Welp, I missed a post over the weekend, I know, BUT I have
an excuse. I went away with some of the
other volunteers for a little weekend get away.
It was great, and I will talk more about that in just a sec.
Before the weekend away, I had a busy, busy week. Seven doctors from Spain visited for a
medical brigade (as opposed to a surgical one), doing as many consults as there
were people. There were 3 gynecologists,
2 pediatricians, 1 general medical doctor and a psychiatrist (he actually gave
out a ton of reading glasses, not a huge need for psychiatry). The week started on Sunday with orienting
them to the external clinic (thank God Heather and Kate came back early from
their other brigade they were on) and answering their questions. They definitely were eager to help out and
see what the most needs were. They had
some great ideas and it seems that they want to help in the future.
Monday through Thursday we had a ton of consults. We totaled almost 400 patients, not including
the people we saw in 2 neighboring towns.
The doctors gifted us with some medications and other supplies, which is
always appreciated and feels a little like Christmas morning.
Tons of people came for the brigade!
Heather and Kate getting things done.
One of the pediatricians.
Thursday afternoon I was able to tag along with the group to
Las Pilas, where a small clinic was going to be set up. Heather nor our driver (nor me, obviously)
had ever been before, so we had no idea it was basically at the top of a
mountain. The road was a long windy, dirt
road that took us an hour to get up. It
really had some breathtaking views.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by a TON of people waiting
for consults. We set up in the one room
school (yes, where all of the grades are taught by one teacher) because there
was more room than the government run Centro de Salud. We stayed until just before it got too dark
(no lights in the schoolhouse), seeing a lot of patients. These doctors sure knew how to be
speedy. I wish we had a better count of
how many we saw.
The school made into a clinic.
Our admission and pharmacy area, with Heather.
It was neat for me to visit this little town. There isn’t much too it. A few pulperias (small store that sells
snacks and a few other things), the school, Centro de Salud, and some other
things that I didn’t get to see. A lot
of houses, everywhere. Everyone was so
eager to see the doctors and appreciated the little that was done for
them. Even if the kids had no shoes, or
people were wearing ripped clothes, etc, they wore them with pride. Appearance is a big deal here in Honduras,
and you make the best of what you have.
In general, the people just seemed to be genuinely happy. Even though they know they don’t have much,
they have what they have, and are with their family and friends, which is
enough. Great little lesson, huh?
After the busy week, and an unusually busy Friday, I was
finally ready to hop on the bus (or 2) to Lago de Yajoa! Lago means lake, and yes that is where we
went. The lake is HUGE and
beautiful. It’s so different than the hustle
and bustle of Tegus. It was about a 5
hour trip, with 2 buses, a little waiting and getting a jalón
(hitch hike, literally- don’t worry, we only get jalóns on the ranch, or in touristy
parts of Honduras) from a nice, young guy that had a Hyundai Santa Fe (popular
here!). We made it to D&D Brewery
around 7:30, had a drink and chatted.
Yes, it is a brewery with American beer, owned by an American from
Virginia, but it is also a hostel, where travelers from all over convene. It’s a pretty cool place.
Saturday, which was also St. Patrick’s Day… didn’t realize
that until the day of, consisted of sleeping in a bit, drinking good coffee,
eating REALLY delicious food, and taking a trip to a waterfall and hot
springs. Lago is know for it’s really
large waterfall that you can walk behind, but I didn’t do that this time. I will be going back in the future, just to
make sure I can see it, and of course to get away again. But, I digress.
The other smaller waterfall was still pretty awesome. It fell into this pool of water that we swam
in and enjoyed our time. The current was
so strong in the water that you could swim and stay in one place. I enjoyed that.
We took a little break to get some lunch in a nearby
town. Most towns have comedors (kitchen
or cafeteria), which are usually a little room with tables that make typical
Honduran food. It is so goooooood!
After we were all nice and full, we headed to the hot
springs. As you know (if you have been
following my blog for a while), I visited the hot springs in Copan. They were very cool, and very organized and
such. Now, the hot springs in Lago, are
not visited much by tourists, and you can tell.
We all need to take a few risks every now and then, right? I mean, it’s what keeps you young and sharp,
and yes, maybe stupid. Well, this was
one of those times. The hot springs are
really cool! But, you have to go through
this small little cave that has boiling water running through it, and you have
to jump on different rocks to get through the cave, to get to the part of the
water that you can wade through, to get to where you can relax and enjoy the warmth.
About to go through... yes, that is steam b/c the water is THAT hot. In some parts where it is boiling, some Hondurans put corn in to boil. Yup.
