This past week I was hit with a nasty viral bug. It came on suddenly and wiped me out quickly. I chugged a variety of medications, slept as much as I could and anxiously awaited relief. But while I waited, I thought of people in Honduras who are faced with similar common illnesses and those who suffer from far greater ones. How much harder they endure and with far less complaining than me!
After years of working in the medical field of Honduras, we’ve been accustomed to a shortage of supplies in medicine and equipment, but things have become worse. Last fall we learned about hospitals having to cancel surgeries because they lacked oxygen. Now, there are 28 public hospitals having to postpone surgeries because they lack basic operating materials.
It’s alarming to hear this news which tremendously impacts the general population, putting the majority of Hondurans at risk. We also witnessed this personally, in our village of Flores, with a neighbor suffering from Guillean-Barre Syndrome. This illness struck the nervous system of a healthy 18 year old, and now poses life-threatening complications.
This situation would be terrifying enough for any family but imagine facing the monumental task of coming up with $15.00 a day for the medication when that exceeds your daily income? And then…facing the obstacle of actually finding a place that has the medication available? That’s just the beginning…the mom couldn’t have been more appreciative of the basic supplies (gloves, gauze, oxygen tubing) which we could provide. These items were not available in town and she didn’t have the resources to look elsewhere.
We’ll continue to collect as many resources as we can, and deliver them in March. Hopefully, there will be additional aid on a National level, as well.
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.
February marks the beginning of the school year in Honduras. School is provided free of charge by the government but not the school supplies or uniforms, which are mandatory. Six volunteers from Esperanza will soon be traveling to Honduras with duffle bags full of school supplies and we are still in great need of black school shoes in any sizes.
Honduran children living in severe poverty take an average time of 9 1/2 years to complete the sixth grade. There are many reasons for this including children having to leave school to help support their families, teachers being on strike, and others simply lacking the resources.
Stores currently stocking these shoes include: Pay Less, Target and Walmart. Please consider donating one pair of shoes and giving one deserving child the opportunity to attend school this year. No child should be left behind…
Esperanza-Hope for the Children, Inc. is grateful for Brother’s Brother Foundation’s recent donation of $7, 261.13 worth of medication and surgical instruments, and $1,200 of Crocs. These supplies will be used in Esperanza’s December (2-12) mission trip to Flores, Honduras. Currently, there is a doctor at the public health center, but they are in desperate need of medicine and equipment. The shoes will be an appreciated “gift” to help prevent illnesses and injuries for children and adults.