A day with our outreach Dr
– This blog is written by Cyndi Armstrong – a volunteer helping change lives at El Ayudante.
When God opens the door for my husband, Dan, and me, it’s always an interesting journey. We have been involved in short-term medical missions to Honduras for the last four years, but always in urban settings. We have retired from educational administration (Dan) and public health nursing (me), but find God is not yet done with those gifts he gave us long ago. When we came to El Ayudante (thank you Jon and Helen Hovestol for introducing us to this special place!), we quickly fell in love with the rural setting and friendly people, both on the mission campus and from the small communities around it. So many ways to share His love in serving others!
When I heard El Ayudante had a second doctor serving on loan for a year from the Honduran Health Department, I wanted to learn more. Dr. Yael’s role is to complete health/environmental surveys from hundreds of the surrounding residents to determine health and education status, medical conditions, and environmental risks in the area. She invited us to spend a day with her, visiting the people in their homes to get a sense of life in rural Honduras. (She told us later that having the “gringos” along, made her job easier because of the peoples’ curiosity about us!) During the conversations with the village folk, she informed them about the mission’s clinic with its ability to diagnose and treat many of their common health concerns (high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy, dental needs, to name just a few).
- If a person had questions about her water filter, Dr Yael scheduled a follow-up check by one of the other mission staff to address it; when a woman said she’d been diagnosed with hypertension years ago but stopped taking medication for it because she couldn’t find or afford it, the doctor checked the woman’s pressure, found it to be extremely high, and made an appointment for her at the clinic. With another family, she alerted them to their home’s construction (the common porous, soft wood) putting them at risk for Chagas Disease. Bites from the Triatoma (Kissing bug) that can infest such structures can transmit the endemic and potentially life-threatening disease to humans. She explained if the bugs are found, they can be tested for the disease.
Visiting people in their homes always gives you deeper insight into their resources and needs. Comments we heard during our conversations centered on El Ayudante being a wonderful blessing to the area and making a significant difference in the lives of the local people. It’s so great to be a small part of God’s plan!