Day 4 - Love & (In)justice

Posted on: 02/07/2017

Author: Bookhart, Wingard

As yesterday, we started the day at 6 am with announcements and devotions. Pastor Edwin reflected that the previous day's devotion concerned love. Today, he introduced the relationship between love and justice (or in many cases injustice) by summarizing the Biblical story of Job. The main character in the story experiences plenty of injustice (losing property, family members to death and personal illness), even his "friends" criticize and question Job's actions as he must have certainly done something wrong to deserve his misfortune. The question we ask is how can this injustice occur, it is certainly upsetting. How can we not be moved? How do we act in our communities? Do we act like Job's friends and blame or question others? Edwin challenged us that, as we encounter patients, to open ourselves up to their pain. We realize that we are incapable of completely correcting their suffering, but the important aspect is that we hear their story and let them know that someone actually cares. We arrived at the hospital before 8:00 and the surgeons began their rounds (checking on their patients from yesterday), then onto today's slate of surgeries. Yesterday, a mother of a young girl who was in the recovery room requested that I take a picture of them, along with a couple of local hospital staff. Edwin joined in as well. The mother wanted the picture to show her daughter in the future. However, the question was how to get the picture to her (the hospital does not have a color printer). Today, I uploaded the photograph to the FIP website and, through a team interpreter (Madeline), gave her the website address. The joy in her face knowing she could get this picture was priceless. During the day, a local volunteer named Gustavo and I spent some time in the "waiting room" chatting with several individuals. A gentleman named Santos had heard about this hospital through a friend. It was his first time here and he did not have an appointment, but needed to discuss a medical issue. He had traveled approximately 90 minutes by motorcycle to get to the hospital. A self-employed construction worker, Santos is married and has 3 children (daughters, ages 13 and 6) and a son (age 11). We also spoke with two sisters, who had 5 children between them, waiting for their mother who was in surgery. They had arrived yesterday on a "chicken bus" (technically, 3 buses) costing each adult 36 Quetzales (there is no fee for the children). The trip took approximately 2 hours. It was their first time visiting the hospital and it was their mother's first time having surgery. Both sisters worked as housekeepers, but since they lived in the country, they did not have work currently. Both sisters were married; one to a fisherman, the other worked in agriculture. When fish were in season, he could earn 400 Quetzales/week, though this was not a year round position. The other earned 50 Quetzales/day working in fields (corn, black beans). During our conversation, I asked Gustavo to see if the ladies had any questions for me. Their reply was one of gratitude for our group and thanking God that we were there. The term "chicken bus" is the American name for the regular bus people use to travel. It is a converted school bus that makes regularly scheduled stops. It is overcrowded, with some people hanging off the bus. The passengers' belongings (suitcases, produce, items for sale, etc.) are thrown on top. These buses are dangerous as their driving is crazy and potential for being robbed is high. Today's surgery tally: 3 hysterectomies (two patients also had a herniaplasty), 4 laparoscopic cholecystectomies (5 surgeries were scheduled for today, but one lasted much longer than expected, consequently the last scheduled operation was postponed until tomorrow) and 7 herniaplasties.