Wednesday, July 30, 2008

At the public hospital and prep work

Dr. Debra with a not so happy patient :-)

Dr. Jim in his exam room
All teams were in full gear today! Our two doctors, Debra and Jim were working in the out-patient clinic area at the public hospital. Debbie was seeing pediatric patients and Jim saw mostly adults.

Just some information about Honduras according to the World Health Organization:

probability of dying under 5 years of age:
U.S.: 8 per 1000
Honduras: 41 per 1000

probability of dying between 15 - 60:
U.S. : 137 per 1000
Honduras: 248 per 1000

Life expectancy at birth:
U.S.: male - 75 female - 80
Honduras: male - 65 female - 69

HEALTHY Life expectancy:
U.S.: male - 67 female - 71
Honduras: male - 56 female - 60

Also, Dr. Debra was able to talk to the primary physician with the out-patient area in the public hospital about death rates in the hospital. She noticed that there was not a ventilator in the pediatric area. Come to find out there isn't a ventilator in the entire hospital. All surgery is done with a spinal block, NOT under general anesthesia as there is no ventilator. Therefore, if a person or a child goes into respiratory failure, the best they can do is put a tube down their throat and try to get them to the hospital in San Pedro Sula (2 1/2 - 3 hours away), using manual means of ventilation, and not with a ventilator. Needless to say, most do not survive. Dr. Debra then made a comment, that probably 2 - 3 patients a month probably die because of this, don't they? The response that came back was staggering. Not 2 - 3 children die a month, 2 - 3 children die a WEEK because of respiratory complications, and there just aren't the means to care for them or increase their chances of survival because of a ventilator.

This information goes to further convince us of the importance of preventative medicine in the community. My goal has always been to set up a clinic in the outlying village to try and prevent these health issues to getting as bad as they clearly have gotten. It has been a true blessing to have this team here to help establish the way.

Carl, our surgeon, along with Aileen, have been hard at work as well. They had 3 surgical cases. They continue to be amazed at how different things are done, and how creative the surgeons here have become in using what is available to them. Imagine hand screwing screws into a bone. They only have the use of a drill for 1 surgery as it has to go to another hospital for sterilization. They have been truely thankful to have Carl and Aileen with drills for all their procedures - along with their expertise! What a blessing to the hospital. A neat thing was that Dr. Carl's wife, Francie was able to be in the OR with her husband. She is trying to "learn the ropes" so she can be a future assistant in the OR in the future.

Dr. Carl and Aileen in the OR

Finally, crew three of Devin, John, Madison, and myself busied ourselves with setting up and prepping for the medical clinic tomorrow. We are excited to see how it goes. More details about that tomorrow.

Devin and John also continued to cut, measure, and prep the wood for the construction of bunk beds for future teams! Woohoo!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a busy day for our team. We were separated into many different groups. We had two docs in the hospital in an outpatient area. We had one doc and a surgery nurse in the OR. One group (myself, and Madison and one from the team) walking the area we will be hosting the clinic in handing out flyers and evangelizing. Finally, we had another group on the town looking for wood to purchase to make bunkbeds. We came back in the evening from a dinner out, tired, but happy with our day. All ready to take showers, and we come to find out we have no water. Not an unusual occurrence, but with a house full of people, it's been a challenge! So pray for us. It's just "one more thing", but the comforts of taking a refreshing shower can't be over looked. We will pray that God takes care of those little things to make the team feel better. Today is the same schedule as yesterday. All those individuals spread doing each of their own things.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dinner with everyone

Dinner for 10. We are enjoying a time of fellowship everynight with our group of folks here for the week. It has become a a fun time of everyone pitching in where they can. I've prepared the menu for the week, and everyone slices, dices, peels, bleaches fruits and veggies, sets the table, etc. Tonight on the menu was spaghetti, corn bread, and salad. I've put a few "tipico" dishes on the menu, and a few items to remind them of home. I've also shared a few not-so-common fruits such as Lechees (think red and fuzzy). A "fun" find has been the branch of bananas that now hang in our kitchen to grab as you wish.

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Month Anniversary

As of today we have been in La Ceiba, Honduras for one month. It has gone so fast. Tomorrow we receive our first ever short term mission team. Much of what we have been doing is to prepare for their arrival.

We want to thank Anne Boyd, our friend from Scottsdale, AZ, for spending the last 10 days with us. We could not have done this without her tireless help.

