Friday, March 18, 2016

Using Spanish

     As I am writing I hear an iguana running over the tin roof above me, and occasionally a mango drops, sounding like gunfire. There is laundry on the line, and if I look back I see palm and mango trees. There is a fan going, but it's still very hot here. Very hot. I was told Choluteca was hot, and they were right.  I spent my morning baking lots of chocolate chip cookies.  I didn't count how many I made, but I used 8 cups of flour and spent almost 4 hours in the kitchen if that tells you anything.   I put them in bags and they are in the freezer waiting on the next work team to arrive.
     I spent the last week here in Choluteca translating for a medical brigade. Although I lived with a Honduran family in language school and have been living in a Spanish-speaking country I felt in some ways that this was the first  real test of my Spanish in the outside world.  I was nervous the first day, but I felt better as the day went on. 

     Some of the main health concerns I saw throughout the week were diabetes and high blood pressure. Some of the patients were new diagnosis, and others who were there for testing.   The mobile pharmacy we had with us was able to give people months of medicine that many of them would not have been able to afford otherwise.  Many people came in looking for help with pain they experienced from overuse of joints due to walking long distances or very hard work.
     Certain people from this week will be stuck in my mind and remembered in my prayers.  One of them was a little boy with a very bad case of scabies. It was so sad to see how much pain he was in when they were looking at his rash, but he smiled SO big when I gave him bubbles and talked to him. He told me he was 6 and learning his letters, so my failed attempts to sing my ABCs in Spanish were hilarious to him. He came back when were were leaving and gave me a hug (don't worry, hours of exposure is needed to contract scabies).
     Another case that struck me was a teen aged girl who came in because she had had an itchy rash on her neck the day before which had already gone away. Before she left she also mentioned that she'd had a white tongue since she was a child.  When she opened her mouth it was clear that she had had a fungal infection for a very long time.  She was given a prescription for 3 pills that will take care of the fungus. Only 3 pills, and she will be cured of something she has had since she was a little girl.
     Others were difficult to see because they needed more help than a medical brigade could provide. Two parents brought in their young adult children who needed psychiatric evaluations.  They came looking mostly for help dealing with their child's insomnia, but we saw how they needed so much more.  A little boy came in with a significant hearing problem.  He could only hear very loud talking and voices, and at three years old he was struggling to learn to speak a language he couldn't hear. When people came in with problems that couldn't be handled by a brigade, they were given referrals to a good doctor, who should be able to treat or make any further referrals needed.

     As I sit here pondering this last week I feel a lot of emotions: joy, sadness, frustration, hope. The mangos are still dropping. An iguana has almost fallen off the roof. Twice. The world I am living in down here is very different from my world in the US.  Being a part of this week was more than a chance for me use my Spanish, it was a great chance for me see needs in the communities up close and see the challenges many are facing. Although I pray for physical healing for the people we saw, my greatest hope is that they will come to know the love of the Great Physician.

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