Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In the midst of beauty...

What do you see in this picture?  It was taken on the main road in Colonia Emanuel, about 1 hr from Tegucigalpa.  Colonia Emanual overlooks a breathtaking valley.  There is no electricity or running water.  The residents wear a random collection of clothes - there is no concept of "matching" your outfit.  If it fits, wear it.  In the case of shoes, if they don't fall off your feet, wear them.   There is no easy access to jobs.  Few if any have a car and the village is very far from the main road, and a treacherous path at that.


Like the scenery, the poverty is breathtaking...

About a week ago, we had a "Brigada Medico," a medical brigade, here.  There were 16 on the medical team - 4 doctors, one dentist, a nurse, and 10 volunteers ranging in age from 14 - adult.
When we arrived early the first morning, the residents were already lining up.  We had the clinic in one hut, the pharmacy in another, the dentist in another.  There was also a hut for clothing, sunglasses, and reading glasses.

The doctors would see an entire family at a time.  Most were healthy (amazing given the environment) but all complained of a "cough" and a "headache" in order to get the "prescription" for cough drops and ibuprofen.  All children also got worm pills.  Everone got vitamins and other assorted items to provide a bit of relief from the lifestyle of the Colonia - sunscreen, body lotion, hand cleanser,  toothbrushes, tooth paste, etc.  Antibiotics were available for those with active infections.
Filling their prescriptions at the "Farmacia"

In the hut next to the clinic, people lined up for tooth extractions!  The line was consistently about 10 people long as they waited patiently to have one or more teeth removed.   I suppose if your tooth hurts bad enough, this is a godsend!  We had no ability for any other treatment - no fillings, no teeth cleaning, no root canals.  If the tooth was decayed or hurting, out it came.  The first day they pulled out well over 100 teeth, using an old plastic jug as a spit bucket.  (ick.)

But, back to the picture...What do you see when you are there in Colonia Emanuel?  Definitely the beauty of the landscape.  It must be one of God's mercies to grace the people with such beauty as they struggle through their daily lives.  If you look away from the valley and surrounding mountains you see...beauty.  The villagers are beautiful.  They care for one another, protect each other's children, help the North Americans with the smallest of tasks, making sure we don't sit in the hot sun or carry something too heavy.  They are kind, gracious, and patient.  Yes, their lifestyle is heartbreaking but their spirits are beautiful.

A final vision of beauty... Dr. Jim, finished each exam praying with the family.
In the midst of beauty...Grace