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Serving El Obo

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Today the Harrisonburg team visited our fourth community, and we were greeted with a smaller but enthusiastic crowd from the town of El Obo. Last night, there were torrential rains in the area, which may have impacted the turnout. Or perhaps El Obo's health care needs are slightly different than the previous rural communities we visited.

This picturesque village has participated in the Friends of Barnabas Community Health Development Program for over four years. Our faithful team member, Gary, noted that he worked with FOB in this town back in 2018. My hope is that the long-term partnership with FOB has strengthened this community and set their leaders up for success. For today, every man, woman, and child that came to the clinic received the attention and care they need and deserve.

The reality is that many challenges continue for communities like El Obo in rural Honduras. Preventative or acute health care visits can be very expensive, and cost is a significant barrier to getting the prescription medicines often needed to treat acute or chronic conditions. For example, I spoke with one 40-year-old gentleman who commented that his teeth are in good shape, but he has learned that professional teeth cleanings are important. I nodded and responded that cleanings are a good idea. I asked if he has access to a local dental clinic. "Yes, I do but it's way too expensive." Additionally, the medical team noticed that during consultations some families seek to stock up on over-the-counter medications to keep on hand. I cannot help but imagine that the mothers and fathers must make the hard choice to buy food or medicines when their child gets sick. The Wellness Bags distributed this week with over-the-counter meds and toothpaste and brushes are a blessing!

It's also been a blessing to get to know our U.S and Honduran team members. Two of our U.S. volunteers, Sue and Danielle, share a love for reading and reciting poetry. One poem they shared this week stood out to me. It reminds me that all of us have a shared humanity. Through suffering or great joy, we are all beautiful in God's eyes.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees.

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Wild Geese

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