Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 5 Gracias A Dios

Day 5. Gracias A Dios

The end of the week!!!  Today we were in Pastor Juan's community.  It was wonderful to see the children we sponsor and their families.  And since it is a well know destination we managed to get there on time without getting lost.  I failed to mention that yesterday we perfected the San Pedro Sula U turn.  The reason our van was not with Gustavo's van is that some one forgot to put the paint brushes in the vans, so Aurora's van had to go back and get them!  We stopped and asked directions a couple times (hey, you seen a van full of anglos go by?) and when people would nod their heads, on we would go.  Our destination yesterday was way out in the country.  Today we were across town.  A nice change.

Another nice change today was that we were back to full strength with everyone healthy and able to work.    The building team painted a school which pleased all the students who loved having classes moved outside for the day.   Although Terri was supposed to be with the paint crew, she was most obviously not since at lunch there was not a drop of paint on her.  And, this evening there were an awful lot of pictures playing with kids on her laptop.  She tried to tell us that the building crews work hard and play hard.  The medical teams work hard and work hard.

In the clinics we saw over 295 patients.  By Friday we were getting good at this.  The new church made a great venue where we could make a good line of travel from registration to Vitamin A, Worm pill, Hemoglobin, and on to the consultation and finally to the pharmacy.   Sometimes we just function as a pharmacy as some of the people will bring us medical reports from visits to the doctor and prescriptions for what was deemed necessary.  We often have the medications they need.  It is strange to us that we would get a prescription but then not get it filled, but medicine costs money.  One patient today was diagnosed with a bladder infection and had the urinalysis to prove it, but had not taken any of the prescribed medications for a month.  We were both very happy to get that prescription filled! Another elderly woman with diabetes came through the clinic and luckily she only had one infected toe that she might even get to keep as it is merely infected and not necrotic.  We renewed her diabetes medicine and gave her a bag full of bandaging materials and discussed taking good care of herself.  If she runs out of medicine this time Children Without Choices will see that she gets more.  This week over 1100 people were seen, touched and ministered to in one way or another.  Schools and churches were painted, walls built and floors poured.  Tomorrow half of us will take a well deserved weekend in Copan and the rest of us will go home to our families.  We are thankful for families that accept that going to Honduras is a good thing to do.  Although they miss us and perhaps wonder what we are doing here, they let us serve in this way.  Thank goodness for internet, facebook and the ability to keep in touch.   for the team, karen

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 4 Community of La Devis, Choloma

A much healthier start to our day as we got all our ill members back on the road and only left one behind to rest and recoup.  It is important to rest a day rather than go out sick and then not feel better the next day as well.  And we don't always know God's plan.  Yesterday when the housekeeper came in to clean the room she talked to one of our number who had stayed behind that day.  As it turns out, the housekeepers daughter is pregnant and they can't afford prenatal vitamins.  Her lucky day!  That is one medicine we have tons of.   So because we had someone stay back, a new mother gets to have the medicine her baby needs.  If we had all gone out on day 3 who knows if we would have known about the housekeepers family.  It all works out.

Today we saw 234 patients compared to 159 yesterday.  We got off to a very sad start with an elderly woman with diabetes whose toes are black and there is a very large ulcer on her leg.  Having no basin to clean her wounds, we used a gallon zip lock bag and cleaned and soaked her leg and rebandaged.    We talked about seeing a surgeon but she has no desire to have surgery at 86 years of age.   She received a grocery bag full of bandaging materials and pain meds and diabetes meds and antibiotics and lots of prayer. We also saw a lady who was 100!

 The building team painted the Mennonite church today.  At one point a spontaneous worship service broke out with everyone singing and praying.  A very moving occasion.  At lunch time we noticed that Aurora, the lovely woman who feeds us while we are here, always has enough food no matter who comes in to eat.  Not just us anglos, but an unknown number of community helpers.  Aurora could feed 5000 I think.  And have left overs.

Today is like the last day of work this week since tomorrow we will be in Pastor Juan's community and that is like going home.  We will see familiar faces come through the line.  Pastor Juan has been out working with us several days this week.  I think we are all looking forward to Friday and then home or Copan, but so far it has been a good week and many people have been helped.  When people tell you they have pain and you ask them if pain medicine helps them and they say, "yes, but we can't afford it", that is distressing to me.  First off, these people work hard at manual labor, long days and they hurt at the end of the day.  And then they live with that pain because they can't run down to the CVS and get a bottle of Motrin.  So they live with their pain.  When our kids get a cold we give them something out of the medicine cabinet, which is always full of cough syrup, tylenol or whatever.  Here they can't, unless they have been to a mama clinic recently.  We try to load the families up on pain meds and cough syrup and micronutrients and vitamins!  We fill their medicine cabinet as  best we can.

