Oct 12, 2020

Getting Ready for 2021

Typical Honduran sink and source of drinking water
Typical Honduran sink and source of drinking water

I am opening this report with some reluctant honesty: When COVID hit us in full force back in March, I did not expect our uncertainty and “new normal” to last this long. I guess I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but it wasn’t this. It wasn’t trying to plan for a 2021 trip that may or may not happen. It wasn’t having to tell our friends in Honduras that we don’t know when we’ll see them again. This has been a tough year, no doubt about it, but here are two things I’m thankful for:

 

  • Our friends in Honduras are safe. Johns Hopkins University reports that there have been over 82,000 documented cases of COVID in the country, many of which are located in the major cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. While there are cases in the rural areas, to the best of our knowledge, Valle Arriba and its surrounding communities have been spared. That said, it’s difficult to know all of the details from that area as Hondurans are in a state of lockdown. You can only go out shopping and doing essential things once a week, so this makes getting supplies to, and information about, these communities difficult.
  • The water filters continue to be a huge positive force in people’s lives. In one village, the clinic nurse loves the filters because he sees that the people living there are healthier. Having clean drinking water during a pandemic is so important because people know they aren’t getting sick from their water and that reduces their worries just a little bit. There’s one nearby village of 110 homes that needs filters, though, and we’re already thinking about how we can get filters to each one.

 

Throughout the uncertainty of COVID, we continue to plan for our trip in 2021. We don’t know what it would look like, but we’re strategizing about how to fundraise for filters and medications and how we can continue to help the people in and around Valle Arriba. Thank you for partnering with us!

Jun 2, 2020

Helping Our Friends During COVID-19

Inside a patient room at Clinica Rosa
Inside a patient room at Clinica Rosa

Our lives have changed quite a bit over the past three months.  Most of us have a new routine, one focused on social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting our exposure to a virus responsible for the deaths of at least 370,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

 

While many of the COVID-19-related headlines cover the United States or Europe, the virus is also spreading in the developing world.  In Honduras, there have been over 5,000 confirmed cases and over 200 deaths (again, according to Johns Hopkins).  Many of those cases are clustered around San Pedro Sula, the country's industrial capital.  But in talking with some of our contacts, there are cases in and around the areas in which we work.  The country is on a lockdown and citizens are only allowed to leave once every two weeks.

 

The grim realities of life during a pandemic are particulary acute in places like Honduras, which lack health care infrastructure, access to medications, and medical personnel.  This reality is compounded by international travel restrictions put in place by governments and other institutions (such as universities).  Our own trip, which was scheduled for this past 10 days, was cancelled.  This means that we were unable to visit the people in and around Valle Arriba, treat their medical conditions, provide medication, or test their water quality.

 

However, just because we were unable to travel to Honduras this year doesn't mean we couldn't help.  Partnering with groups from across the United States, we were able to send over $8,000 in supplies to Clinica Santa Rosa de Lima, located in nearby Nuevo Paraiso (about 5 miles away, as the crow flies).  We coordinated our efforts with Dr. Daisy, who helps to run Clinica Santa Rosa so that they received what they most needed, including medications and PPE.  This clinic is important for the people in the area because it has better facilities and doctors than any other nearby clinic.  

 

Without your support, these kinds of efforts would not be possible.  We thank you for your kindness and generosity in these difficult times, all the while looking forward to next May when we can once again meet or rural Honduran friends in person.

Feb 25, 2020

Getting Ready for May

The Moroceli Valley, where Valle Arriba is located
The Moroceli Valley, where Valle Arriba is located

Hi All,

 

Just quick update as our team is getting ready for our trip in May (just three months away!):

 

Besides clean water, we do a lot of work with diabetic and hypertensive patients.  Last year in Valle Arriba, we saw 21 diabetics (7.1%).  While the rate of dibetics in Valle Arriba is a bit lower than here in the US, it may very well be increasing (about 5% of patients in Valle Arriba had diabetes in 2016).  Almost 11% (32 total) of patients in the village have high blood pressure.

 

These chronic illnesses are serious and play a significant role in how people live their day-to-day lives.  By providing these patients with medications, we can help them go about their routine with as few interruptions as possible.  Our goal is to provide between 6-12 months of medications for chronic illnesses.  This means that these medications will last until another brigade is able to visit Valle Arriba.  Also, we make sure each diabetic patient sees our endocrinologist and is adequately trained on how to use their glucometer.

 

Finally, we're going to be bringing clean water to a nearby community, so be looking for more details in our next report!

 
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