At this point in the week, the Harrisonburg FOB team has a well-established routine. We get up, make a couple gallons of coffee disappear, file onto the bus, bounce and sway for an hour or two, set up our respective clinics without having to ask where anything is, and begin seeing patients. At that point, the routine nature of our morning changes to something else. There is nothing routine about seeing 200 patients in a day, all of whom are individual people with individual stories, lives, and medical issues. Treating a child who is paralyzed from the waist down who uses a homemade wheelchair to get around never gets routine. Seeing Paul prescribe and fit glasses to an old man who gave up a day of work to come get them (a very big deal when there is no such thing as sick leave) can’t possibly become monotonous; the old man was ecstatic to be able to see a flower outside the door only a few feet away that he hadn’t been able to see before.
Thinking about routine in a larger sense, today we got a small glimpse into one of the routines that keep FOB’s mission moving forward over the long-term. Once the clinics were set up and running smoothly, a couple FOB staff and a community leader from the village we were in set off in a pickup truck for a nearby village. Lidia explained to me—side note: Lidia spends all day every day explaining things to me, and I’m very grateful for her patience—anyway, she told me they were heading to the other village because word had reached them that the village may be a candidate for FOB to send clinical teams. The staff were going there to talk with community leaders, survey the state of the village regarding its water quality, electrical infrastructure, general health, access to healthcare, and several other key factors. If there is a need, willingness from the villagers, and no similar nonprofit already assisting the village, FOB may move forward with beginning a partnership.
After writing in yesterday’s journal about a village graduating from the program, I thought it was fitting that today, only hours later, we witnessed the very early stages of reaching out to another community in need. It was a perfect illustration that there is no shortage of need for medical missions in this part of Honduras, and that after a village graduates from the program the FOB staff doesn't waste any time before finding new people to help.