This past Thursday after work was done here at the hospital, I headed out with Dr. Ted Beemer and his wife Susan (a nurse anesthetist) for a mobile clinic on the very east coast of the country. Of all of our mobile clinic sites, this one is definitely my favorite! First we had to drive three hours (more or less) eastward to the beautiful city of La Ceiba, which is right on the north coast of the country, and there we stayed at a hotel near the airport. At the wee hour of four o’clock in the morning, we got up and drove over across the street to the tiny Ceiba airport. We were the only ones there except for one guard, and we soon found out that the plane would leave at six, not five!
So at six’o'clock we gave the attendant our re-useable tickets and boarded the fifteen-passenger plane. As we taxied down the runway and I tried to get my seat belt to click, I noticed the pilot had his window open. Thankfully, before we took off he closed it, but I never did get my seat belt to work. The next thing I knew, I was waking up with a view over a blanket of white clouds. I fell back asleep, and soon we were coming in close over the shoreline, where vast water spread out in one direction and small shanties dotted the land in the other direction. Then I saw a red dirt runway, and school children in white tops tucked into navy blue pants or skirts walked along the side of it, as well as men on hand-peddled bikes who were previously lobster fishermen but had been injured and became partly or totally paralyzed in the legs. In just one hour I had traveled to a different world.
We came to a smooth landing and, upon exiting the plane, gave our passports to a man in an army uniform with the biggest gun I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s because he was rather small, but it crossed from his shoulder to below his knee and looked about as heavy as himself. Besides the two men in army uniforms, there were some other people asking us if we needed a taxi ride and others waiting for the five other people on our flight.
We didn’t have to wait even a minute before we saw Katrina waiting for us with the Gator. Katrina and her family have been missionaries there in Puerto Lempira for many years now and work at the orphanage Casa Esperanza (Hope Home). We threw our bags in the Gator, jumped in the back, and headed down the dirt road full of potholes. Only a few minutes later we arrived at Hope Home, where we would stay that night. I barely had the chance to get out of the Gator with my bags in tow before two little boys with big, glowing smiles came running over and threw their arms around me. What better way to be welcomed?! They greeted me cheerfully, and I told them I was going to put my bags in the room, and I would be right back. As soon as we put our stuff away, it was time to head over to the hospital with Katrina and Jess (a volunteer nurse at Hope Home). We took with us mugs, hot water, and instant coffee to have some breakfast before clinic started, and we also brought homemade yucca cake. This, friends, is seriously THE BEST FOOD EVER. I know that I have a lot of favorite foods here, but this definitely topped them all (and the best part is that it’s so simple — basically yucca with milk, eggs, and cinnamon and sugar). So with all this goodness in tow, we gatored down the dirt road through the town until we came to the hospital.
This hospital would hardly be qualified to be called a hospital by most people that I know; the building is simple and run down, and the hygiene is extremely poor. But this is all they had, and we were going to make the best of it. There, Dr. Marianne was waiting for us with a long list of patients ready to be seen and with her translator as well, who would translate for us from Moskitio to Spanish for the patients from the rural areas who didn’t speak Spanish. Marianne has lived there in Puerto Limpera for many years, having a clinic at Hope Home as well as having her own feeding program with about fifty children at her house, plus eight Honduran boys of her own. Every so often she brings patients over to us in San Pedro for surgery. We are very grateful for her partnership and ministry to the people in this part of Honduras (and some from Nicaragua as well). After yucca cake and coffee, we began seeing patients, some who had already been operated on at CURE and some new patients who needed operations. Slowly by slowly we continued through the day, some patients doing well and some that no surgery or treatment would heal, ones only to be healed with prayer. Dr. Beemer saw about forty patients in all, about eight hours in clinic. It was a successful day over all, and we were ready to go have fresh seafood soup at Marianne’s house (on the beach) about two miles across town, along with her many precious feeding program children.
Originally posted at: http://annagracehaas.blogspot.com/2012/07/san-pedro-la-ceiba-puerto-lempira-la.html.