Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26, 2010 Today Is My Birthday

Today I spent most of my birthday doing paperwork to help poor families get FREE new block houses.  CEPUDO is donating these homes.  I say free, because they are free to the families, however, I need to come up with $650 for each house to cover shipping, gravel and sand.  They are cement block homes which measure about 15 x 20.  They have tin roofs.

This is a photo of Oscar Acosta Salgado and most of his family.  Oscar and his wife have 6 children.  Their oldest daughter no longer lives with them and at 16 has a baby of her own.  Their oldest son lives half time or more where he works.

Oscar had open heart surgery one year ago in May.  He had a valve replacement, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster.  She bought the valve for him.  The hospital kept telling him to come back later, come back later until finally he was about to die.  His legs were swollen, he couldn't breathe and he was in heart failure.  The valve had been purchased one year prior and they still and not put it in.  I finally threatened to call human rights and miraculously after such a long wait, the surgery was performed within a few days.

Oscar has some trouble working now.  He works when he can, but there are days, when he just can't.  He has a job and works when he feels good enough to do so.  Oscar is not lazy.  I can hear his heart valve clicking from across the room.  He says sometimes when he rides the bus people stare at him or they look to see if they can find where the clicking noise is coming from.

When Oscar could work full time, he built his family a house, but rains came and washed out the road in front of his house, no fault of his.  Then SOPTRAVI the Honduran version of National Road Works came and cut out in front of his house to build the new road.  They took away about 10 feet of his front yard.  

Then rains came again and washed out the poorly constructed road again, so they cut out another 10 feet of the hill in front of Oscar's house and took more of his front yard.  Having lost 20 feet of his front yard, his home now hangs precariously in the air.  The entire side of house where the cement covered the adobe wall has split, cracked and fallen off, leaving the adobe exposed to the elements.  The front of the house is now cracking.

SOPTRAVI were more than happy to build stone retaining walls for all the "rich people" up and down the road, those with government connections or those who could afford to hire attorneys, but Oscar and his family were left with no retaining wall, therefore their home started cracking and crumbling as their front year started sliding down the hill with each heavy rain.  

As you can see, they can barely pass in front of their home now.  They have more land behind this home so they have put their faith in action and cleared that land and flattened it for a new home, but Oscar and his family do not have enough money to buy that new home.  

You can see from the photo that it is just a matter of time before Oscar's house washes down the hill.  Oscar has terraced and placed rock retaining walls, top left under the edge of the house, but he and his family really need to move.

Oscar makes an average of 4,400 lempira a month.  His son gives him another 1,200 lempira per month.  He spends 1,750 lempira ($92.15) a month just on medicine to keep this 40 year old father of 6 alive.  This means that his family lives on $110 a month that is left over after the medicine is purchased.  I help them with food and clothing when I can and I give his son and he odd jobs when I can, but they need a miracle.  Last year for part of the year his medicine was paid for by a donor, but this year... it has been nip and tuck for this family.  

This was just part of my day today...  but all in all it was a great birthday...  I pray that someone will donate the $650 for Oscar's new home.  That would be the best birthday gift of all!  

Over the next few days I will share more families and their needs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25, 2010 Wheelchair Giveaway Mall Multiplaza Tegucigalpa With Teens From Black Hawk Church In Madison, Wisconsin

These two worked all morning putting together wheelchairs and sat down for a rest.  Thanks Jose Benavides and William!

The Madison teens quickly started practicing their Spanish.

Today I had the blessing of working with a group from Black Hawk Church in Madison, Wisconsin.  These teens arrived and straight from the airport they arrived at the Mall Multiplaza to help give away wheelchairs to disabled teens from Tegucigalpa.

Congressman Renan Inestroza and I made the presentation and thanked the people that sent the wheelchairs. Free Wheelchair Missions also arranged for the team from the USA to arrive and give away chairs.  The press showed up in force including television stations, radios and newspapers.  Normally we plan giveaways in very rural areas, but since this was in the major mall, the press showed an interest.

Soon the kids were passing out their Facebook Accounts and had made plans to write back and forth.  


One of the Madison based adults got involved moving foot pieces up to a better position.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24, 2010 Flea Market Find In Tegucigalpa

Today I did something I rarely do, I took the day  off to do nothing.  That is correct, I got out of bed, studied, bought a bagel and cream cheese instead of fixing breakfast and I did errands for me.  I looked for special paper to make cards... then I went to a couple of used clothing stores to buy old blue jeans and fun fabrics for CHEAP prices and then I went looking for old wooden chairs, tables and other wood furniture.  

