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Serving El Encinal

Today started with a contemplative devotion from Frances. It set the stage for us to have a calm and peaceful day. We followed breakfast with a group photo and then onto the bus.

We traveled to a village called El Encinal. On the way we passed through Las Vegas, but we did not have any Elvis sightings.

The community has 150 residents from 45 families. Their water is piped to the community from a natural spring that is two and half miles away. There is a local elementary school, and 17 children attend. The community has good leadership, and the people were warm and friendly. In a discussion with the community leader, Patti was told that the anti-parasite treatment and vitamins had made their children in the community extremely healthy, and it had made a visible difference. We all noticed that difference. She also shared with Patti that during Covid, having a community medicine chest was extremely beneficial.

Each clinic visit is opened with an introduction and prayer. Joseph, our team leader does this in Spanish without a translator. It is quite impressive.

Hennessy took the hearts of several the team members. She was a six-year-old loquacious child who was interested in everything we did. Debbie and Frances gave her and her sister their crosses. She was quite proud of her parents, her mother a teacher at the school and her father is a policeman.

There were several medical conditions that require referrals and further consultations. Dr. Vince saw a woman with orthostatic hypotension secondary to a severe H pylori infection that required a referral to the hospital. He also had a child who most likely had Chagas disease, caused by the bite of the kissing bug.

Dr. Bob saw a three-year-old boy with hyper-pigmented lesions that started when he was three months of age. All of the providers put their heads together and agreed he needed a biopsy. A referral was made so that it could be completed.

We had a father bring three of his children to the clinic today. He was extremely tall, as were his children. He was very caring and attentive to the children and their needs. In our discussion, we discovered that the mother and older daughter could not come because there were preparing a meal for an event at their church. Crosses were sent to the mother and daughter. The father then gave Dr. Joe and Yasmin a blessing.

Jim shared two experiences that were not common in the dental clinic. A six-year-old girl was so terrified they were not able to complete her extractions. She was given antibiotics to decrease the infections in hopes that the extractions could be completed at a later date. Then a man required an extraction that was extremely difficult and took much longer than other extractions. The man had been patient and Dra. Ondina was able to complete the procedure. Jim had such compassion for him that he gave him his cross.

Also noted that Eileen and Debbie were visited in vitamins and deworming by several dogs and chickens. On the way home from the clinic, we were able to enjoy a stop for ice cream, what a treat! Of note, it was raining when we arrived but since then God has blessed us with beautiful clear days.

After dinner and a team meeting, we closed the day with an evening devotion. This was led by Jim. He spoke on a verse in Leviticus about sharing a portion of our harvest with the poor. We joined him in singing a verse from “Be Thou My Vision”. What a wonderful way to end our day.

~Louisa Lackey and Joe Stegman

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