Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Medical Clinic

I know I am late on getting this out but I will have to back track a few weeks. We had out last clinic on the 5th and it went so great. We have encountered some unexpected obstacles, but nothing that God can't take care of. We have always been a bit guarded about certain things in the communities where we have been working. Ever since last year we have had many other eyes watching us. The political party that is in power has many small groups of people that are like watchdogs for the government. They mostly watch for who is doing what and does it affect their control over that area. Needless to say we have had our first round with these "leaders" in the communities.
We were told that they have been holding meetings in the area to begin to regain control over the area. They removed all the pta parents that were not in line with their political party and put others in place...as just one example. At out clinic in June we heard the "good news" that the ministry of health was going to begin to do a clinic 2 times a week. We thought great!!! This is exactly what the people need!! After the news had spread throughout that day, people kept asking us if we would still come. I didn't understand at first but after talking with many moms I soon realized the problem. The local health dept. only has the means to write prescriptions and give the most basic of medicines. And I thought what we have is basic, but nearly everyone walks out with what is prescribed. We also found out that they have been very inconsistant in the past. Sure enough when we came to our recent clinic they had already not showed up the entire last week.
Anyway, the building that we had been using, with permission, all of a sudden was no longer available to us. They had decided, a week before the clinic, that we could no longer hold the clinics there and needed to leave. Many parents stood up against them and said that they wanted the "gringos" here. We began to hear word from our friends in the community about all that was going on and to not worry there were other places that people already offered. The Catholic church even opened their doors to us, as well as a few people's homes. It was so touching to see the rally of the community. We continued to reinforce to them that we are here to help them and not concerned about the politics, God will take care of it. Finally we showed up that saturday and they had actually opened the school to us, for that month at least.

We were not certain how many would show, if any, due to the politic differences of many and the manipulation of those in power. Slowly they trickled in. By the end of the day we had 55+ in all. Throughout the day many continued to thank us for coming again and you could see their fears of us leaving were put at ease.
What is hard to wrap our minds around is that even the little that we do is still an hour closer to their home and many dollars cheaper. They receive all meds and consult for only $1. And they couldn't hardly make it to town for that, let alone think of how they would pay for their meds. There have been several that have walked 1-2 hours to come. Even after doing these clinics for 9 months now, I can't believe this is how people deal with medical issues. There was one grandma, mid 80's, that walked with her grandson nearly 2 hours to come for the meds that she needed. She knew that we always have medicine and knew it wouldn't be a waste of a trip, when she could be at home working. She had told Roger that she had 6 children but 3 of them had passed away due to the fact that she couldn't afford meds. or even to see a doctor. These kind of stories break my heart.
I walk away from every clinic tired and hungry, but the feelings of being overwhelmed by each new story that comes through those doors and the satisfaction to see one more getting the meds that they have needed for days. It would be hard for even the hardest of hearts to not come and be moved to tears. I know we are not in the jungles of Africa and I do know that it could be worse, but I am so thankful for the opportunity we have to be a part of these lives and help in any way possible. It is so incredible the feeling of being so close to everything but in reality being so far away. You can travel 3 miles outside of town and be in a different time period. What a priveledge to help and be a bridge to help for the many in this small part of Nicaragua.