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The Hampton Roads Teams Serves Agua Blanquita

Monday, February 14th, 2022

Today we traveled to Agua Blanquita for our first day of clinic. The drive was beautiful, and after setting up we got to work seeing patients. I got the chance to learn the health needs of many families from the area, but I was particularly struck by the limited health resources in the area. One patient came with a headache but on further questioning, it came out that she was recently diagnosed with diabetes. To get diagnosed and receive treatment, she had to travel by bus on a bumpy ride 45 minutes to the nearest health care center. I asked her when her next follow up would be with the physician managing her diabetes and she was confused - there was no “follow-up”. I asked her what her blood sugars had been recently, and she couldn’t tell me - as she didn’t own a glucometer, a device that costs 25 dollars in the US. I asked around and learned that typically, there is a community health center where patients can get their glucose checked. The nearest one to this patient? That same health center 45 minutes away by bus. I checked her blood glucose which was over twice what it would be if her diabetes was optimized in the US. It was one of many personal reminders to me that despite the problems with the healthcare system in the US, it is much more developed than here and so many other parts of the world.

One of our team members, Nurse Maggie, saw a young girl who had a lump in her earlobe. After some additional detective work, she determined the girl had the back of an earring stuck in her earlobe. They sent the patient to Dr. Camil who realized that anything that wasn’t done for the patient today, was unlikely to be done for years, if ever. She made an incision through the skin but found that the patient’s immune system had encapsulated the foreign body. Eventually, with the assistance of a handsome surgical assist, the foreign body was extracted. The patient herself was perfectly behaved in that she stayed completely still and didn’t complain about anything - no small feat for a 7-year-old. It was again an example of doing anything we could while we are here for the people of Honduras.

At our nightly debrief, Pastor Peggy shared how working with the children of Honduras is her favorite part of coming here. Although we are all wearing masks, she was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to have fun with the children of Honduras. One boy that she connected with earlier today wandered near Peggy at lunch, so she gave him an affectionate pat on the head. The boy, without looking and presumably thinking it was his mom, affectionately patted Pastor Peggy back on the belly.

Pastor Peggy also lead us in a devotional tonight about trusting in God. She started by sharing her Enneagram number and sharing that fear is something that can drive her to action unless it is fear of the unknown which is more challenging for her. Fear related to COVID and potentially getting stuck in Honduras was a real consideration for her in deciding to return to Honduras at this time. However, she was reminded that despite great unknown in life, Jesus is a great guiding ‘known’ that helped her to commit to coming. We are excited to see the fruit of that step-in faith this week.

~Dr. Chase

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