The Full Cycle of a Community's Experience

Tuesday, November 7th 2017

Today the Dinwiddie Team went out to visit our second village, “Plan de Encima.” This village was significantly more remote than “El Obo,” the village we visited yesterday. The drive to “Plan de Encima” alone was absolutely breathtaking. This village was founded in 1940 and has a population of about 230 people, including 60 families and 60 houses. All of the houses have old latrines on the outside of the house. There is a kindergarten with about 27 students and an elementary school with about 52 students. There is no high school and no health center in “Plan de Encima,” making our work all the more critical.

Carlos Muñoz, Shirley Woodlief, Michelle Willis, Sharon Chandler, and Yolanda Mohammed worked in the main clinic today which saw 191 patients. Existing team members were thrilled to recognize some of the patients from previous visits. It was wonderful to see that good habits are being practiced and taught to the community. Team member and interpreter Carla Torres worked with Courtney Harrison in the main clinic today and they couldn’t take their eyes off the newborn children they examined.

McKinsey Pyle worked with Jay Harrison and Dr. Arita in the dental clinic. The dental clinic performed 35 extractions, an unusually high number for this village.

At the vitamin clinic Thomas Green handed out vitamins for 149 patients. Thomas’ wife, Francene Green, worked the fluoride station and provided fluoride for 38 patients. However, where Francene truly excelled was painting the nails of many little girls that came to her station. All of those kids left her booth with some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen.

The eye clinic, ran by Marco and Will Hilton received 52 patients today.

After lunch the first-time team members were lead on a house visit in order to gain valuable insight into the life of a person living in “Plan de Encima.” Carla Torres, Courtney Harrison, Sharon Chandler, Will Hilton, Jason Willis, McKinsey Pyle, Thomas Green, Francene Green, and myself, Alex Wolf, all walked down the mountain side to visit the home of a young mother living alone with her month-old child. The child had been born in the dwelling with only a neighbor present to help oversee the delivery. The experience was eye-opening and touched my spirit greatly. It was an experience I will not soon forget.

The overall outcome of the day was simply wonderful. It was very encouraging to see that the efforts of the Friends of Barnabas Foundation are long-lasting and truly making a difference in the lives of the people of “Plan de Encima.”

Wednesday, November 8th 2017

Today, we worked in a community called Planes del Picacho, Santa Cruz de Yojoa. While Friends of Barnabas has made the tough decision to no longer set up clinics in this community next year, the people from the community will be invited to a neighboring partner community for clinic days in 2018.

This community has a current population of 400 inhabitants living in 90 houses. 60 of these houses have latrines outside their homes, and 30 do not. They do not have any water projects so they must bring water from 3 springs that exist in within the community. This community has a kindergarten and elementary school with 42 students. The most common health concerns in this community are respiratory related, skin related, and Dengue. This community doesn’t have a health center, and the nearest one is located 20km away in Santa Cruz de Yojoa.

This week, we have seen communities at different stages of the FOB program, some being served for the first time, others for the last. The Dinwiddie Team has been in a unique position to see the full cycle of a community’s experience.

Beverly Smith, in charge of dispensing medicine in the general clinic, made sure to accommodate everyone she could today. The general clinic received 192 patients today. Shirley Woodlief, Dr. Reddy, and Carlos Muños cared for a young child with a lung infection. Yolanda Mohammed and Sharon Chandler diagnosed another young child with a very large heart murmur. The child also has a slightly misshaped chest which only exacerbated his murmur. Yolanda pleaded with the child’s mother and urged her to take him to the hospital to ensure this problem would be addressed and his life saved. FOB provided the mother with a referral and we all prayed that he would get healthy. Also working in the general clinic was Michelle Millis, Carla Torres and Courtney Harrison. One of the patients they saw was suffering from really high blood sugar levels. They explained to him the importance of monitoring his blood sugar and educated him in things he could do to keep it at a healthy level.

The dental clinic saw 19 patients today under the guidance of Dr. Arita. Jay Harrison and McKinsey Pyle assisted him again today while he performed 24 tooth extractions. They had one child that required a single extraction but was too scared to be worked on. Without even thinking, his mother laid down and held him tight in front of her so that Dr. Arita could help him. She knew the importance of receiving this procedure and showed incredible resolve and strength in the face of her child’s fear.

Francene Green switched stations today. She took over my spot in the growth and development station to assist Taylor Collins and Maydeline in the measuring and charting of the young children. I, Alex Wolf, took over her old position in the fluoride station and administered fluoride to 26 patients. I was astonished to see first-hand the level of deterioration in the kids’ mouths. I realized how lucky we are to have proper dental care so readily available to us in the United States.

Over in the eye clinic, Will Hilton and Jason Millis handed out glasses to 28 different patients under the supervision of FOB staff member Marco Sagastume. Will noticed that they handed out an unusual number of sunglasses and realized that the patients needed them for working in the fields.

In the deworming station, Thomas Green handed out deworming medicine to 94 people. By the end of the day we had handed out 12 referrals to the national health system and enrolled 1 patient in the Extended Care Program. It was an incredibly moving day seeing so many people in need of help. After all, the main goal of The Friends of Barnabas Foundation is improve the lives of impoverished children in Honduras by providing high quality sustainable health care and enabling communities to become self-sufficient through health related training and education. I believe with all my heart that we made great strides toward achieving that goal today.

-Alex Wolf

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