Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day! Mother's day here is a very big deal. They had a little production at the main school on Friday Night in Pina Blanco to celebrate the coming day. The kids did cute skits and parents were supposed to come. "Supposed" is the big word here, there were only a handful of parents there which seemed rather odd until the preacher got up and gave a 45 minute sermon in which (granted it was in Spanish but...) from what I could make out and what Jenny translated he was promoting more children, woman's place in the home (cleaning and cooking) and how much of a privilege that is. Now I might go along with the privilege to be a parent thing but the rest...I don't think so. This may have been known in advance and that's why only 5 parents showed up. At noon the men cook a big meal and they try to have meat. Woman still clean up, then the men go get drunk! The kids have off of school tomorrow also. Now I can't generalize it to all of Honduras but that's the way it's done here in Pina Blanca.

I have to say I was asked to par-take in the celebration at the superintendent’s home. He's the one in charge of the day to day runnings at the orphanage from the mechanical/physical side of things. When I walked in to their home the first thing I saw was a giant set of bull horns with cowboy hats hanging off of them accompanied by the sound of Elvis in the back ground singing country. In the mean time he asked me if I could look at his new son's umbilical cord so I said okay. Well they had just delivered a new boy 9 pounds a few hours ago and she was sent home already. They don't fool around here. You go in to the adult hospital after your water breaks and you leave as soon as you can stand. I suppose at the rate they are having children here the hospital would be full all the time and there would be no one home to cook if they had to stay 24 hours. Sorry for the sarcasm.

So I passed the lice test so far no critters but I'm still itching my head all the bloomin time and I started loosing my hair today because I've been scrubbing it twice a day. At this rate I won't have to cut it, it will all just fall out.

Speaking of I get pretty nervous here at night with everyone and their uncle carrying riffles and the drug trafficking that goes on at night compounded by the fact that I was told directly not to go out after dark. So I solved my problem and actually got a full night sleep! I brought "Rotan" in to sleep with me. He's a stray dog that hangs around orphanage. Yep he has fleas but what the hell I've got every other insect why not a few fleas. No I didn't let him on the bed....I do have limits.

Progress report on the clinic: We finally got it all cleaned up and all the crap out there. We mopped the floors and washed off all the furniture. The people here are pretty superstitious, none of them would help clean the room that the boy with AIDS died in a few weeks ago. I walked right in and started cleaning to try and show them it's okay. They just stared at me. People are really complaining that we threw out the termite and worm infested books as well. I drug a bunch of the muchachos down to take out the three termite nests. Really gross! Then we sprayed again with the diesel fuel and now it actually may be "move in able". I went back today to give it one more mob job with Clorox but someone stole my bucket. I think they thought if they steal the bucket I won't make them work:) oh and just so you know Sunday is regular work day here so I wasn't breaking any labor laws!

We made an unfortunate discovery today and will need to discuss the best way to handle it with Steven the director when he gets back. I was wondering about and noticed a small set of stairs. Oh course I went up them and found three locked felt kind of like one of those "choose your own adventure books" where you get to pick what to do next and then it sends you to some random page number that tells what happened.
When none of them would open I started to think of other ways to figure out what was behind them. You might say why not ask someone...because know one knows nothing here, if you get my drift. Jenny and I are constantly be sent from person to person for every little thing, a lot like trying to get through to someone from AT&T when you keep getting sent to a choose a number menu that ultimately brings you back to the number you called in the first place. Any who...back to the doors. Well because the place is termite infested I was able to peer through a few convenient holes on door number 1 and a gap in the wood panel in door number 2. I could not see a thing behind door number 3 because it was new. I actually was able to see boxes of clothes and blankets behind the first 2 doors. I cant' tell how old they are but peering through my little hole I don't think they are years of build up. I smell a rat. So I will have to keep you posted because the owner comes back next week and one the other family members comes back tomorrow. I have a feeling the office manager ( a separate person I haven't spoken of yet) may be hiding stuff up there. I'm nearly certain the owners don't know. Cause they just paid someone to make some clothes for the kids.

On the more medical side of things, we treated a bunch of people today but as is always the case word got around Jenny and I were here and a lot of wealthier people started showing up. We can't afford to treat them free when they are capable of paying and we aren't set up to be charging money. So we turned a bunch of non-emergent ailments away and told them to go the doctor that lives in town and charges 400 lempiros per consult...that's about 20 dollars.

A young man brought his son who had been a healthy 4 year old with apparently a great laugh that has been neurologically devastated for the past year secondary to meningitis. He wanted to leave him at the orphanage because he has 5 other children. Upon examining him we found good things and bad things. The bad was contractures in the upper arms and he has pneumonia. The good is he actually had decent strength in his legs, no lice and no scabies. We unfortunately had to turn the child away. We talked about it for almost an hour, the best approach. We felt that although it was hard for them he was actually not to bad off. He was clean and fed. If we took him he wouldn't be treated well by the staff because they don't take the time or care very much for the children they don't like. We are already having trouble getting them to care for our other developmentally delayed child. We felt sure the family wouldn't come back for him if we took him even just until the pneumonia was treated. And he needed physical therapy because he could walk if someone worked with him. That's what I'm doing with the little girl we have now. She's gonna walk I think but I have to work with her all the time. It is a bit of a foreign concept here. Children are kind of disposable. If they don't work right they just write them off. Now we didn't turn him out in the cold. There is a nurse in town who volunteered to get him to San Pedro where they can put him in an rehab program 3x a week. We gave them the medicine and a group of doctors from Virginia are going to help pay the cost of rehab. (the doctors from Virginia found him originally in a town 2-3 hours away and thought he'd be best at our little facility). Now I can't guarantee that the family wont starve him to death, but I also know he wouldn't do well here right now. Jenny who will be here long after I'm gone felt pretty strongly against keeping him. We think that because he looks so good right now the family probably doesn't have the heart to starve him and the physical therapy 3 times a week will keep him connected to a bigger medical facility then what we have.

Okay I could go on for hours, but it's dark now and I want to get home straight away.


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