Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two other pics

Um, well... I like this pic of the group in front of the D&D sign. :)

And, I just wanted to show an updated picture of my foot, for those of you who may be interested.  Again, it doesn't look as red as it is, and there are more blisters popping up everyday.  So. weird.

The end. :)

Brigades and Weekend Getaways

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.
Everyone waiting.

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.

So pretty!


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!

Church, obviously.

Parque Central

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.

So pretty!


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.

Anyway, that's all for now!

Paz, Amor y Abrazos!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fundraising and Events

Bare with me for a sec, just a quick plug:

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!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cumpleaños y Proyecto Familiar

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!

Cute family!

These next pictures are courtesy of Hunter:
Jorge and Aldo holding our AMAZING pizzas

We were very pleased with them. :)

Khati, Aldo, Me, Jorge, Manuel and Hunter

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Busy Week

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:

The Clinic:
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! :)

My Talk:
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 successful day!

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. :)