Map of the Americas

Map of the Americas
We are using this map to find our way home. We will be marking where we are in big fat red marker like Indiana Jones. (map idea courtesy of Blake Golden)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Venezuela at Last!

So I have arrived in Venezuela, and all is well. In fact, I do not believe things can be much better. Last night we celebrated a family member´s therteenth birthday, and it almost brought tears to my eyes. After we had finished supper, all the lights were turned off except for the sole candle lighting Andres´s birthday cake. Our family was crowded around him and everyone sand the Spanish version of Happy Birthday. The song had many verses and then closed in verses with a similar tune of the Happy Birthday song we all know. I looked around and Francisco(the head of the house) and Andres´s mother had shed a couple of tears, as well as Andres himself. I believe the song showed everyone in the room how much family means to each other. Maybe I am reading into this too much, but I have never seen anyone cry before while singing Happy Birthday. It was pretty damn moving.

Anyway, enough of the sappy stuff...I was excited today because I got to see my first three patients!!! One patient had carpal tunnel syndrome, and I gave her a brace that should alleviate the problem. Another patient came in with her 5 month old baby, which I believe has the beginning of croup. It was exciting to giver her advice about when to go to the hospital, and why the child was coughing. The mom also has a history of anemia and has been extremely tired recently, so I got to order all the blood work needed to diagnose what type of anemia she may or may not have. She is coming back in a week or two to discuss the test results, and hopefully I will not have to use a translator when she returns.

I also got to see what I am going to be working with for the next year. There is a slum at the base of the mountain called San Pedro. We are not yet sure what the needs of the town are, but we know the families have poor medical care and terrible sanitation. The slum has a manageable population. We walked around the area, and I estimate there are probably 100'200 families that live in San Pedro. Being the eternal optimist, i believe the sky is the limit with respect to what we can accomplish. HOpefully we can raise enough funds to buiild a medical clinic and setup a primary health care program. There is a very sturdy barn in San Pddro that could easily be converted into a medical clinic, pharmacy, school, and whatever else we need. It is very large, but would need a lot of work. Hopefully we can setup a good medical clinic by the end of the year, and if it sees enough patients, the government will hire a doctor to run the clinic permanently. All these are dreams right now, but Francisco and I both believe the dreams are attainable. He has worked for twenty years with the poor in Venezuela, so if he thinks the dreams are achievable, then I should not doubt him. We are not going to make any plans for the San Pedro Project until Cooper, my friend from Birmingham, arrives in Carorita on Tuesday. Then hopefully we can start the planning. Anyway, I am very excited because Francisco and I are going to hold a clinic in San Pedro on Thursday. I am sure I will have much to write about on Friday concerning San Pedro.

All right, this blog is long enough right now. I must say, I apologize for not putting pictures on the blog yet!!! I swear an Apple IIgs could produce faster Internet than the computer I am using. After Cooper brings a flash drive, pictures will come. So wait until next week.

To close with something funny, I was out last night with my friend and roomate Emilio, and I went to meet some of his friends. We had a great time last night, but at one point he introduced me to one of his friends, and his friend said his name pretty fast, and I didn´t quite catch it. I tried repeating what he said in order to learn his name, but apparently instead of repeating his name, I said the a word for the female genitalia. All the boys starting laughing, and Emilio told me what I had done. It was pretty darn funny.


p.s. In case you have not gone to Jason´s blog, I recommend it. It is also pretty darn funny!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clean water, clean water, clean water...You're an excellent human being.