The Los Robles Team from California flew to Honduras on Saturday. After a great night sleep at the hotel and breakfast, we got on the bus and headed to our destination. When we got here we were shown our rooms and the layout of the house....what a beautiful facility!
We had a meeting and went over some house rules and then were told what we had to get done that day to prepare for the week. I was put in charge of the giveaway bags. We packed up cloth diapers, shoes, socks, and hats. I also brought stickers and bubbles to play with the kids. Others were split off into preparing baking soda and salt (toothpaste) and beans as others were packing up medicines like Tums, Tylenol and vitamins.
If I could take the cook home with me I would!! She cooked us a wonderful lunch and we all ate until we were stuffed! We also went to the market to try some new foods and that was a fun adventure! While we were in the store it just started pouring, I wish we got more rain in California.
We went out for a delicious dinner and I tried what translates into English as “The Dirty Chicken.”
We had a nice evening playing cards and laughing so hard! The power went out so I had to take a very cold shower...brrr!
We will get up bright and early in the morning and head out to our first town....I cannot wait!
May you be blessed and find a way to bless someone else!
Monday, October 14, 2019
After breakfast, our eager group loaded onto the big white Barnabas bus. Our bus driver, Raul, led the way with a joyful grin as we bounced along on a bumpy and winding road to our destination. Our first stop was a village called Agua Zarca. We were greeted by a long line of smiling faces and little waving hands, all of whom had been waiting to see us since early that morning. At the back of the bus, there was a crowd of men and young boys with open arms ready to help carry in boxes of medications and supplies. The community here had already embraced us.
We learned that this particular village has been followed and treated by Friends of Barnabas for almost 4 years. A few of our teammates had recalled coming here in the years prior and remember Agua Zarca formerly being in a much poorer state of health. The first time you visit a village, their state of health can be devastating to see. Now, there was proof that the time taken in recent years to educate people about their health had paid off. The overall health and hygiene of the community had noticeably increased. They were applying the knowledge they had gained and sharing it.
Caring for people here is different in many ways from the U.S. Time is not a limiting factor in our consults and care of patients here. The acts of listening, empathizing, and teaching should not be rushed. There are many opportunities for treatment and education, but beyond that, hugs and praying together has a truly powerful impact on this community. Since they don’t have the same access to pharmacies and drug stores, sometimes your best tool is sharing information. Some things are as simple as making sure you have ventilation when cooking, brushing your teeth day twice daily, avoiding standing water, drying out your shoes overnight and how to make rehydration solution (“Homemade Gatorade”). Our goal here is to serve the mountain villages so their health and quality of life are improved. We hope to give them gifts of knowledge that they can share with their families and neighbors long after we pack up our bus and return home.
I have enjoyed this trip more than I ever imagined I would. Initially, I thought that I was coming to help them, but the families in these villages have had a profound impact on me. I am constantly humbled by them. The people living in these mountain towns lack basic needs, yet are some of the happiest and kindest souls I have ever met. I have never seen people so grateful for Tylenol, Tums or Muscle Cream. I am reminded that back at home, we have it really great. Honduras has ignited a little fire in my heart. My fuel is emotionally connecting with my patients and to always be kind.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Today we visited Agua Blancquita, and we were greeted by those in the community with wide open arms. Men, young and old, carry our supplies to and from the bus. We do not carry a thing, and many of them ask if there is any more for them to help with. As you sit across the table from a family, you look at each one and ask how they are feeling. You go through each member asking them questions and educating. Most medical concerns include headache, muscle cramps, cough, skin irritation, and congestion. We provide them with information and treatments to help with these medical complaints.
Today, a 10-year-old girl received her first inhaler for asthma. She has been suffering from asthma for over 8 years. A 75-year-old man with a complaint of headache, had his blood pressure taken and was found to have hypertension. He received his first reference to Doctora Moncada, Friends of Barnabas’ staff physician. An 8-year-old girl came to clinic underweight and was later on holding her ill younger brother, protecting and comforting him. Today was her birthday. A 17-year-old mother brought in her infant for malnourishment and respiratory distress. What was initially a clinic visit, became a trip to the closest emergency room. An opportunity for us to not only provide medical attention, but to spiritually connect with these people in the village as we prayed over this mother and child.
With this clinic, we are able to provide education on the importance of drinking clean water, skin protection, diet changes, and much more. This type of education may seem so simple, but it is information that can change the headache or stomach pain one has been dealing with for months, even years. Information we may take for granted is appreciated in these communities. We have seen a million smiles as we arrive to each of the villages. We have seen happy tears from those receiving their first pair of reading glasses. We have received hugs, and gifts, and prayers.
We finished early, but there was one station left with a patient needing continued treatment. Krystal and Dr Carlo evaluate an 8 month-old; she looks sick. A breathing treatment is in progress. He’s breathing fast and labored. Reviewing his developmental history, he hasn’t reached milestones he should have. He’s below the 3rd percentile for weight. Dr. Ed and other nurses gather around the child; we all know he needs a hospital. Doctora Moncada is notified, and she agrees, we need to arrange transport to the nearest hospital.
Krystal turns to mom and explains what is needed, and mom bursts into tears and clutches her son. The mom is 17, and has 2 year-old at home. She’s feeling overwhelmed, and we feel her emotion. We huddle up around her, as Lidia leads a prayer for mother and child, right before a car is summoned to send her down the mountain to the hospital.
I am beyond thankful to be a part of this team. Each person here has something that has tremendously contributed to this experience. I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say the FOBF staff and people of Honduras have graciously accepted, welcomed, and loved us, and we are so grateful.