Me and my roomie, Amanda
We all made it through, no problem, albeit,
scared for our lives because we didn’t want to boil to death. We enjoyed our time in the sun and relaxed in
the hot tub like water. Things got a
little crazy when we were returning. Someone
had to make the day interesting, and that someone was me! Yup, and I did that by slipping and falling
into the water, just before we went back into the cave with some of the hottest
water. Um, it hurt like HE**. Holy moly!
I screamed for a second, and freaked out because we STILL had to walk
back through the worst part.
Man, that was a worrisome moment. We made it through, and back to the town where we had lunch so I could get ice. When we got back to the brewery (I am not even going to get into the taxi driver situation, please ask me about it sometime!) I soaked my foot for hours in ice water and took some codeine (given to me by a nurse from New Zealand who was very pushy, but knowledgable).
I know this looks like it's just sunburned, but trust me, it was red, and STILL is.
Um, in ice for a long time!
Things that the nurse gifted me.
Sunday was nice, we woke up and enjoyed some more coffee and good food and then made our way back to the Ranch. When I got back, I was even able to Skype with Grammy for her 80th birthday! So, even though things were a little crazy, it was a very enjoyable weekend, spent with some very enjoyable people. :)
This week has been busy and I really feel like my Spanish stinks. It's also been really hot this week, where I feel like I am sweating in places that shouldn't sweat. Ha.
As you all know, NPH can't run without the help of the awesome people who donate their time and money. Friends of the Orphans is the fundraising organization that supports NPH and has many upcoming events. Please check them out!
Also, please keep all of NPH in your prayers. There are so many wonderful things happening at each of the homes, and by God's grace will continue to be around to help the kids that need it most!
There are a lot of fun things that are planned for the kids
on the ranch: excursions, games, various activities on the weekends and other
such things. Birthdays aren’t usually
celebrated on the day of, but as a group at the end of the month, when all of
the kids go into the city for the day, receive a little money, get something
they want, and gorge on pizza (at Pizza Hut, no less. It’s a really big deal around here).
Because Casa Suyapa (remember, that’s my hogar!) houses the
younger kids, they don’t get to go into the city, so they do their own thing
every couple of months. It’s a pretty
big deal! The tias and tios are up early
preparing food all day, streamers and balloons are hung, and cakes are
made. Usually, at dinner we all sit on
the floor in a circle, but for the birthday bash the tables and chairs are
brought out. I was looking forward to
going and seeing what it was all about.
We did a lot of eating and dancing!
And, the kids had a blast!
Roberto taking a swing at the piñata
This is what happens when the kids go for the candy! MAYHEM!
The amazing enchiladas!
All the kids ready to eat, and some decorations.
Yohan and me
Yohan, Me and Yafet
It’s not a requirement for the volunteers to do something
for birthdays, but we usually do. I was
thinking about what I wanted to do before I even left the States, which is just
silly because I had no idea what hogar I would be with and all of that. But, once I found out I was with the little
boys, I was a little stumped. Things run
a little differently in Casa Suyapa than the rest of the hogares, which made me
a little unsure of what to do. Some
volunteers bake a cake for every birthday or give a card or something of the
sort. Doing a cake was out of the
question, so I settled on a homemade card and a little goodie bag. I only have twelve boys, so I have already
made them and will make their card when the time comes closer. I think I will actually get more boys
throughout the year, as the ranch is always getting new kids. I gave my first one to Angel, and he seemed
to like it. He was very discreet about
putting his bag in his locker, under his pants, right away so no other little
boy would take it!
Just a little something, and yes, there are silly bands in there.
Another fun thing for the kids is Proyecto Familiar (family
project), where the kids who have siblings on the ranch are able to share a
meal and spend time together. There is always so much going on, that the siblings really don't see each other that often, sadly. A
volunteer from years ago saw a need, developed a program and it has now spread to all of the NPH homes. The evening looks a little different at each
home, but all has the same purpose. Here
in Honduras, we have the kids come to the volunteer house where we make dinner,
usually baleadas (traditional Honduran meal) or pizza. It’s really a fun time, and the kids look
forward to it (once they know when there time is, and know you, they will
constantly ask you about it). Because
there are so many families, proyecto only happens for them once, maybe, twice a
year, so it really is a special time.
And, it’s a good time for the volunteers to spend some extra time with their kids, and get to know others they normally wouldn't have the chance to.
This was after my first proyecto where one of the girls braided my hair. I was excited about it!
And the awesomeness of after the braids.
Another proyecto with the boys and DeeDee, another volunteer. We made baleadas!
This week was one of the busiest weeks so far (and that is
without checking email and such due to the internet being down all week). It’s definitely good on one end because the
week flew by, but I was so tired, I just couldn’t shake it. Ah, such is life here on the Ranch. Here is my week in review:
Things are going as usual there. I am definitely getting more used to the
routine and the going-ons in the clinic.
