Home again, home again, jiggery jog. I got home LATE Friday night after a great week of work in Honduras. And work it was. For those in the know, we did not make a single run to Dunkin’ Doughnuts, Cinnibon, or Baskin Robins. I know it is hard to believe, but I am just stating the facts. (We did, however, find time to go to El Corral for dinner 1 night.)
As I mentioned in my previous blog, our medical team was doing volunteer surgeries for children that were born with facial abnormalities. Parents brought their children from as far away as Miskitos, also known as the province of Gracias a Dios. This province is on the east coast of Honduras and is sparsely populated and vastly undeveloped. Traveling by prop plane and bus, they trekked their way to the hospital for the free treatment.
The doctors and nurses were absolutely awesome and compassionate. They worked as hard as any group I have ever seen. They wanted to be at the hospital everyday before 7:00 and they did not leave until after 7:00 each evening. I really do think they would have stayed longer if they could have kept the operating room open. The Honduran medical staff received training on the plastic surgery procedures and techniques that they had not seen before. All in all it was a fantastic experience for all. The newspaper ran 2 different stories about the doctors. The first was a ½ page article that appeared in Tuesday’s addition and the other was a full page on Thursday.
My plane was scheduled to leave at 11:30 on Friday. On my plane to Houston was Dr. Smythe Rich, who was the fist doctor to leave (the rest were leaving Saturday morning). Smythe was leaving a day early because his mother is extremely sick and was not expected to live through the weekend and he wanted to be there for the last moments. However, there was one little baby girl that had traveled all the way from Miskitos and Dr. Rich wanted her to receive the surgery to help repair her upper lip. So the medical team met and agreed to operate on the girl early Friday morning before Dr. Rich’s flight so that he could be there for it. What an amazing man.
While at Hospital Viera on Wednesday, Jen Wright saw us. She had brought a little girl in from Santa Ana that was in desperate need of medical attention. The little girl was 4 years old and only weighed 19 pounds. She had been abandoned by her mother and was living at the grandmother’s house. She was having seizures and was just lying in bed day after day. Her muscles had drawn her body up into a fetal position were unmovable. The doctors immediately put her on IV to try to restore some of her fluids. They are hopeful that after a few days of fluids and medicines that the physical therapists will be able to start working on the muscles. Unfortunately traumatic situations like this happen all too frequently and our prayers are with the little girl at this time.
Thursday was an amazing day for me. The day started with an early morning trip to the hospital to get the doctors up and going. They are part of the scene at the hospital now, roaming about like the own the place. They have made good friends with many of the doctors, nurses, and surgeons who work at the hospital. Things were running smoothly so at 9:00 we took a 6 block walk to Plaza Centro, with Congressman Rojas, for our first meeting of the day.
Tom Gilroy, Tim, and I met with what we would call in the States the “Ways and Means Committee.” There were 4 congressmen and 1 congresswoman at the meeting, all top ranking members of the Conservative Party. Our meeting was to discuss different ways and avenues in which the supplies from our containers could reach different groups of people in need in different areas of Honduras. The government has budgets set up to secure supplies and equipment but many times red tape or improper mismanagement occurs when dealing with vendors and organizations within Honduras. Our reputation of honesty and “no strings attached” policies has earned us great respect in this area and I foresee the possibility of having our relationship with the government strengthen our ministry opportunities in the near future.
Just a few hours later Tim and I had a lunch meeting with Juan Diego, who is the personal assistant to the mayor of Tegucigalpa, and Mario Zelaya Rojas, congressman and surgeon at Hospital Viera. During our meeting we discussed ways in which Torch / IRC could help assist the government in various ways such as securing medical equipment, school supplies, emergency transport like ambulances, etc. They were very excited about what we do and why we do it and offered ideas in which they could help us in return such as helping with expenses to get shipments into the country. It was “another power meeting," as Tim would put it. It is amazing that even during a time when the president and his cabinet are from the liberal party (which leans very much towards communism) that there are those within the government that can and want to help.
Thursday evening we were invited to dinner hosted my Dr. Rojas and his wife. He took the entire team, including Janet Hines, Mark and Lori Connell, and Marc and Terri Tindall, to a local steak house (I honestly do not remember the name of the restaurant, I had never been to it before). It was a great meal and several took advantage of photo opts with the congressman (rumor has it that he is considering a run for presidency down the road). To be honest, by the end of the day I was worn out from all of the meetings. Power meetings are physically and mentally draining. I was quite ready and relieved to get back to the hotel at 10:15 that evening to start packing.
So, another trip is under my belt. Lots were accomplished but so much more went undone. Mark Connell is heading up a team from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, starting this weekend. Marc Tindall has a group coming in just after that. The trips have begun and we are off to the races. For those coming on trips this year, I wish you God’s speed as you prepare. Always keep your eyes on Jesus and strive to walk in His ways in all that you do. With Him all things are possible.