What I didn't expect was to find a chandelier.  That was the last thing on my list of things to look for, but I saw it hanging half out of a black plastic trash bag on top of an old suitcase, behind an old dryer.  It was obvious that the man in "charge" of the sales had not a clue what he had stuffed away.

It was one of those TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE things, where you know it was MEANT TO BE. I calmly, as nonchalantly as possible asked how much it was.  He told me it was 50 Lempira.  I bought it and didn't even fight with him for a lower price.  (50 Lempira is $2.50 yes, you read it correctly, that is two dollars and fifty cents.)  My mom would fuss at me for not driving a harder bargain.  Even reading this she will be sure I could have bought it for $1.25 if I had just bargained.  

It was a dusty mess, the CRYSTAL prisms were hanging at wrong angles, several were missing, a couple were broken and all in all it was a disaster...  but it, like many sinners' lives was salvageable.  It just took some vision to see what it could become.  

I forced Jose to hold it in an upright position on the dining room table, while I worked on it for several hours, correcting all the mismatched pieces and attempting to restore it to it's former beauty.  Counting and recounting crystals to make sure each strand was the same length as the one next to it.  

My friend Ricardo is going to fix the one arm where the wire was broken, I ordered the few crystals that were broken from a contact in the USA and they will arrive in a few days.  It is always nice to know an electrician!  

Where am I going to place it?  I am thinking of hanging it outside under a large overhang above where a wooden table will go when I find one.  Don't laugh, it will be beautiful!  I am going to paint the yet to be found table in SHABBY CHIC style and then sand off the edges to make it look old.  I am also looking for old wooden chairs and they don't even have to match each other.  I sure wish there was a Canton Flea Market in Tegucigalpa.  

I love being a missionary in Honduras, but one of the things I miss is the ability to go JUNKIN' with my mom!  My dad will breathe a sigh of relief that it will not be stored in his garage until I get around to shipping it to Honduras.  I love you mom and dad!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 17-20, 2010 Ear Nose and Throat Surgery Team In Choluteca

Some of these photos are a little bloody so if you get queasy, it might be better to move on to the next blog.

This ear has been repaired several times and now is beginning to take the form of a normal ear.

In surgery...

Another ear having had several surgeries... and close to being finished...

Isn't he cute?

This was the result of a machete...

The team and some of the patients.

Volunteer, Dr. Mark Zafero and one of the patients...

Another one of the patients...

Three of the nurses from Hospital Del Sur who help us on every trip to the hospital.  
They are wonderful!

Genevieve and Gabby Burgoyne left and right with one of our long time patients.

Genevieve and Gabby Burgoyne with another patient.

This young doctor volunteered and helped our team.

Posing before a surgery.

Anesthetist Will always volunteers when our teams are in Choluteca.

Four other patients waiting for surgery.

This is the mother of one of the patients.  I want you to take a close look at her feet in the next photo.

Yes, she has two un-repaired club feet.  
I am praying for an orthopedic doctor to join us on one of our trips.
Now you know why.  There are lots of cases like this.

He has had a surgery where some of his rib was implanted to make the frame of his new ear, stage one.  This time we go on to stage two.

Look at that smile!

This little pumpkin is a future patient, this time his older sister went under the knife.
These children need to be at least 8 years old to start with the surgeries.

He is so active!

Dr. Mark Zafaro and a patient... the team brought toys with them for the patients and lipstick, nail polish and eye makeup for the local nurses.  

This is how many of the ear repairs start out... just a stub!

Dr. John harvests from the ribs and then forms this to place under the skin.
He draws the patients "other" ear and then tries to match it as best he can.

Then he tries it out to see how it looks...

Every ear is different.

Showing off his chest scar after the rib harvest.

Dr. Mark Zafaro with one of our favorite patients.

A tumor was under all of this... 

Sonia Lovo left, started as an interpreter for our teams when she was 10 years old.  Now she is in medical school and still working with us.  Dr. Mark zafaro center, a volunteer doc from Honduras on the right.

Thyroid, too big but soon to be out...

I know it looks very bloody, but there was no gauze in the hospital to clean it off before the photo...
This is the next day after the surgery and he is ready to go home.

Two more of our precious patients.

Dr. John Burgoyne with one of the patients.  Dr. John has been such a faithful volunteer with SMART Teams.

Dr. John Burgoyne and Dr. Mark Zafaro working hard.

One of our favorite patients.