Hello to all. I have once again just arrived back in Santa Lucia (about 30-35 minutes from Hospital San Felipe) where I went early this morning by bus. The Tegus Rotary Club, Club Foot Brigade from the USA set-up shop on the 2nd floor of San Felipe (Ortho area) to begin seeing patients and then ultimately performing surgery on those selected.
I was here 3 years ago with little Santos from Lavanderos, Montana de la Flor, who had some terribly deformed club feet. Today was no exception.
Once off the bus, I had to walk a few blocks to get to San Felipe. This area is on the boulevard La Paz, the same as the US Embassy just a few blocks away. A huge bus and taxi hub. I have been here so many times, but it is always different. I just had to enter, be searched by security, and then I understood again what I like about this life. I get to do or be part of things most people can just watch on TV or a documentary.
Once inside I bought a chance from the Bomberos, local fire and paramedics, to hopefully win a vehicle, TV, and other prizes. I’m not holding my breath. I have ridden with the Bomberos from the Central station (paramedics) and there is absolutely no comparison, just like the ER’s in theUSA. But…they do what they do and well. Dick and Carolyn know (along with many others from our medical brigade to Nueva Capital) we, GMH, and MHL have provided them with many supplies, nebulizers and etc. They are great friends, and will again be when the team arrives in Nueva Capital in March.
I wish American people could enter a place like this (Hospital Esquela University) is worse. People lined up everywhere…some sitting, others standing and waiting to get an appointment (in the future) and/or get a consult. Many of these people line up around 5 am in the morning and may not be seen until later in the afternoon and then only to return another day if they get an appointment.
I got a quick cup of coffee and then went to the 2nd floor where Orthopedics is located. Boy what a mob of people. Of course there are other clinics on the same floor. I met my friend Sandy (American) who is having some kids examined and hopefully treated by this team. I stood back and watched but I could only do this for awhile. I had to mix with the people that had brought their kids from wherever to be seen and hopefully treated by the Gingo(s) doctors. I cannot tell you what it is liked to see the patients of these little kids gaze in wonder knowing that maybe…just maybe…their kid will be selected for surgery.
It’s a grueling process, one that lacks reason for us Americans, in how they (the San Felipe staff) go about registering and then calling the families when it is their time to see the US doctors. Many others come with kids that don’t have club feet, but hope, maybe hope, their kid can be seen. It is this reason I do this. I know that many of the families will not get the answer they hoped for, but, they had the chance. Many times after a day like this I just want to go hit a tree with my fist. I cannot help, but only so few. But, you get up again and go do the same thing the next day. For that will bring new challenges that maybe, just maybe then you can help. You can never give up hope. There is always tomorrow.
It met families from throughout Honduras today. All very poor. For all those have been with us in San Felipe, and especially Hospital Esquela you know these are the only places (in this part of Honduras) the poor can get care and treatment.
Most patients today were kids, but a number of adults. Kids and families from many locations. These were Lenca, (indigenous)from la Mosquitia (indigenous), others from La Paz, La Esperanza and other indigenous.
Sadly I did not have a camera, but I will get some photos from my friend Sandy. One little girl got really attached to me. I saw her quickly once I got on the 2nd floor. She looked indigenous (which she is) and looked to me that maybe she had a cleft lip operation in the past. I was wrong. She did have a bad club foot, but also was missing fingers on both hands, and had other fingers joined together on one of her hands. I will get that photo and send to all one day. Her family is from La Esperanza and is being hosted by World Vision, which I know, and is a quality program. I hope to see her again tomorrow or after surgery (which for is doubtful). Ondina is following a 10 year old girl from Mosquitia that has no family. Sad case. Sandy is handling this.
So to sum up this day. Gut wrenching. But that is why I go and I will return again tomorrow and again wherever we can help. Thanks for the opportunity you give me to help.
Gehlen team, you will also see poverty like you have never seen. God bless to all. I will send another message another day.
Peace. Mr. Francis