Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 4- St. Matthews and Frank's Eddy Villages

Sorry it took me a while to post from yesterday. I was so tired by the end of the night that I just couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to do much blogging, so here it all is now:

This morning began with a traditional Belizean breakfast and we all split up to go to separate villages. One group went to Franks Eddy and another group setup a clinic in the village of St. Matthews. It was a slower day because the rain just kept falling. While everyone was setting up for the clinic in Frank’s Eddy, I went with a couple of the students Pete and Matt to do some follow-up visits in other villages. For those of you who followed our trip last year, these updates will come with perhaps a smile and a tear.

You may remember Mr. Martinez from last year. He was the man partially paralyzed and completely contracture with the large pressure sore on his lower back. Unfortunately, we found out that he finally passed away in November. That made me sad, hopefully though, we were able to help bring him peace in his fight for life and perhaps a little bit of pain relief as well.

From Frank’s Eddy we went to the village of St. Matthews to check on Sevarina Cassola and her family, including her daughter Daisy who had been so sick last time. Sevarina had a massive diabetic foot ulcer and nearly had to have her foot amputated. Her blood sugar levels were also so high that the machine couldn’t even register the level. We visited her home and I am thrilled to say her foot is completely healed and she is now walking! It is amazing to see how something we did last year actually had a real lasting effect. Rose Anderson, the diabetic counselor here says that it is a miracle that her foot was saved and that Sevarina is still alive. Good job Belize team ’09, you saved a life! Now, Sevarina is able to provide for her family of 5 once again! Before leaving, Pete, Matt, and I joined hands with Sevarina and her entire family and a Rose Anderson translated for me as I prayed for them. It was a beautiful moment and a moment of praying for thanks and gratitude. But, that wasn’t the only good story for the day.



We left St. Matthews to follow-up on another special patient from last year you might remember. In the village of “More Tomorrow” Little Julie had a massive cyst on her right groin area. It was the size of a softball and she hadn’t been to school for a month. We were able to drain the cyst and pack it with sterile gauze. A week later she was able to return to school. Now she is completely healed. There’s hardly even a scar on her. She’s smiling, running around, playing, and her reading is coming along. She was able to read me part of a book. We were able to bring she and her family clothes, shoes, toothbrushes, toys, and some medicine. When we arrived at her house, Julie looked at me, her eyes opened wide and then came over and gave me a hug where she just didn’t want to let go. She held on to my neck for a couple minutes and then wanted to go change her clothes and brush her hair so she would look nice for us all. The mother was so appreciative of our return and her daughter’s health that she started making dinner for us all. I helped her handmake some tortillas and then she served me this interesting dish that I was kinda scared to eat. I didn’t want to turn her down because I understood how important it was for her to be able to do something for us. I ate what was a strange meal made out of something that looked like the leg of a table laying on the floor. It was spicy and anyone who knows me knows that I’m a wimp when it comes to hot. I was not only trying to get down the food, but get past the spice. I started sweating and trying to smile politely and tell her how good it was and be gracious. I just had to swallow bites whole towards the end. Anyhow, the visit was wonderful. Alida, the little girl with the pigtail braids last year came over to visit too. We also got an update on little curious Simon who we found out now moved to Belize City to go to school. While in More Tomorrow, we also found some other families that needed treatment… a fungal infection on a man’s foot, a family outbreak of impetigo, and some generalized cold/flu symptoms.

Meanwhile, while all of these visits were going on, PZ and the group were back in Franks Eddy not knowing where we were because we had no cell phone contact. They were pretty frustrated when we returned, but at least we were able to return with good uplifting news. The group there had not been too busy. By the end of the day there had been about 60 patients seen. They had treated cellulitis, various wounds, a fungal infection outbreak in one family, and a pregnant woman with 7 kids who was bleeding. We wrapped up the day having to crawl back into the van filled with a bag of rotten noni fruit covered in maggots that had filled up the van with the most rancid smell. Fortunately, the smell faded as quickly as did the noni fruit once we found the bag.

Over in St. Matthews, they were pretty slow as well. They did get to split a coconut open and taste some of that. The home visits weren’t very productive either, they say. In all they treated about 30 patients. They saw things from chickenpox on a mom, chickenpox in the throat of her son, and a patient with the measles. Candace was so wonderful. She found a man that had poor vision and gave him glasses of her own. He was the pastor of the Church there and couldn't hardly even read the bible, but now can see the words much more clearly. It turns out later that we found out PZ had done the same thing in the same day. The girls were telling me this morning how it was so muddy there that the van got stuck and they all had to help push it out.

After we all met back up at the hotel that night, we re-centered ourselves from the hectic day and sat down to a nice meal. It’s actually nice that most of the meals here that we’re eating are rather American, because it gives you some sense of normalcy from what you’re used to. Then, you can venture out and try more native things when you’re feeling brave, but not because you have to. Speaking of food… that leads us to my next story that will follow.

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At January 15, 2010 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Mandy said...

What a wonderful thing you do! It was great meeting you and thank you for posting your story. I hope we can meet up again some day and safe travels to you!


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