Sunday, March 1, 2015

ABC Updates

Kemmel and Cesar have been working hard to get us ready for our first round of well-child checkups for the ABC program.  We have two spring break teams from Harding University and Oklahoma Christian University coming this month to help.
We kicked off the checkup season on Saturday in Chuchipaca II, with Sheri.  She also laid down the law on hand washing, letting them know that a fouth of their medical checkup points would be at risk at their next appointment if they had long nails or dirty hands.  That got everyone's attention!

J.E.--At 6 years old, she already knows what she wants to do someday--"I want to be a doctora."

Kemmel has  also working with the local coordinators and scholarship students to plan out the tutoring program for this year.  While we have seen a definite decrease in kids failing out, we are always looking for ways to encourage parents and kids to take advantage of the tutoring sessions.
Our local public schools are overpopulated and are lacking in books and study materials, and in our area, kids are struggling with Spanish as a second language.  We see so few excel in school, and those who want to go on to University are poorly prepared to pass the entrance exams.
So we keep plugging along and trying new ideas and incentives!  Kemmel and Cesar have been organizing the scholarship students to sign up for a community that doesn't have graduates and provide homework review sessions for kids. Be praying for inspiration and patience as we work to change the culture of education around here.

W.Q. growing up and studying hard.  His family puts a lot of importance on education. 

4x4 Cervcial Cancer Screenings

Iglesia de Cristo building in La Palma
Since starting the cervical cancer screenings in the communities, we have been getting calls from other churches asking for the service.  Sheri has been going out to local ladies' classes and giving the low-down on cervical cancer and prevention, and then asking them to get list of interested folks. As soon as they have 15 on the list, we program a clinic.

The last clinic we had was out in La Palma--way out in the mountains.  We drove an hour and 40 minutes, taking the newly cut side road to the church building--well, almost to the building.  We still had to haul our stuff up the hill about 25 yards.  But when we got there, the men of the church greeted us and said, "you sisters go on up, and we'll carry the stuff--don't worry."
Packing it down after clinic.  The kids helped out too.

The building is small and basic, but clean.  No electricity and sometimes no water.  But we had windows and flashlights to get the job done!
Water can be scarce sometimes in the dry season.  They were prepared for us though, with enough to fill our sterilation buckets.

Mobile Gyn set-up--very handy, except when a few general consult patients come in.  That always gets a few wayward glances!

We were treated like royalty, provided with buckets of water for our sterilization process, and after seeing patients, treated to a steak and beans and rice and tortillas lunch with soft drinks all around.  I am always blown away at how hospitable and generous people are even in the humblest of churches.  What an honor to serve with these brothers and sisters in their communities!

Enrique and Maria's family minus their oldest (recently married son).

I Once Was Blind...and Now I Drive!

A. is a patient out in one of our mobile clinics.  He has been diabetic for years and for the last two years began to suffer with very advanced cataracts. He was completely blind except for faint light perception.  Several times we tried to get him referred to visiting ophthalmology teams, but each time his blood sugar was too high to operate.  So we finally convinced him and his family to add insulin to his regimen.  Well, he got the sugars down, and was able to get in with the Project Salud y Paz team in nearby Camanchaj.
That was in November.  Ever since his surgery he has been openly praising God, the Salud y Paz clinic, our clinic, and telling anyone who will listen about his recovery. He is always sitting patiently on the "waiting room" porch chatting it up with the other patients and re-telling his miracle story. I think his testimonies are the reason for the sudden surge in patient census out there the last couple of months. 
Saturday he came by to show me his insulin bottle which was looking pretty cloudy.  We decided on a trial of time without insulin to see how he does.  Normally he comes with an entourage of family members guiding him and making sure he's okay.  This time he drove up himself in his pickup! (Of course we talked about going to get his vision checked before getting his license renewed--but he's "very careful and drives slowly on the backroads only!") How wonderfully free he must feel to have his sight back.  Thank you, Lord for your mercy!