Posts tagged ‘Medical’
In less than a week, we will be on our way to Honduras. For the past several months we have been collecting school supplies, footwear and medical supplies. I have certainly learned the “art of packing” and remove any excess packing materials, pack in lightweight canvas bags and fill each one to exactly 50 lbs. (our heavy stuff goes in the carry-ons!) We are allowed one checked bag for free but pay the additional fee ($50.00 each) to bring 2 extras…far cheaper than sending by mail, and generally, reliable.
Part of the packing process is assessing which items are the greatest priority. Certainly medical supplies comes to the top of the list and we will be carrying medicine and equipment. However, one item we are unable to take and is greatly needed is oxygen. I just read a report that Mario Catarino Rivas, a large public hospital in San Pedro Sula is currently without oxygen. Not only elective surgeries, but emergency surgeries are cancelled. The issue is a supply problem… the hospital is in debt to its only supplier. This just adds another element to the long list of problems with the healthcare system… chronic shortage of medicine, equipment and supplies, along with striking doctors.
Hopefully, we’ll stay healthy during our trip and fortunately, we have the means to receive private care. We’re certainly in the minority for this privilege.
Esperanza would like to express their appreciation to Lori Cordova, RN and the entire team (48 volunteers) of The Friends of Barnabas Foundation who are currently screening/treating patients in San Pedro Sula, Honduras this week. Two of our ongoing patients, and their parents have left their homes in Flores and Comayagua and are scheduled to be seen by this cardiac team. Five year old Adriana will receive a heart catheterization in the next couple of days. The team will also perform an echo cardiogram on one year old Jose (pictured above) who was previously seen by FOBF, and it was determined that he would need to travel to the United States to receive a pacemaker. Once we receive the report, we will begin the process of contacting a previous benefactor and coordinating with the doctors and hospital who are able to provide his care. Our best wishes to this extraordinary group and all their patients who are receiving this essential medical intervention.
This summer Noel (10) and Astrid (7) are here in the Boston area to receive continued medical check-ups (cardiac and orthopedic) and to spend their summer vacation with us. Both children attend a bilingual school in Honduras which operates on the American school calendar. The pubic schools in Honduras are open from February to November.
Their school curriculum is a rigorous one and they have endured a great deal of physical and emotional pain with their medical issues. So that makes summer time especially sweet and it’s always a wonder to experience it through the eyes of a child.
This summer Noel and Astrid have spent a great deal of time on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. This has been their favorite spot where they are showered with love from our family and have met many new friends. Their days are filled with activities: swimming, boating, fishing, jet skiing and tubing. We often wonder how these experiences will translate when they are describing it back home to their families and friends…they are “foreign concepts” only to be imagined.
The children have certainly enriched our lives and many others who they have met. We can only hope the summer has offered their bodies a chance to relax and their minds to have been enlightened, and hopefully this will help give them the inspiration when they return back home to Flores where they will once again be working hard at school and home.
It’s official…their tickets are booked…Noel (10) and Astrid (7) will be returning to Concord, MA on June 14th and spending their summer vacation in the States. Special thanks to Charlie and Nancy Morrison for providing Astrid’s transportation so that she will have the opportunity for follow- up medical care at Shriners Hospital in Springfield. And thanks to many of you who have befriended them over the years and continue to be actively involved. Your relationships are so valuable, and are truly shaping their lives in a positive way.
People often ask why we keep going back to Honduras, especially with how dangerous it has become. This letter from Iris Maria is one of the many examples of how rewarding our work can be. Only part of Emily getting to hear the letter for the first time was caught on video. However, Laura Sierra who is reading the letter, was nice enough to translate the whole thing which you can read below.
This is for someone very special who has stayed recorded in my mind and in my heart and a person that I will never forget until the day that I depart this earth.
Iris maria Mendoza
Check out the pictures from Esperanza – Hope For The Children, Inc.’s trip to Honduras! Click Here
I spoke with Emily and Tom last night, and got to hear how extremely busy they have been since going down to Honduras. Noel, Stefany, Astrid, Chippy, and Daniella have all spent a few nights sleeping over, and Emily and Tom are getting to experience first hand many of the challenges Honduran kids and their parents face when it comes to school work. For example, Noel had a homework assignment where he had to cut out an image that was an example of “strength.” How do you do this when you don’t have a magazine or newspaper to use? Also, they were amazed at the amount of homework each child is expected to do even in 1st and 2nd grade.
