We visited the Piletas community today, an area of 570 residents. There is a kindergarten and an elementary school, but the community has no electricity or doctors. 176 patients were seen in the general medical clinic today, 135 people received vitamins, and 28 dental extractions were performed. As with every day, we also performed adult and pediatric eye screenings and administered deworming and fluoride treatments to many children.
Height and weight are measured for every child age 12 years and younger at the clinic. We measure the head circumference for infants and toddlers through age five. These records are extremely important indicators of health in these young children and are graphed on growth charts at each Friends of Barnabas mission team visit every six months so that their progress can be monitored.
We were once again set up at a school for the medical clinic. Two families graciously allowed us to use their homes located on either side of the school for our dental and vision clinics. Because darkness is needed for operating the eye testing machines, we performed these screenings in a family’s humble living room. We were so grateful for their willingness to move their personal items out of the space to make room for our equipment. An interesting note about this home is that the family ran a small store out of one room.
There were some good-natured laughs about our dental clinic today. Our two dentists and their assistants set up on the porch of a family home with laundry drying on the clothesline, chickens running around in the yard and a very large mother pig sleeping inside an open shelter. It was nothing short of amazing to see the dental team work so efficiently in this unconventional setup, and they were able to keep conditions sterile. Hats off to them!
Speaking of the dental clinic, Chuck and our two Daves enjoyed an impromptu soccer game with a little girl under the trees just off this porch, and one of the family pigs was seen in the mix. Dave Wagner was particularly touched by this girl, who seemed especially cheerful despite the poor living conditions. She was truly the light of Christ to him in those moments.
In medical clinic today, Julie used the Snap Chat app on her phone to help engage children and distract them from their fears during physical assessments. That’s just one example of how our team has learned to be resourceful in these past three days.
Ellen gave her cross away today to the mother of the last family that visited the clinic today. The lady was very upset and despondent because her 13-year-old daughter had eloped over the weekend. Ellen’s heart went out to this mother and she reminded her that despite our best efforts at raising our children, they sometimes make choices that cause us to grieve and worry because we love them so much. Ellen gave her the cross as a sign of God’s love. The mother accepted it and held on to it tightly – a reminder to each of us that sometimes all we can do is “hold on to the cross” and draw strength from it.
For our nightly devotion, Dave shared a lesson based on the examples of Jesus’ healing recorded in Mark 5. He reminded us that we all find ourselves in situations that can only be remedied through the touch of God. Dave also encouraged us to stay close to God and rely on Him as we seek to be instruments of His healing, transformation and restoration for the rest of this week.
At our team debrief tonight, we discussed how many of the health problems we see are an unfortunate combination of both poverty and deeply held cultural traditions that can take generations to change. That’s why Friends of Barnabas places such a strong emphasis on education all throughout the year with the combined efforts of Foundation staff in Honduras and the leaders in each community.
A special note from the team: our internet has been down since an intense storm passed through on Saturday night. We are all fine and feeling amazingly blessed by the work we are doing and the families we are seeing each day. We are able to use mobile hot spots sparingly to get the journal posted, and hope to get our service restored soon. If you expected to hear from loved ones on this trip and haven’t, that is why. Thank you for your continued prayers for us and the people we are serving. They are very much appreciated.