Today was a beautiful day in Corinto, a small village located, as Art put it, “Pretty close to nowhere.” The drive from Pena Blanca to Corinto was stunning and sometimes harrowing as we bounced along roads cut into mountainsides with several-hundred-foot drops off the downhill side. We saw patients all morning and part of the afternoon, with lots of medications prescribed, hospital referrals made, eyeglasses fitted, and teeth extracted. Liz, Maggie, and I had the enjoyable job of entertaining children while their families waited in line to be seen in the clinic. We got some semi-successful Spanish lessons, and used stickers, bubbles, and fingernail polish to distract upset children from their dental procedures.
Stan Holland has pointed out several times the difference in attitudes toward medical care between Hondurans and Americans. We expect short wait times, even in the emergency room. We expect a pill that will take away ALL our pain, RIGHT NOW. We have the luxury of “shopping” for doctors or hospitals. We also know that if we feel some facet of our medical care wasn’t up to our towering standards that we can sue, and often do.
Stan sees the families walking miles to our clinics with as many as 8 children, standing in line, in the sun, possibly for hours, waiting to be given an unpleasant-tasting deworming tablet, get a check-up, and maybe have a tooth pulled. There is nothing “satisfying” about the medical experience for these families from the American point of view. From their point of view, however, they are having real needs met in a real way. It’s always valuable to view things from someone else’s point of view, and being part of a Friends of Barnabas team in Honduras is a great way to gain that insight.