Officially Moved In:
Peter kept telling me time and time again that I wouldn’t have to worry about being bored while down here and he wasn’t kidding…at all. I’ve been officially moved down here for over 2 months, and I’m not entirely sure how we have accomplished as much as we have already in those quick weeks! We went from recovering from the world tour, 52 hours of straight travel from Uganda to Guatemala, to working with the kids on Thursday and Saturday, to starting clinics twice a week so far, to having 2 kids live with us. Yup, that’s right, I’m called Mama Donna. There are a bunch of people I consider a mom to me and even 2 people in my life who are called Mama…Elaine and Ruth. But now I’m considered a mama. These kids came to breakfast one morning and gained 2 moms and a dad by that evening. They had been coming to the house frequently, especially once their grandmother who takes care of them ended up in the hospital with a broken knee and these 2 kids were on their own. Their lives have never been easy by any means. In fact, they can’t really catch a break. They have been through so much abuse and hardships, one right after the other. It just breaks my heart as they continue to talk about their past and what all they have been through. We had discussed the possibility of having them live with us temporarily, but it never seemed like the right time. But the morning they came for breakfast and said about what might happen to them soon, we decided in that moment was the right time to try to take them in. We talked to their grandmother, aunt, and father and got the go ahead to have them move in with us. The following day, we took them to the autosafari. They had a great time seeing the animals and swimming. It has been an adjustment for all of us to have 2 kids with us, and that’s probably a big understatement. But, it was a God thing how it all fell into place. It happened fast, but there was no way to say no.
In the midst of all the craziness, I swear I did take some time to chill…ish. Whether it was Satan not happy with the work we were doing or about to do, or God’s way of saying, “Dude, slow it down a bit,” I have had my share of illnesses since arriving. I had gotten sick in Uganda and was pretty out of it for a few days while there. My GI tract hadn’t been right since then and finally just downright revolted. After some antibiotics, I felt back to my normal self. But then our son, Manuel, got a cold, shared with the rest of us, which turned into an ear infection for me. Again, antibiotics and back to normal. The latest issue has been because a blasted little mosquito. Who knew those little turds could make you so sick! For those of you who haven’t heard, I got dengue fever. And it has officially whipped my keister. It has been 2 weeks now since getting sick from it, and I am slowly getting better. But even just the littlest things totally wipe me out, make me dizzy, or cause a headache. But can honestly say, I have the most amazing friends. They have been by my side the entire time taking care of me, putting in IVs, giving me meds, getting anything I need, praying with me, basically carrying me when I can’t even walk, and doing everything for me. They have been so patient as I have really been struggling with this whole thing. And they certainly know me well and how to put their feet down to make me do what I know deep down that I really need to do, but pretty much suck at: resting.
So far, we have 2 clinics established. We have it worked out that I evaluate and treat about 25-30 patients each clinic day. Some days, I end up seeing more patients as they sneak in or want to be seen along with their child. We see anything from a cough, to a UTI, to diarrhea, to vomiting nonstop, to being a bit more complicated and needing to be sent for further labs or tests. We have had a number of really sick kids with pneumonia or RSV who normally would be a slam dunk admit if they were in the States. But instead of going to the hospital since that's not really a feasible option for most here, I’m giving neb treatments, cough meds, antibiotics, and telling them to come back the following day for a recheck or at any point if the child gets sicker. Thankfully, they have been making a big turnaround. I even had to put an IV in a pretty sick 4 year old a few weeks ago. First pediatric IV I had done since leaving Reading, so it felt a little weird. But all went well, and he perked up after some fluids and nausea meds. Poor kid was whiter than me before all of that. Ha. And I just saw him this Saturday at kids club. Thankfully, he forgives quickly and doesn’t hate me for having to poke him with an IV. He was back to his chatty self. Quite a few weeks in a row, we diagnosed some people with new onset of diabetes. Thankfully, we have IV supplies and could give them some fluids to help bring their sugars down to at least below 600 for the glucometer to be able to read. Obviously, it’s a pretty big shock to them to find out they are diabetic when the reason they came to clinic was because they thought they had a urine infection or they were having trouble seeing and were tired.
We have done quite a few house calls…at all hours. There was a nasty GI bug/flu/dizziness virus going around and hitting everyone pretty hard. What was tough was when you couple that virus with someone who is diabetic. One person was heading towards DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) and would have been admitted if in the States. He had already vomited over 30 times, kept vomiting while I was putting in his IV and giving him his first liter of fluid. Finally, the nausea meds kicked in and by that evening, he was ready to try to eat something. By the next morning, he was able to sit up and looked so much better.
On Thursdays, we have the youth come to the house and have a Bible study. During Holy Week (week before Easter), we gave Bibles to the youth. It was great to see their reaction. They were so thankful and humbled. Each one wrote their name in it and when they received it. Now we have them read the passage for the following week ahead of time and they are working on learning the books of the Bible. On Saturdays, we have kids club outside in our backyard. We do a Bible story, singing, activities, and games. Before Easter, we had a water day with the kids. We filled up 2 pools, filled over 120 water balloons, had an Easter egg hunt, and played water games. It was fun to see these kids just be kids and not have to be responsible for their whole family in that moment. A lot of these kids come from pretty rough experiences. It’s not easy by any means for these kids. But when they come, they can just be kids and learn about Jesus in the process. No matter what happens to them, we just pray they can take away what we have been teaching them and apply it to their lives no matter where they end up.
We have some big projects happening! We have jumped right in as far as fixing up things…but they were long overdue. We are getting a whole new roof for our mission house. Hopefully soon, we won’t need buckets to catch water and the termites will no longer have a party every day with the beams! We need to make another bathroom at mom’s house for patients to use when they come for clinic. We are in the process of buying wood to start building shelves for Mayra’s clothes, make bookshelves, and bunkbeds. We are gearing up for groups to be coming…as soon as next week! Anyone is welcome to come down and help and visit. Just let me know when you would like to come and we will work out all of the details!
Huge thank you to those of you are supporters, have supported us in the past, helped in any way, and especially for those of you who are praying! Thank you doesn’t even seem like it’s even close to being adequate enough. Honestly, we are so humbled. We couldn’t be doing this without you guys being partnered with us! You guys are making a huge difference in so many lives! We are always open for more supporters or any way you can help! If you would like to donate, just click on the donate tab on this website and it will redirect you to the appropriate site to be able to give your tax deductible donation. If there is another way you would like to help…including fundraising, just contact me and we can work it out! If you want to visit, like I said before, just let me know! We would love to have you and we’re so excited for those who have committed to coming already! So come join the fun!