Monday, January 30, 2012

Puertas Azules

On Wednesday we left at 6 am to go to Puertas Azules- a remote area of the country. The drive was about two and a half hours. The first half hour was paved roads but after that it was all rocks and dirt. We drove up the mountains and even crossed a river. There was a lot of beautiful scenery on our drive.

Crossing the River
Swinging bridge across the river
Beautiful mountain view
One of the villages we went through
Dirt Roads
Planking in Nicaragua!
We made it to the school in Puertas Azules about 8:30 am. This time our clinic was inside the school. It was just one big room with a divider in the middle that could be open or closed. The pharmacy area was pretty big, so we were able to spread out a little more! In Puerta Azules we had 4 providers- the 2 on our team plus the doctor traveling with us along with another Nicaraguan doctor working out of a clinic next door to the school. Her clinic serves about 32 communities around Puertas Azules. We knew it would be a busier day because Dan and team had passed out 150 tickets for our clinic the week before plus some patients from the clinic next door. Our clinic saw 166 patients and we filled prescriptions for 44 patients from the other clinic for a total of 210. We filled 456 prescriptions! It was very, very busy for us, so the day went by fast!

Patients at intake
Me in the pharmacy
Jason spent the day giving away more toys for the kids along with some t-shirts and shoes. He also had some clothes and shoes for the adults to give away!

New Shoes!
Princess coloring book
T-shirt and goodies!
Two of the guys were also able to put the rope we had been working on into the well in Puertas Azules. It turned out to be the perfect length! There have been a couple of issues come up with the well, so it is a work in progress right now!

Because Puertas Azules was so far from Jinotega, we stayed over night on top of the mountain in the Miraflor Visitor's Center. It was a huge house. After we got there we were able to have some time to talk about the day and have communion and worship together. Lights were off at 9 pm, but we were able to take a couple of pictures of our room first. It was very cold, so my roomies and I put our mattress pads together on the floor. We wanted to keep each other warm!

Our makeshift bed
Leigh Anne's canoe cot
The boy's room/main room
It was a long night because it was so cold and the wind was blowing so hard it sounded like a hurricane outside. We heard the wind blows up to 70 mph on a regular basis there! There was a gap between the wall and the roof which did not help keep us warm either! Thankfully, we managed to survive the wind, the cold, a few scary bugs, and a dead mouse!

2 Samuel 22:2-3 (NLT)
"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence."

Friday, January 27, 2012

God Has A Better Plan

On Tuesday we were back in Santa Emilia for our second day of clinic.
After we got to the church and got set up we realized we had left the medications for the day back at the house an hour away. All that made it with us was what we didn't use on Monday!
Eliud and Troy immediately headed back to Jinotega to get the rest of the medicine. Chrissy and I were worried about running of medication. We went ahead and started seeing patients. Then if we didn't have the medications they needed we gave them a numbered ticket and asked them to either wait for them or to come back later. Most of the patients waited for the medication to come, and a few left and came back. There was not a single person who didn't come back which was great!

Because of the extra time we had while waiting on Eliud and Troy to get back, those at intake were able to spend some time specifically with the kids. They sang songs and danced around! We heard the hokey pokey and a song with the colors in English and Spanish. We also heard a lot of laughter! Everyone was having so much fun! Precious time that wouldn't have been spent if we had loaded all the medication that morning! 

God always has a plan!

Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail."

Jason with the house dog- CiCi

Love is the Best Medicine

Monday was our first day of clinic. 
It started out rainy and stayed that way all day.
So thankful for our tents!

We got to the church in Santa Emilia about 8 am to set up everything.
About 8:30 am we started seeing our patients. We had a nurse practitioner and a physician's assistant on our team plus the help of a family practice physician from Jinotega.
Each patient started off in the intake area where some from our team would get their name, age, and current complaints. They also got a blood pressure and temperature. Then each patient went through to one of the three providers. Then they would bring their prescriptions to us in the pharmacy. While waiting on their prescriptions they were able to talk to someone from our team or to one of the local pastors and hear the gospel message!
One of the sweet ladies on our team said she loved being able to tell all the people she spoke with that Jesus loves them!
After picking up their prescriptions we had a goody table for the kids. They were able to pick out a toy and get some bubbles- this was Jason's job! He loved playing with all the kids!
We all had a translator to help us talk to the people in Spanish.

Getting ready for the day!
Setting up the pharmacy
Our morning was very busy. We saw so many kids! The others on the team said in previous years we had seen mostly adults. On our first day in Santa Emilia 40% of our patients were children! We heard that many adults in the area were out harvesting coffee. The kids were left at home because they are out of school right now for summer vacation. They will go back in February.

Filling prescriptions 
Seeing patients

Our awesome pharmacy technician!
After lunch we weren't nearly as busy. Overall the first day went really well. The hard part was when we started getting low on some of the medications. We really weren't prepared for all the children we saw so there was some improvising going on and a lot of cutting up tablets!

