Dr. Anne Ruch, foundress and president of SewHope, arrived a week ago and is working with a small team on jornadas or medical clinics. So far the team has spent 3 days in our clinic in Santa Ana, 1 day in La Libertad which is located about 45 minutes from us, 1 day in Sayaxche which is located about an hour from us, and 1 day in Poptun which is located about 75 minutes from us. You could picture our clinic as the hub of the wheel and the other villages as points on the circumference.
Then we took a trip to San Cristobal which is located about 5.5 hours south in the mountains. There is a hospital here where surgeries can be performed. That has been our dedication for these last two days.
All of these days have been devoted to health care for women.
The team consists of Dr. Anne, gynocologist; Dr. Holly Little, fourth year resident in gynocology; Dr. Lauren W, a second year resident in family medicine; Carmen, a Guatmalan nurse, and Orfe. It is the task of Orfe to intake the patients, Carmen assists Dr. Anne and Holly and Lauren. Carmen also serves as a translator for our patients who speak a traditional native language. Then there is Ismael who does all the lugging and driving and problem solving to keep the team going!
This is the first trip where the new patient records program in being used fully. The team has been able to have Orfe at the intake station on the program while the doctors in two separate rooms can also access the online files from their computers or ipads. The program works in English and Spanish. This has moved our medical team forward by leaps and bounds. Special thanks to our friend Jim Skon, professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University outside of Columbus, OH, who spent time here setting up the program for us.
Though sometimes I am present at the clinics, I am not involved in the medical aspects. I try to be a support to the team and to the patients and their families.
I spent time in the San Cristobal hospital with the family members who were waiting for the surgeries. And I visited other patients as well. I try to bring hope and comfort in my presence.
This is one year old Ferdinanda. Don't you just love her pigtails!! I told her that her pigtails looked like bunny ears. I called her my little bunny. Her mother and the other mothers in the room thought that this was hilarious! I know one verse of one song in Spanish and it happens to be about a bunny, so I sang the verse several times.
These two little guys were waiting with their mothers at the hospital. I had a pack of cookies. I would hold out a cookie at my side acting like I didn't know that I had this cookie and the little guys would run up to this American and grab the cookie and run back to their mothers who were smiling at the funny faces I was making at their children.
The husband a women waiting for surgery was not allowed to stay with his wife in the women's room. He even slept on the ground outside the hospital for the night. When it was time for his wife to go for surgery, I went outside and took his hand and led him to a place in the corridor where I knew the gurney would pass so that he could see her before the surgery.
It is the simple things that matter. I may never see any of these FRIENDS, but I know that we will meet again in a place called heaven and it is going to be a great family reunion!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012