It rained all day, but we set up our portable medical clinic anyways. The people were waiting for us when we got there. Some of them had been walking since the sunrise, about 3 hours earlier. It was a long ways for them to come, especially since these were the sick, elderly, and pregnant residents of the island, but it was still much closer than the nearest hospital. The hospital was a very expensive 2-3 day trip. This was a pleasant walk in comparison, on the only road that winds around the base of the volcano they call home on Ometepe.
There are babies everywhere you look on Ometepe Island. It has one of the highest ratios in the country.
We were asked to make a couple of house calls for the patients who were too sick to come to the clinic. Michelle offered to run out for a "few minutes" and see to those people. She didn't realize that it meant hiking part of the way up the volcano with her heavy medical bag for about 3 hours and that the number of patients needing to be seen was actually closer to a dozen. She did it all with a smile because that is Michelle's way of doing everything in her life. We know that she was the right person for this job because she shares that joy with people in the worst circumstances. One of the most heartbreaking things was that these people were in so much pain and couldn't afford to even buy ibuprofen they needed. We want to continue supplying medication monthly for this group of elderly. Let us know if you are interested in helping us with this need by clicking here.
The medical team from The Summit Church last year consisted of 10 people-8 nurses/doctors who could see patients and 1 pharmacist. This year's team had some last minute cancellations and only 4 people were able to come-3 of whom could see patients and 1 pharmacist. God brought it all together though and gave us Amanda Bessler, a nurse who is living in Masatepe and working for 2 years. We also recruited a pediatrician, Angelina Ramos Mercado, from Iglesia Bethania to help us for the week. This brought our total to 5 nurses/doctors doing consults in the clinics (3 less than last year). Somehow this group of 5 saw MORE patients than last year's medical with a final total around 1070 for the week in 5 different locations! We don't know how this was possible...We prayed about it (and stressed a bit), but God multiplied their talents and time to make it enough. He multiplied the medicine and made it go far enough for everyone too. We are so thankful for this group who took on an impossible looking challenge. We also recruited 2 Nicaraguan nurses (Diana and Jennifer) from Iglesia Bethania to handle the medical exams and triage. It was the first time that we worked alongside the local doctors/nurses in our clinics. I think that we both learned a lot from each other.
Aside from doctors and nurses, we had a crew of about 15 volunteers doing registration, translating, directing traffic, set-up/tear down, evangelism, etc...They were all amazing! Several people gave their hearts to Christ for the first time this past week.
Dr. Mike Merrill brought his portable ultrasound machine and was able to diagnosis some very complicated conditions. He is the reason that this team was so organized and efficient!
Kathryn Nagel shared her pharmaceutical knowledge with Stacy all week as they filled prescriptions. Thanks to her instruction, we can continue to help people with medicine throughout the year. Kathryn kept her sense of humor even when dogs, cats, chickens, and pigs wandered into the pharmacy area.
Wendy Richardson not only cared for patients, but she also prayed with them individually and counseled them on making healthier choices for their lives. She raised additional funds to give to individuals who needed it as well...like the young girl from Masatepe who desperately needs glasses....or the family in San Antonio who doesn't have any food and is suffering from malnutrition...or the young mother from El Menco who can't produce milk for her baby and needs formula....or the 7 year old from San Marcos who most likely has leukemia and needs further testing. Please keep these individuals in your prayers as we continue with their follow-up care.
Sidney Branham got to know Genesis for the first time in July of 2016. She came back in July of 2017 and decided that she wanted to do something to help this little girl. She went home and worked with her mother to raise the money to buy Genesis a new wheelchair. The medical team brought it with them and we had the privilege to present it to her. Genesis is so thankful and we are so impressed with Sidney's huge heart to serve others.