My understanding of Spanish is getting better and better, but my ability
to speak is still a struggle. I am
getting to know my co-workers more and more, as well, which is really helpful
and encouraging. The patients are still
cute and so appreciative of the little that we can do for them.
We also had another meeting for the entire health department
on the ranch. Meetings here in Honduras
are interesting. We met right after misa
general (general mass, meaning the entire Ranch. They happen the first Thursday of every month
and on Holy Days), and thought it would be a quick one, so I had said the
external clinic would open at 10am.
Well, 10am came and there was no end in sight, so I had to leave
early. I already felt bad that we were
keeping the patients waiting. I get to
the clinic and was there for almost an hour by myself! It was really frustrating for a few reasons:
there wasn’t much decided on at the meeting, and I was at the clinic with no
help. Of course the girls thought I was mad at them when they finally showed up, but I wasn’t. I was just frustrated. But, meetings are like that here. You meet for hours and very little, if
anything, is accomplished. And, that is
just normal, so the girls couldn’t quite understand why I was so frustrated. I mean, it’s a culture change for me more
than anything, and I have to learn to be more flexible in that way. At home, we have meetings for a certain
amount of time, get things done, and we start our next tasks. But, that is just not what is done here, and if
I don’t think it’s efficient, it’s how it is and I need to learn to adapt. This is the culture, I am the one who has to
change, not anyone else.
Club de Diabetes:
On Friday we had our diabetes club. After about 6 months, Heather saw a need for
diabetes education, and began a club for the patients who meet every 2
months. I was both a little nervous and
looking forward to my first one. The day
started at 6am, where we had pre-clinic (vital signs, glucose checks, weights)
and provided a snack. When the doctor
arrived, we had a charla (talk) about knowing the signs and symptoms of
high/low blood sugar and what to do about it.
Rebeca, the nursing student, gave part of the charla, and she did a
great job! She was nervous about giving
it and she was proud of herself when she was done. (I am also happy she did it because I don’t know
enough Spanish yet!) It was also really
awesome to see how many people came, and were eager to learn. After the charla, we resumed consults as
usual, and the day became super busy with medications, IV fluid boluses,
nebulizations and injections. We worked
right up to lunch to see the last patient.
It was a successful day, and I was proud to be part of it. The next one is May 2, if anyone has extra
diabetes supplies, please contact me! :)
I was able to finally give my talk on service this past
Thursday. It was a successful talk,
albeit, not my best one. But, I am glad
I did it. It was nice to have an open
conversation about my faith. It was also
a great reminder of the truth and why I am here.
Trip to Tegus:
Well, I (and Michelle) finally took a trip to Tegus by
myself, without an older volunteer. We
got on the bus, got off the right stop and found a taxi without any
problems. It was an entertaining (creepy
clowns got on the bus, I love people watching, etc) and slightly stressful (I
feared for my life a few times in the taxis… driving is CRAZY in this city)
outing. Our trip was more of a blip back
to American life, as we went to one of the most American malls that houses
Wal-Mart. Michelle needed to cash her
check, so I wandered through Wal-Mart for a while, trying to get some things
off my list. The store is a little
disappointing, as it doesn’t have everything that a normal one does. But, I was able to get my mattress pad, so I
think it was successful. We had lunch in
the food court, and I stuffed my face with Chinese food. It was DELISH! The arroz Chino (literally Chinese rice, or
fried rice) was amazing, way better than what the ranch makes. We then walked around a little more and I
splurged on an amazing iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts (I even brought donut
holes back for breakfast this morning!)!
We headed back to find another taxi to make it to the bus, in the
blazing afternoon heat. It was a
First trip to La Venta:
The closest little town to the Ranch is La Venta, and many
of the volunteers will walk to the town and go to the bar to just get off the
ranch for a little while. Everyone
always has good stories to tell from their time there, so I finally decided to go
on Saturday evening. It’s about a 25-minute
walk through the woods to the little town, past a few houses, and you come to a
little hole in the wall that ends up being the bar. It’s more of a garage or unfinished basement
type thing, which happens to sell beer, chips and soup (Cup-o-Noodles). If you know me, you know that I am not a beer
person, but I have to say, after walking for almost a half an hour, in one of
the warmest evenings so far, the iced cold beer was incredibly refreshing! The few of us just chatted for a while and
then walked back. It was a nice evening,
getting to know more of the volunteers and being off the ranch.
I hope you all are doing well! I know I still owe you pictures of things... once I get curtains up in my room, I will take pics and give you a tour of the house. :)