My I am behind on posting here. I suppose I can attribute that to having more than one job to do, but as with many things in life, it is just an excuse. If it was important enough I would have made time.
It has been raining off and on pretty much all month. I had just chalked it up to freak weather...until someone actually asked me "so, do you think that means winter has come earlier this year?" Winter in April? It may seem odd to those reading this in the USA, but "winter" as it is referred to here, usually starts in mid to late May and is marked by the beginning of the rains here. So now I wonder...has winter just come early? I particularly wonder today as I went to go run...and it started raining. One of the great things about Teguc is however...if you don't like the weather, just go a different direction. It poured here, but I wound my way through another twisty part of town, and escaped it for six of my seven miles.
So...more patients being seen in the eye clinic in the past week or however long it has been since I posted. Never a dull day when I am there, and I am usually busy for at least four solid straight hours, some days even more. Eight patients in four hours is not a lot for seasoned docs, but I feel pretty good about my schedule, especially since we take time to educate the patients, talk to them, do a fairly comprehensive exam....and that I have yet to have what I would call an "easy" patient. I suppose that is good in one sense...more foreign bodies, central retinal vein occlusions, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, allergy, dry eye, corneal abrasions and retinal issues are very educational. Oh wait...I also have to deal with helping people with glasses too, which is common enough but is also sometimes complicated by other issues, cataracts, etc. Fixing those things is sometimes doable...and sometimes not. Finding adequate care for surgery, for treatment, for many things is either not available or too expensive for the patient to afford it. We help where we can of course...but what we can not do at the clinic sometimes requires creative solutions for complex problems. Rabbit trail here related to eye patients: A Jehovah's witness gave me a tract as we finished our exam. I found that to be funny and appropriate given his point of view.
We spent last Saturday night in the mission house since we had to fumigate the house we are renting. This house is such a blessing that although not exactly our responsibility we wanted to do it not only for ourselves but trying to take care of the house itself. So...now no more small, medium, large...black, gray or brown ants, spiders, mosquitoes, and a much decreased visible presence of termites. The first night back was hard since the kids had a reaction to the spray (we left for over 24 hours) but after that it has just been bliss to not open foods and find more unsolicited protein included. Staying at the mission house was great for making a big list of things to fix before the next group arrives in May. Unfortunately it also gives me pause to think about two more groups cancelling this year due to lack of interest. I attribute one to the negative publicity the country received last year with those wacky political happenings, and the other as a side effect of people wanting to help in Haiti...and only in Haiti at present. God is in control however, and although it is saddening news...I know it is for the best in His way, even if all I can sometimes see are the lost opportunities they would have brought. We still stand at nine for the year however, so it is not as if all groups have lost interest....praise God!
We unloaded another clothing container this week. The ministry is struggling to be quite forthcoming...clothing quality issues, cost increases that will be coming on shipping, and our cramped facilities all bring different difficulties to the table, but the bottom line is that although the ministry work is still going strong...the financial side of things (for us, and for the pastors and ministries being maintained through those sales) is right now not doing so hot.
One of the ways we are hoping that the ministry can continue but not be something that the pastors are so dependant on is by finding other ways to generate funds by the Churches themselves. In Sampedrana that means coffee for the long term, which we plan to continue and expand....and as well this week we continued the process since 2008 of spending the proceeds from the Hill Climber coffee we sell before we have actually sold it all.
A piece of property became available in San Juancito that we had to jump on...for coffee production, as well as for the water that comes from that property to continue watering the plantains that Oscar is already partnering with Jonathan on to help him raise some more financial income. Good news indeed...and now we can firmly say without a doubt that all proceeds from this year and likely almost all from next year are already well invested. The leaders of the Church will soon start work to get that property cleaned and ready for planting and taking care of the coffee there.
(seen here...the very old, very rickety mayor's office where the prior owner of the property assists the clerk in the very modern computer system of organizing property ownership to our name)
So Cecilia and Soren were invited to a birthday party on Sunday by a sister in the Church. I have to admit...I believe I might be becoming anti-social. #1...I have a problem leaving the house because I am not working. #2...I am just not that social of a guy, my ideal time of fun is not to go hang out at somebody's house that I know but do not know that well. Sometimes that is not the case for some people, and generally I have the opposite attitude for having people over at our house. All that to say that I knew I was going to have to go, and was not dreading it but not looking forward to it, and finding that it was a Hannah Montana theme I instantly knew that Cecilia was in fact going to have a very good time (which after coaxed out of her very thin shell she did) and then got to see Soren act as I was thinking but too mature to act. It was one of those moments
And one last picture from the clinic today as I went to briefly say hi to Camilo (the dentist) and found him working on...well, some sort of prosthesis that he makes for his patients (dentures? Give me a break...I work across the hall and although I admire dentists for what they do...it is the one area of the clinic where I have not worked nor do I have any desire to do so.) He uses this base material which he heats with the fire you see there (alcohol for fuel) and looked like an artist in they way he worked. Very cool.