Today's journey led us to the village of Cerro Azul, Taulabe', which is within the department of Comayagua. It lies in the southwestern area of Parque Nacional Cerro Azul Meambar and is bordered by stairs of waterfalls. There are two suspension bridges that tie the east and west banks of the village together. Cerro Azul was founded in 1972.
There are currently 530 residents, so this was our largest community this week. It is also the most tropical that we have visited. Their closest healthcare center is 25 km away and there exists a high rate of teen pregnancy. They primarily grow coffee, bananas, citrus, yucca and malanga (taro) as their agricultural staples. Importantly, Cerro Azul is a focus community in the Early Childhood Development Program. Here, we specifically screen children ages 0-5 years old for issues so that we can provide early intervention.
Margaret had the pleasure of assessing a man who was 97 years old today and Kristy assisted two beautiful octogenarians who were sisters. We performed 70 extractions and saw 236 patients!
These beautiful people have provided us with a significant amount of love and perspective. I realized today as I watched siblings take care of other siblings during long wait times that these children are, for better or for worse, not affected by cell phone adiction. They run and laugh and color and interact with one another. Their patience is endless. They walk for miles to school and miles for water.
We saw three lucky people who had horses to assist with transportation, but no cars. In these smaller villages they often don’t have access to high school...for them, education ends at age 11. A woman in El Pilón, where we visited earlier in the week, made gorgeous straw hats. One hat takes her TWO DAYS to complete and yet she sells them for a mere 50 Limpera ($2.10) a piece.
If you are reading this, you are fortunate enough to have electricity. Fortunate enough to have the means for an electronic device. Fortunate enough to be able to pay for internet or phone service. How humbling to witness how much they go without...and a reminder of how much we have to give.