The More I Learn, The Less I Know

I often find myself reflecting on words of wisdom from Ana. She has told me before, ¨Emily, you will see the situation differently when you stay here for longer periods of time. People´s lifestyles will drive you crazy. They will be doing the same thing every day…watching t.v.¨It´s a sharp contrast to Ana who is in constant motion, with a racing mind whose words can´t keep up, and she often stops mid sentence and asks, ¨what were we talking about?¨Ana is so driven to help others, believing it is her responsibility to serve.

Even though Tom and I spent a month here from mid October to mid November, Ana is correct and I am seeing things in a new light. Our previous visit was consumed with projects around the house, patients to care for, families to visit, homework with the children, and new places to visit. This time I am here for 12 days before Tom´s arrival and I have had the opportunity to witness more deeply the reality of people´s lives. I am watching in depth their daily struggles for survival, and it´s wearing.

People often ask me, ¨are the people in Honduras happy?” I still don´t know how to answer that because I realize that people act differently when I am around. Although I´ve known many for years, there´s still so much I don´t know about their lives, feelings and dreams.

And yes, most of the people are doing the same thing day after day…and it´s difficult to know whether people lack initiative to change their lives or are stuck because they lack the knowledge, or there simply aren´t viable options. The resources here are so limited….in Flores, there is no playground or library. People suffer from boredom and the feeling spreads, and it is palpable. It is no wonder that people ¨escape¨with drugs and alcohol, and get sucked into gangs and violence.

Tom arrives tomorrow and I´m anxiously awaiting his arrival. I am grateful to have had the chance of being here alone because it is only through the experience that I truly could have learned. I look forward to being together and sharing the day´s events, and having someone else to lean on.

Update on Ostin

Ana and Ostin

This afternoon I received a text message from Peggy Kipps (Ruth Paz Foundation) that the long awaited drug (OK-432) has safely arrived from Japan. I was filled with both excitement and relief, and immediately called Ana (Hernandez) to share the news. Tom, Ana and I had been discussing this case last night because Ostin’s mother, Carla, had called to say Ostin was having more difficulty breathing. Tom was concerned that his fear Ostin would suffocate, was becoming a reality.

Ana, her sister, and a doctor from Flores went to Ostin’s house to share the news that help was on its way. The extended family gathered round, rejoicing in praise, for answered prayers.

Peggy is now in the process of coordinating with Dr. Lopez and the hospital administration for Ostin’s arrival. It is expected that he will be initially hospitalized for 4-5 days. His family anxiously awaits word for when they need to head to San Pedro Sula…and we will be there every step of the way. We are filled with gratitude that this little baby will have a chance at life.

Thank You

Thank You from Esperanza

Dear Esperanza Supporters,

We’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for your financial and moral support. We are truly grateful for your faith in our work and sharing our vision of helping others in need. Together we can make a difference in the lives of many. May you all enjoy the holiday season and have a happy and healthy 2012.

Our gratitude to all,

Tom, Emily, Ana and Ricky

Searching for Hope…

Ana

Yesterday afternoon, I was having lunch with friends in Concord when I received a call from our friend and Honduran coordinator, Ana Hernandez. A family from Tegucigalpa had arrived at her house ( 1 1/2 hours away) looking for help from “the Americans” (us) for their 11 year old son. I asked how they knew about us, and her reply was, “they had talked with a friend of a relative of a child you helped who had a heart problem.”

This extremely impoverished family had gathered together enough money to travel to Ana’s in search of hope for their child. And now Ana was on the phone with me over 2,000 miles away, trying to explain the child’s medical condition. This young boy had been to the doctor in Tegucigalpa and was told he had skin cancer, and now he was wearing bandages over his eyes and had lost his sight.

Unfortunately, doctors give very minimal information to patients and parents, and often times it is not accurate. Therefore, many Hondurans have very little trust in the medical profession and believe that American doctors will offer better care. Thankfully, over the years we have developed some very trustworthy relationships with Honduran doctors. They are extremely accessible to us (giving their cell phone numbers) and will see our patients promptly. Peggy Kipps, executive director of The Ruth Paz Foundation will refer our patients to the American brigades she coordinates.

Although we cannot always offer a cure for the patients, we are able to give the parents accurate medical information in a compassionate manner. We also offer other resources (ie. physical therapy, medications, medical aids) which can assist the patient and their families with living with a particular illness or injury.

Last evening Tom (a pediatrician) talked with a woman assisting this child in need. She described his condition in greater detail and Tom asked for photos to be sent ASAP. We will be sending this child to San Pedro Sula to be seen by an eye specialist who treated one of our other children born with congenital glaucoma (and now has restored vision).

Once again we are reminded of Ana’s critical role in our work in Honduras. Without her, none of this would be happening. Ana offers her bilingual skills, endless hours of commitment to “her people”, is incredibly resourceful, has trusted relationships in every corner from her neighbors, to political officials to the medical community. She is very intelligent about everything from how the water system works to explaining to us local customs, traditions and beliefs. She truly is the Honduran heart and soul of Esperanza, and we are grateful for her presence in our lives.