All that was accomplished was made possible by your prayers, support and love. So here is a 3 minute and 10 second video gift from us to you to demonstrate what has occurred because of you:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Enjoying my Gardin

Each country, of course, hosts it's own type of foliage. I have already shown a picture of my immense lime tree. There are some beautiful flowers in my yard as well. I'll be planting some more as soon as our medical team has gone. They will be arriving in 3 days, so we are neck-deep getting ready for them. We have had computer problems, printer problems, we had a flood in our upstairs bathroom, our pump stopped working (need it to get water pressure to the upstairs), and more. I'm thinking that Satan is working overtime to try and make things as difficult as possible for us. However, we are up for the challenge! Anyway - one thing I have ALWAYS enjoyed in my house is houseplants. I LOVE greenery! We have been blessed with a beautiful yard (more pics later), but for now - enjoy the arrangement from my yard.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Walking in Armenio Bonito

An outdoor shower

Children in the area

Walking down some of the "side streets" of Armenio Bonito

Speaking with a woman in her home about the clinic

Today Anne and I walked in the area of Armenio Bonito. This is a very poor community right on the outskirts of La Ceiba. It's a 50 minute bus ride to the area. We hopped off the bus and started walking in the area passing out flyers for the upcoming medical clinic. Here are some pictures of the area.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just Sew Stories...

In preparation for our first incoming team, we are preparing many things for the medical clinic that will be out in the poor neighborhood. One of the things we need to prepare are privacy screens. As I have no sewing machine, and purchasing curtains are out of the question, we went on a search in the city for inexpensive sheets to make as screens. Instead, we found a discount material store and purchased children's fabric. However, now we had the dilemma of how to get them sewn into what we needed. So - the three women (Madison, our friend Anne, and myself) all got together and had a good old fashioned sewing bee. We hand sowed sleeves into 12 yards of fabric. Yes, that's 36 feet of fabric. We all enjoyed the time fellowshipping and watching a movie together. Doing things the "old fashioned way". Fun times indeed. Once the framing is completed for them I'll be sure to post another picture. We are now only a week away from the teams arrival.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goodie Bag

We have a friend here from Covenant Community Church in Scottsdale Arizona. Her name is Anne and she is helping us get settled and prepare for the short term medical team that is coming in 2 weeks. Before she came, the church that was sending her sent me an e-mail asking me if I would be interested in receiving a bag of medical supplies. It's listed as a "Millennium Advanced Trauma Kit". I said, "are you kidding?" I had actually had a number of similar bags bookmarked for "one day" items. They were dream items that I thought I would really like to have, but knew it was way outside of my price range. However, without even asking, the gift was offered. I feel so blessed that God has chosen many people to bless our lives in many different ways. A HUGE thank you to those who made it happen. I was like a little kid at Christmas time as I completely unpacked the bag and looked at all the goodies inside. And let me tell you - it's packed to the 9's!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Biggest Loser

As many of you know, Mike is the biggest loser in our family. As of today it is official. He has lost 50 pounds since we left the U.S. When we left for Costa Rica in August of 2007 Mike was the heaviest weight of his life at 235 lbs. As of today he weighs 185 lbs.

August of 2007

July of 2008

He has gone down four belt loops and his clothes are hanging off of him. The worst part about it all, is he eats whatever he wants…how annoying.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


My new frig and stove

Double sink for soaking in bleach

For the first time in a year, I have a "normal" size kitchen with "normal" sized appliances. In my apartment in Costa Rica I had a Barbi sized stove and oven, that was more than 30 years old. My refrigerator was also Barbi sized, and it shocked us each time we opened it. Cooking was a challenge. I have so thoroughly enjoyed having the "regular" things to cook with. I realize this seems like such a small thing, but it's HUGE in our household! I made chocolate chip cookies for the first time in a year! It was so much fun! Also, we have the pleasure of having a few fruit trees on our property. In our front yard we have a coconut tree that Madison has enjoyed taking down and opening up and drinking the water inside. In our backyard we have a small little avocado tree. Don't know if we will get any fruit or not. We also have a guyaba tree and a lime tree. However, this is like no lime tree you have ever seen! At first I thought it was a grapefruit tree, but after taking it off the tree and cutting it open - it is a lime tree indeed!

