Today we visited the mountain village of Calera. Shortly after we arrived, Shaun was greeted by an elderly lady wearing all white with a red sash; she shook his hand and smiled at him before speaking a phrase to him in Spanish. When Shaun asked Nury to translate what was spoken to him, the answer he received was “God bless you all for coming today.” The day was hot and the patient lines were long, but ultimately over 200 villagers were evaluated and treated in our clinics today.
In Dr. Larry Lewkow’s devotion tonight, he reviewed the Hebrew Phrase “Tikkun Olam.” The phrase describes a concept in Judaism focused on repairing the world with a strong emphasis on human action. Along with his devotion, Larry told the story of a large family he met in the General Clinic today. One child within this family came to Larry with complaints of abdominal pain. After multiple rounds of questioning, Larry became aware of the fact that this child, and other members of the family, had not been having much to eat throughout each day. With this discovery, Larry, with the permission of some of our FOB staff, donated the remainder of the fortified rice (rice that contains vegetables, vitamins, and more) that we had available with us to this family. This same family will receive additional supplies of fortified food this coming Monday via delivery by their community leader.
On our drive home, the team stopped to get ice cream at a local shop in Peña Blanca. Sitting outside the shop was a woman with pre-existing and debilitating health conditions. The woman was wearing a sign around her neck and appeared in need of aid. In a selfless act of kindness, Linda, Martha, and Carmen of the Sus Manos Team all bought food for this woman before we departed back to the Alfredo House.
Peggy later asked us to choose six words to describe the day. Each team member took a turn sharing their description of their experiences during our time at the village of Calera, and the responses (some longer than six words) included: “Holy Spirit was with us today,” “Some need more than the medicines available,” “Couldn’t do this without each other,” “Many hungry people got food today,” and “We were Jesus’ hands and feet.”
The evening activities came to a close with a presentation on the Friends of Barnabas organization by our Honduran Director, Nury. She reviewed statistics of the country itself, such as Honduras having a population of 8.1 million with a poverty rate of 63% (for sake of comparison, the state of Virginia alone has a population of 8.3 million with a poverty rate of 12%). She also noted an expansion of the number of communities being seen through the Community Health Development Program within this past year. While providing quality healthcare to these villages is indeed a goal of our mission trips, I’d mentioned in the last entry that this is not the only thing that the organization strives to achieve. Ultimately, the organization hopes to promote sustainability in each village. To achieve this, they have taken measures through the Early Childhood Development Program to promote early education initiatives with school teachers in the village, teaching agricultural techniques to community leaders in the Community Health Development Program, and improving the quality of care provided in the Extended Care Program through quality improvement projects. By empowering these village communities, we’ve done what we set out to do. We’ve made the world a better place… one child at a time.