Happy Chinese New Year from Belize! The local shop keepers all like to have dragons and fireworks and drums visit their shops on this special day. We are always in Belize to witness this event. Quite noisy and interesting to watch. Many gas stations, hardware stores and groceries are run by Chinese families.They work long hours and are quite industrious and ubiquitous in Belize. They have taken over several categories of enterprise here.
Our team gathered at the beach, as Joyce Paganamala, nurse practitioner from Boston, had to return home early.
Not pictured are Mark Wesseler and Rick Lisi who had a fish to catch in San Pedro Island and are trading their fun day to Tuesday from Wednesday and also not pictured are Rick Bauer CRNA and Dave Heileman, anesthesia repair technician. Our anesthesia machine team was in Belmopan this morning, the capital city visiting the last of five hospitals run by the Belize Government. Western Regional is a very busy hospital with many surgeries transpiring in their two operating rooms. It is hard for visiting teams to have the time and space, with that hospital taking call from a wide area for traffic accidents and C sections and the like. But, it was good to make sure that we could add what we could to support the safe running of the hospitals. It is not that things were in disrepair. Most machines were very well maintained. It is always nice to add another perspective and share ideas between US technicians and Belizean technicians to make all of us better at what we do. We will be leaving all the parts and equipment specific to these machines that Dave Heileman has been collecting and we have a new relationship to help supply these hard to find parts in the coming months and years that in some cases are not stocked by the manufacturer. In this way, we can help all the health care process of these hospitals in Belize.
John Kirby headed off to a TV show in Orange Walk to try to get more people to show up for the heart clinics in two cities later this week and all the villages and screening days for ear nose and throat as well as plastic surgery. The local media has been covering all the 16 villages we are doing over three weeks, and the many educational seminars for medical staff here in Belize. It took years to gain the trust and relationships to do this by invitation from Belize.
At breakfast, we talked about the girl bitten by a snake and how the crying of the girl with her Mom made those with her cry as well. Having compassion for those who are hurting is one of the marks of those who are following in the ways of Christ. He cried seeing the tears of Mary and Martha, even as he knew he was soon to heal Lazarus. Many of us are in the medical healing business and need to have that same compassion. Compassion without pity, but true compassion. Not shying away from leaning into the grief of those we minister to as we do our jobs. We knew the girl would be healed, as the antidote was administered within such a short time. We wanted her to know God’s love and our confidence of her healing, so we contributed to her soon to be huge B-day party at fifteen years of age. It is not at all unusual to see huge groups of people in the front yard having a big party that appears to be a wedding, but is actually a fifteen year old girl’s birthday party.
When we first started coming to Belize, we found a missionary a few miles away in Patchakan. His name was Wiley Smith and as someone from the USA he was able to translate many confusing cultural issues we faced in those early years. Wiley has moved to another country focus, but his legacy of a self sustaining clinic that charges reasonable small fees for the poor remains. Today the Village Team are in the clinic he helped to develop from 2000 to 2010.
So, after a day in a remote Mennonite village, we headed to a very Belizean village south of Corozal with this well maintained facility.
The Surgery Team is doing the last hernia cases but getting ready for the ENT and Plastics Team which will be screening for patients on Friday and begin surgery Saturday to Tuesday. As this team of fifty leaves, another team of sixty one arrives. Below Dr. Peter Arrabal is seen in the parking lot at Tonys getting ready for the surgery week back on day one.