But, maybe the best thing we do is show people that we care about them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 3 Marantha Community

Wednesday  Marantha Community

So, you know what today is? huh? huh? huh?  That's right!!! It's hump day!!! Unfortunately we have about a third of our team down with digestive upsets and they missed the joy of hump day.  For a while we were blaming it on the ice cream we had at yesterday's work site (yes, the ice cream man was a patient and so pleased with our ministrations he brought his ice cream wagon in and treated us all to an ice cream cone).  Neopolitan.  But, there are quite a few of us that ate the ice cream and did fine but who knows?  On the up side, at least today was a day when we had an extra doctor, Dinora's sister in law, and the building crew only had one floor to do at the Mennonite church next door to the school where the clinic was.  There was so much help at the church some of the guys came up and helped in clinics or played with the kids.    Our community today was at the top of a mountain and has no water and no electricity.  It is a very new community that was displaced 15 years ago after Hurricane Mitch.  
One of our patients looked a lot like Joe.  A big, thick hombre who did not understand why he had to stand in line with the women and go through the process.  He just wanted someone to look at his sore shoulder and get him back to work.  At 70 years old he still wanted to work and didn't know why his shoulder had to hurt.  Of course manipulating his shoulder was like palpating a bag of rocks with the arthritis just creaking and crackling all over the place.  But since he was the Honduran version of a stubborn dutchie, we gave him his pain meds and waved him through.  His mustache was not half as luxuriant as Joes though.
Before we left we presented the Pastor of the church with a WAKAWAKA.  I think he will be able to make good use of it since they have lots of sunshine and no electricity.  A WAKAWAKA is a solar powered brick into which you can plug a phone or ipad to charge and it also has a good light that will work for a day on a 4 hour charge.  Right now the makers of wakawaka are helping Syrian refugees by donating one wakawaka for everyone that you buy at their website.  Google it.  Keep us in your prayers that a good nights sleep rejuvenates us all and also pray that we stop dropping like flies.
  Please also pray for Dinoras sister in law who was in a traffic accident on her way home today.  She is uninjured but her car isn't.  Love, karen, official scribe to the March team

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 2 Buenos Aires/Los Flores

Hello friends!  Today we had a medical clinic in the school while the building team put up part of a new wall for the local Mennonite church.  We met a young Mennonite from Oklahoma who is working with  SALT and is teaching english and computers during his time here.   Ken was impressed with how the people he was working with at the building site would talk about their conversions to christianity and shared their experiences so freely and willingly.  He said many were very remarkable and touching.  At the end of the day the building team came back and had a game of soccer that was played with absolute gusto on the part of the children.  Terri was nearly decapitated by a stray ball but survived to tell the tale.
At the medical clinics we saw a great variety of cases.  Yesterday we saw 205 patients, today we saw 208 plus a couple of dozen who came through without cards, or missed the worming line or were separated from their families.  Just a little disorganized but all who came got care eventually.  One child that came to visit with us was a child who was seen last year with serious lung congestion secondary to a heart problem.  He was sent to a hospital last year and did well.  He is still with us and is going to get heart surgery to fix his heart!  The mother of this child found a way to arrange the surgery  on her own.  Never doubt the ability of a mother to find a way to save her child.  We also saw some very elderly patients that are in their 80's and still doing well.  One fellow wanted some pain meds because he is still working and was thrown from his horse and probably cracked a rib.  A very tough old hombre.
One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that on the way home we saw a pig riding a motorcycle.  We have 3 witnesses to this.  No agreement on whether it was alive or dead but he was bungy corded in.  No helmet.  We suspect that it may have had a dinner date.  I didn't mention it yesterday because I didn't think Bob would believe us, but he has a collection of pictures of pigs  riding motorcycles.   Who knew?
Tomorrow we go to Marantha, Santiago, a small village with no water or electricity.  Please pray that we are helpful to them and that we have a good day there and do some good.   love, karen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day one. Community Apiquilares

We are off to a good start. Our clinics were set up outside in the shade of the trees.  We saw 205 patients and it was a very healthy community. Lots of chubby babies and also some very aged people (80's and 90's!)who are still getting around very well.  Children Without Choices have 4 new cases to address and we got our system worked out so tomorrow may go a little smoother .  While the med team was seeing patients, the building team was a little ways down the road painting the school.  One of the ladies of the community told us that the school had not been painted for a long time because there was no money to buy paint.  I can also imagine painting a school is not high on your list of things to do when you have been at hard labor in the fields all day.  We have before and after pictures so you will be able to see what a good job they did.  Terri even managed to get as much paint on the wall as she did on herself.  There are also some inventive uses of ladders by Ken. Pastor Juan also worked with us today. He is a very good painter since you could not tell by his clothes that he had been painting. Just saying Terri.  We will post some pictures.  Our prayer partners are doing a great job as we are all doing pretty well.  Some headaches and bug bites but no major illnesses.  We even managed to keep track of everyone and not leave anyone behind!  The weather has also cooperated with clear skies, cool breezes and not too hot.  The team is doing well and, as usual, Aurora is feeding us very well.   Thank you all for your prayers, for the team, karen