As happens with every trip to Honduras, Emily and Tom were sought out by someone looking for medical help. This time it was a mother and her son with heart conditions, who also happened to be relatives of Noel. In order to better understand what they were looking for and to get past the language barrier, Noel translated back and forth for Emily. Noel’s grandmother was brought to tears by how proud and amazed she was seeing him in action.
Emily and Tom have also got to see friends they have met over the years including Gloria, Blanca, and German. As I get more updates I’ll continue to share what they have been up to.
This post was written by Rick Lania
It has been less than two weeks since I returned from Honduras, and my mind continues to be in overload as I reflect on all my experiences. I always have a difficult time transitioning and this is certainly the case, even after a one week visit.
Ofcourse I am thrilled to have arrived safely home and to be surrounded by family and friends, but my heart is once again torn in two as I leave my friends, past and current patients, and new aquaintances.
My week was actioned packed and filled with tears of joy and sadness. The first day I visited with “Baby Bee” and met her family for the first time. They are an incredibly loving and thankful family and welcomed me with gifts and a new nickname, “Mamasita Emily.”
We held a birthday party for former patient, Stefany who turned nine years old. She was one of Esperanza’s first patients and arrived at our home as a 17 month old, seeking treatment for bilateral clubfeet. Watching her run on the “slip n’ slide”, jump in the pool and swing at the pinata was so very gratifying.
I had the opportunity to attend Astrid’s kindergarten graduation ceremony. Despite the fact she missed four months of school while receiving medical treatment, she still graduated third in her class. Oh, how proud she was to receive her medal!
I visited with ongoing patients and new ones to Esperanza including: 13 month old Adriana (awaiting a heart catheterization), and two people with leukemia, 14 year old. Gerardo, and 39 year old, Maricela. It is heartbreaking enough that they are facing these serious health issues, but not having the financial resources for treatment is so unjust.
Fortunately, my spirits were lifted visiting “our” patients who have been successfully treated including 13 year old, Iris, who has cerebral palsy. In the past, she was hunched over, not wanting to bear weight. After operations and physical therapy, she is happily playing and attending school with big dreams of the future. I also had the chance to see soon-to-be eight year old, Martha Cristina. She is absolutely a miracle…diagnosed with kidney cancer 3 1/2 years ago, she is now in remission after extensive chemo and radiation therapy. She is a bright eyed, beautiful girl who is full of spirit.
One of the highlights of my week was attending a dedication service at one of the public schools in Flores. Our church (Pilgrim Congregational, UCC of Lexington, MA) had raised funds for a building project. Although it was a Saturday, the students (in uniform) and their teachers gathered at the school to welcome me with songs (including the national anthem). I had the honor of placing the first brick into a space that will become their outside eating/gathering area. This is an incredibly impoverished school, offering me a reception of gratitude….another tearful moment.
Ana and I met with representatives from Plan USA. They are a group assisting us in the process of bringing clean water to Flores. This has been an incredibly slow process (several years)…our latest hurdle is getting the new lawyer for SERNA to turn over the ownership for the project to the town of Flores. Next, a technical study will be completed. We are getting closer to our dream of bringing clean water to Flores…it will be one of the best ways to prevent many illnesses.
I returned to the states with 9 year old, Noel. He is a patient of Esperanza’s who had successful heart surgery five years ago. Noel will be spending the summer with us.
Tom and I look forward to returning in the middle of October for a month long visit.
I grew up blissfully believing that “life was fair.” I have many memories of my grandmother giving my brothers and me equal amounts of gifts, wanting everyone to have the same. It wasn’t until I was an adult, and more notably, after visiting Honduras that I really became aware of the inequities of life.
After visiting Honduras, I realized how blessed I was to be born in the United States. I don’t always feel proud, but I certainly feel blessed.
Others often question why we volunteer in Honduras, saying there’s so much need in the U.S. We certainly don’t discredit this and don’t believe it should be an either/or choice of involvement. But, there is a huge disparity. Honduras doesn’t have the “safety net” that the U.S. offers. They do no not have a medicaid system, homeless shelters or food pantries which we have. When you are admitted to a public hospital, you are responsible for everything from your own medications and blood to toilet paper. If you are accompanying a patient, don’t think you’ll be sleeping on a pull-out chair, you may have the chance to sleep on the blood stained floor.
Attending schools in Honduras is often a priviledge, not an expectation. In the U.S. we deal with truancy, in Honduras, they are grappling for the opportunity