Another interesting tidbit - the tap water is not safe to drink. Even the Hondurans will tell you that. So - you must drink bottled or purified water. We have not been able to get out to the store to get water until today, so I've been boiling my water for 20 minutes on the stove, then chilling it in the frig for our drinking water. Also, all our fruit or uncooked veggies must be soaked in bleach water for 20 minutes before eating. Finally, after washing my dishes, I have to rinse them in bleach water as the last stage of cleaning! Nothing is "quick" around here - especially as no one has a dishwasher!

My grapefruit sized lime. Yum!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Whistle While You Work

Yesterday Madison and I spent six hours cleaning two rooms in our new house. It´s that dirty. Kitchen...check. Madison´s bedroom...check. The house hasn´t been lived in for months and months. So there is lots of dirt and bugs.

Yesterday we purchased 12 beds...two for us and 10 for short term missionaries to sleep in. This morning we have purchased a sofa, refrigerator and coffee table. We have priced and compared everything and are going to the least expensive stores. Mike is working his cheepskate magic and begging for and receiving discounts.

Got a big rain yesterday and noticed that the backyard floods pretty well. But, in that kind of rain anything would flood. One more thing for Mike´s to-do list. Today the internet is supposed to get installed and the workers are supposed to be done with the repairs. They still have a leaking toilet and a few other things to fix.

We will likely be cleaning fulltime for several more days. However, we think that Saturday will be our first night in our new place.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Atlantida Public Hospital

This public hospital in La Ceiba, Honduras sees nearly 200,000 patients each year. They are under staffed, under funded and they do not have the resources to treat all the patients. In addition, many of the patients don’t have the funds needed to pay for some of the basic services offered here. This hospital is where the poorest of the poor come to be seen.

One of our many goals is to provide services at this hospital. Our first medical team from the U.S. will be arriving in less then three weeks. This group of doctors and nurses will be working for several days at this hospital to provide treatment for the underserved.

Take a look at this 2 ½ minute video to see what Atlantida Public Hospital is like:

Monday, July 7, 2008


Just an update post.

Still no house - we are praying for the keys on Wednesday. That's the latest, but we shall see.

I'm changing my name. Sort of. Here, Erin is an unheard of name. Not Latin/Spanish at all. Many people struggle with saying it, and when they can say it, they don't remember it. Think of yourself when you have been introduced to someone with a VERY foreign sounding name. Odds are you mis-pronounce it, and you don't remember it. It's the same here. So - my mother - in some fore-seeing event - chose a Latin/Spanish middle name for me: Teresa. So - henceforth, around here, I will be going by that name. I've now come to introduce myself as Teresa, and said with a Spanish accent it sounds quite nice :-)

Washing clothes in buckets, cooking on an electric skillet, walking or taking taxi's everywhere, all sleeping in our little place. Those things haven't changed. We are getting accustomed to La Ceiba - where things are - where to get things we need. The weather has been on/off HOT. Today, for example, is a nice warmish day. No sweat from me yet. However, I AM writing this at 8:30 in the morning - so we shall see what the day brings.

That's it for now. More pics to come.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Here Is The House

For those of you playing the house game the winner was House #2
$550/month…on the largest and busiest street in La Ceiba (good – you can easily get taxis, bad – noisy)…4 bedrooms (master is HUGE and would be used as a dorm room), plus a loft…3 ½ baths…1 of the bedrooms is a separate building in the back with its own bathroom…2 stories…unfurnished…could house 20 short term missionaries with bunks.

We signed the papers, gave a deposit and provided a letter from MTW. We were supposed to get the keys this week. But, due to work that needed to be done on the electrical we will not be able to move in until late next week.

Here is a 5 minute tour of our new home:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Public Hospital

Today Mike and I went to the local public hospital to meet with one of the doctors there. Our intent is to build a long-term relationship with the hospital. This meeting was to gather information for the short-term medical team that will be here at the end of this month. They will be working in the public hospital for 3 days, then do a medical clinic in a poor neighborhood for the local children there. This hospital serves the poor, and would never meet any standard of care in the U.S. We toured the hospital, seeing all the primary areas - womens ward, mens ward, pediatrics, etc. It sure reminded me of what a true "ward" looks like (see pic). We met with several physicians and are excited to continue a relationship with both the hospital and the doctors. We plan on working a lot with them in the future.

Women's Ward

Meeting with Dr. Perez

Pediatric ward - the nicest area in the entire hospital