Sunday, March 16, 2014


i can't believe i forgot to tell you about our visit to the orphange.  After lunch we took some gifts and food to the orphanage.  There were only 36 kids there this time.  We gave them hugs and affection in addition to coloring books, crayons, sandwiches and juice and a beany baby for each child.  It is humbling to see how much they love being hugged and touched and just paid attention too.  We take all that for granted.  We are loved and touched and valued by our friends and our families all the time.  To sit with a child that just wants to be valued for a little while is humbling.   We still have a  couple bags of stuff to take over there before we leave.  Since I was here last they have a beautiful new playground built for the kids to play on.  We have some pictures of a certain big kid named Ken swinging away.  love, karen the forgetful

wow, what a busy day!  We started this morning  at Dinora's church.  Great service and Ken and Rolando did a great job with the sermon.  Our only problem was after the service we all climbed in the vans to go to Power Chicken and left Ken and Barb behind!  never missed them.  I got a text from Barb informing us that we had abandoned them at church so Aurora and I went back for them.  After lunch we went back to the hotel for a rest before setting out for Gracias A Deos (Pastor Juan's church).  We had a great service there as they dedicated the new church which is beautiful.  You could fit 6 of the old churches in it.  They are still working on the Sunday school classes and clinic.  There was a wonderful procession of little girls and boys all dressed up in their Sunday best holding ribbons that Ken cut as they went down the center aisle.  At the front was a big poster dedicated to Bob.  There was quite a lot of mention of Bob during the dedication so i guess we can't say Bob who anymore.  I have no idea why my keyboard has gone to italics.  So, after the service and another great job by Ken and Rolando we got to visit a little and then the whole community lost its electric and we were plunged into darkness!  I guess that is one way not to let the service go too long.  But Steve had brought light sticks for the kids and they came in very handy.  We just got back and now having dinner!  Tomorrow we start our clinics.  love from us all, karen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Travel day Saturday

Hello friends!
  We arrived safely with all our bags just a little late. Actually we are still waiting on our California and New York members who are due in tonight.  We sat on the runway in Newark for about 45 minutes waiting to take off but once we were in the air it was a very smooth flight and we were only a  little late on arrival.  It was a pleasure to see Dinora, Aurora, Gustavo, Eddie, Mary and Hector meet us at the airport.  It was also nice to have WARM weather for once.  NO SNOW.  I was sure there would be a freak snowstorm here when I arrived as snow seems to follow me everywhere.  After a lunch of mennonite chicken, (I have no idea why they call it that) we got to work sorting the medicines into our day bags and every day bags.  Terri has declared this the best team ever.  Just saying.  Of course we miss Bob and the others who couldn't make but I am sure that by the end of the week we will be saying "Bob who?".    Right now having a little down time prior to dinner.  Tomorrow we will have church at Dinora's church and also Pastor Juan's.  In the afternoon it will be Power Chicken and a trip to the orphanage.  Thank you for all your prayers, love, karen

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Excited for Trip #27 and Warm Weather...and the "year of Ken"!

Team #27 is ready to go in less than 48 hours (well almost ready...some last minute bag shuffling yet to do and reweighing to that magic 50lbs.).  We are going by God has reworked the members of this team...4 cancellations and 2 new members in the last weeks.  We are saddened that our faithful leader for this March trip is not feeling quite up to par and has decided to stay back this time....everyone will miss you lots, Bob!  We will take lots of pictures..trying the art of photobombing:-)  We will miss others too who have concerns for health of family members...we will plan on you for next year!  We know God has planned this team and is preparing the way for us.  We ask for special prayers for Dinora as she works hard to get communities and supplies ready for us.  And Pastor Ken is experiencing Honduras with us for the first time!  Please pray for his day of sermons this Sunday March the morning at Iglesia Evangelica Menonita Central (Central Honduran Mennonite Church in San Pedro Sula) and then preaching in the evening again at Pastor Juan's church, Iglesia Evangelica del Principe de Paz.  Thanks in advance for praying for our week ahead, for safety and God to be glorified in all we do. 
Team members:  Barb Rice, Terri Nyce, Karen Detweiler, Ken Burkholder, Phyllis Nyce, Steve Leatherman, Rolando Zelaya, Larry Rice, Beverly Unruh, Sharon and Olivia Ambrose, Laverne and Joyce Geissinger, and Diana Kress.