Clinic was hectic again this morning with 40 more patients coming from Juacuapo Occidental, a village about 1.5 hours away. Our lunch was pushed back again, this time to almost 2 p.m., and the Nicaraguan nurse started doing consults for the doctor, so all the patients could be seen.
A huge win was the increase in women agreeing to have PaP tests done. We had six today as opposed to only one yesterday. There seem to be a number of cultural factors contributing to their hesitancy to have this important preventive test done. The doctor had asked me yesterday to give a “speech” (with translation of course) on the importance of PaP testing. Today’s group included a lot more young women and teens, hopefully an indicator that the attitudes toward healthcare are shifting.
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Also, our patient with the leg wound returned to have her dressing changed. It seems to be improving every day and she is happy to make the trek to the clinic, even in her old age.
We also had the privilege of having a malaria lab technician with us. He collected samples from 33 patients which he will take to the lab and examine under the microscope. Malaria is fairly uncommon in Nicaragua, however, cases in rural areas still pop up. This testing required us to take the temperature of every patient in Celsius! This caused quite a problem when we realized we only had Fahrenheit thermometers. After some time of digging around in our clinic bags we found one that would switch to Celsius. Phew! That would have been too much math for this mission team!
The ability for our clinic to do malaria checks and the PaP tests was made available by the ministry of health workers (MINSA). These services are a testament to the power of collaboration in this venture. We would not have the ability on our own to provide this level of care and MINSA might not be visiting these communities at this time were we not already there asking for their assistance.
Overall, we saw between 55-67 patients today (there were some discrepancies in the counting-like I said, it was hectic). 🙂
The construction crew continued their work on placing and securing rebar and digging more ditches for footings. We actually poured a little concrete today – a sign of progress.
I was thinking about our work in this place more generally today. Some people would look at a remote community like this and say, “What’s the point? Why go to a place like that? The need is so great, what do you even hope to accomplish?” And I’m reminded of the great sacrifice that Jesus made, when he came down from glory, to this place, our world. Yet, he did come. And he did live. And a lowly life at that! But he knew from the foundation of the world that his purpose was to redeem us and bring us back into right relationship with God. His coming, the incarnation, is the reason why we come. He came to us to bring us back to himself out of love. Our mission is a reflection of the incarnation of the Christ and that truth humbles me and fills me with gratitude that we have a God who has set the example, and given us the ability and privilege to follow him.
– Anne, on behalf of our Nicaraguan Mission Team