loaded up our equipment at the end of the busy, productive day and headed back down the bumpy mountain road, we felt privileged and blessed to have been able to serve this wonderful community today.   They will always have a special place in our hearts and prayers.


~Cindy and Dan

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