For all of the weather reports that promised 80 degrees and rain, on the ground in Honduras we can report cool temperatures and relatively clear skies! Feels like home except that we have traveled to another world.
We made it up (and down) the mountain and clapped for Maestro Marco Tulio our driver with each successful journey. Every bump and hairpin turn was worth it, partly because all six tires stayed on the narrow, rutted, dirt roads at all times. Primarily, the purpose for our whole journey was revealed with the welcome we received from the community of San Jose de la Cuesta. The schoolchildren performed the Honduran national anthem and several girls led prayers in their navy blue and white uniforms. After the cameras stopped clicking, we set up the clinics and got to work.
The first patient seen in the medical clinic was an 82-year-old woman named Juana. As we helped her up to leave the medical station, she asked if she could offer a prayer at the end of her visit. In her prayer, she very carefully remembered the team, the weather, the roads, the family members left behind in the US and every community that we will visit this week.
For many of us it was the initial opportunity to understand why we had traveled thousands of miles and up really bumpy roads (with some of the most idyllic scenery possible) to meet and serve strangers in a foreign land. Every mile was worth it. Perhaps mostly for the opportunity to realize how small this world really is. Children are children and families are families no matter where you land. Residents of this mountain community live under hugely different circumstances than those with which we are familiar, but the hospitality was absolutely recognizable and the sweetness of the little hugs was priceless and somehow familiar.
It is tough to meet people who live with so few resources and not want to "fix" their situation. Nury and Patti reminded us that we are here to help with the healthcare of people who otherwise have none. We can provide respect, hope, and love to people in need. It is difficult to pry little feet out of outgrown shoes and realize intensely the painful limitations of a family's resources in such a basic way. It is hard to hear that a bright, beautiful child's education will be over by the sixth grade if not before and see the huge potential that their future will probably not hold.
However, it is so important to see that each team member has taken the time to be in Honduras for the purpose of helping with what we can do -- sending local ripples out in a faraway place and making an impact on a few lives to make things a little bit better for now and hopefully way better in the long run. Friends of Barnabas is a successful organization because we are making an impact that we and others can build upon.
A wonderful thing about this team is how loving and supportive everyone is of each other. Everyone is a pleasure to sit next to (when you have to switch seats at every meal) or on the bus, and the genuine enthusiasm for our purpose here is palpable. The incredible group of professionals from the medical field and otherwise are a joy to be with and inspiring from whom to learn.
At our Sunday morning service members of the team were given crosses to give to a person who touches their hearts in a special way. Dr. Carlo gave away his cross today. He was treating a thirteen year old girl who suffered from severe headaches. As he talked with her he found that she was being subjected to severe bullying at school. Dr. Carlo described her situation as one that is not uncommon in our own country. He gave her his cross to give her strength and support as she deals with this challenge.
We look forward to tomorrow and appreciate all prayers for safe travels.