You just want to help and do all that you can, and you feel like you aren't doing enough when you can only give someone a few tablets. 

But, like Dan said, it isn't really about the clinic or the medicines. Those are just the vehicle to get us connected to the people. It's really about showing the people that God loves them and cares about them and that we love and care about them too!

The good news is that you can go to a pharmacy and buy what ever you need in Nicaragua. So on the way home from the clinic we stopped at a pharmacy in Jinotega and got quite a bit more liquid medications for the kids for Tuesday.

The glasses with no lenses!

This bunny showed up at the end of the day

Coffee harvesting
Matthew 25:40 (NLT)
"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Experiencing Nicaragua

Sunday was our first full day in Nicaragua.
We woke up to a rainy and dreary morning, but it cleared up as the day went on.

We started out the day with a worship service of our own.
Then we headed out to Santa Emilia to check out our first clinic site.
On the way to Santa Emilia we stopped by the dump to drop off some of our trash.
Those who had been to Nicaragua before said the dump is something you must experience.
I wasn't sure what to expect...

As we drove up the hill to drop off the trash we passed several "homes".
These "homes" were made out of plastic bags tied together held up with big sticks.
At the top of the hill we saw a large group of children and some dogs waiting for us. 
Two very excited looking young girls, probably 7 or 8, ran up to the truck.
They jumped in the back and tossed our trash bags on the ground. 
They let us know we were ready to go by hitting the side of the truck.
Before we could even turn the truck around to leave, they had already torn open our trash bags and begun to search through them for food or anything else they could use. 
The dogs were right there along with them digging through our trash.
The scene was absolutely heartbreaking. 

As we drove over the mountain and through the city of Matagalpa to Santa Emilia, we continued to see things I will never forget. Not many people in Nicaragua have vehicles. There are buses that run all over the country, but they can get expensive. Sometimes the trip can cost an entire day's wages. As a result, most people walk. Everywhere we went people were walking down streets and dirt roads. Some of them hitch hiked as well. When we would drive by, they would put a thumb out asking for us to stop. We saw so many trucks with beds filled with people. Some of the hauling trucks with bigger beds would be packed with people standing up. We even saw people hanging onto ladders on the back of the buses! 

In Santa Emilia, we arrived at the church. The church has a roof and an altar, but it is open on all four sides- like a concrete tent. We rented some extra tents for the clinic which were up and ready for us. We talked about how things would be set up for Monday, and we got to see the water tower that the construction crew had set up there the week before. 

Cocoa tree at the church

Altar, Bathroom, and Water Tower!

Water Tower
The Church with our tents for clinics
 On our way back to Jinotega, Eliud took us through Matagalpa to see what the city looks like. One things we noticed is that there are no street signs. We asked Eliud about addresses, and he said in Nicaragua there are no addresses like in the States. In Nicaragua they use landmarks to explain where things are. For example, you could say you lived a block past the grocery store in the corner house. 

In Matagalpa we passed a hospital, so I asked Eliud about the hospitals in Nicaragua. I was interested to know what it's like because I work in the hospital at home. The medical care at the hospitals in Nicaragua is free, but Eliud said that the conditions in the hospital are not good. There could be up to seven people sharing one hospital room. 
It seems the hospital would be a last resort!

On our drive back over the mountain I also noticed that the houses in the cities seem to have more structure- made out of brick or concrete blocks- while the houses in more rural areas are more like shanty shacks- slabs of wood propped up on each other. 

Example of a shanty shack.
This one was next door to the church.
After lunch at the house back in Jinotega, we went to visit the orphanage. Our church has been to this orphanage several times on mission trips. Last summer the youth did sports camp there, and the week before we went the construction group helped finish up their water tower.
We were able to play with some of the kids and meet Joy who runs the orphanage.

Our house in Jinotega
The Orphanage
Playing with little ones
In the evening, we went to Shalom Baptist church in Jinotega. The service was in Spanish, but we were able to sing along when Dan and Leigh Anne led a song. Dan also spoke about the construction group the week before.

Back at the house, we were able to finish counting all the vitamins. We also had a group working on the rope for the well in Puerta Azules. 

Suitcase full of vitamins

Working on the rope for the well
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Wedding!

I will get back to the Nicaragua posts tomorrow, but I had to take a quick break to share some exciting news!

Charles got engaged on Sunday to his girlfriend, Mary Carlyn!

He is following in my footsteps- graduating at the beginning of May and getting married a couple of weeks later.

We are looking forward to May 26th!

On New Year's Eve

The happy couple
Congratulations Charles and Mary Carlyn!

I am so happy for you both and very excited to celebrate your big day!
Welcome to the family MC! 

Genesis 2:22-24 (NLT)
"Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman," for she was taken out of man.' That is why a man leaves his father and his mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh."