Sunday, January 31, 2010
We have quite a group assembled! There are 49 volunteers grouped into 6 teams:
• the Surgical Team (17)
• the Village Medical Clinic Team (15)
• the Portable Ultrasound Team (1)
• the Construction Team (4)
• the VBS Team (7)
• the Logistics Team (5)
We have 10 doctors, 1 nurse practitioner, 11 nurses, 2 pharmacists, and other gifted and talented members. The majority of the team lives in Cincinnati, OH. But we also have participants coming from northern Ohio; Indianapolis, IN; Greensboro, NC; and even Sacramento, CA.
This is the first year with a team of one. Dr. Frappier will be training 8 doctors how to use a portable ultrasound, the first such equipment in a government hospital in Belize. This equipment will enable better diagnosis and treatment of patients who do not have the funds to go to private practices to get this type of service.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Belize is bordered to the south and west by Guatemala, the north by Mexico, and the east by the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean coast is lined with a coral reef and some 450 islets and islands known locally as cayes (pronounced "keys"). They form the 200 mile long Belize Barrier Reef, the longest in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. Three of merely four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere are located off the coast of Belize.
Once a part of the Mayan and briefly the Spanish Empire, it was most recently a British colony known as British Honduras. Belize gained independence in 1981. It is considered a parliamentary democracy. The Belizeans elect a prime minister who leads the government. English is the official language, however, most people here speak Spanish. Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language.
Agriculture is the main industry. Across the country, sugar cane grows as far as the eye can see. Sugar accounts for nearly half of all exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. Tourism is a growing industry. A combination of natural factors - climate, the Belize Barrier Reef, excellent fishing, numerous rivers for rafting and kayaking, jungle and wildlife reserves of fauna and flora, as well as, many Maya ruins - support the thriving tourism and ecotourism industry. It also has the largest cave system in Central America.
Unfortunately, Belize is a very poor country. About 50% of the people here do not have access to doctors, nurses or hospitals. Two-thirds earn less than US$4,500 each year. And most children suffer from malnutrition. Our objective while here is to help as many Belizeans as possible through medical assistance including checkups, vitamins, medications, and surgeries, as well as, home construction and vacation Bible school.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Dr. Jay Logeman asked for permission for several years to start this trip. It was his vision and persistence that brought us to Belize in 2004.
There were 23 people on that first mission trip. They did village clinics in conjunction with St. Elizabeth Hospital, built a house in San Victor, and offered to do surgery at Orange Walk Hospital.
While the surgery team was not active for several years, the village clinic continued each year. This team asked the government to assign the same villages each year. This, along with other changes, has improved the health care in the villages.
The house team has built houses each year in San Victor since 2004, and in some years they have built more than one. This year, a handicapped man named Ishmael that has assisted the building process in previous years as best he was able, will be the happy recipient of the 11th house.
Dr. Mangat, Dr. Logeman, Dr. Kerschner, and Dr. Devore returned in 2007 with a full team of nurses and anesthesiologists. They had hundreds of patients come to their selection day and performed over 4 dozen surgeries. This has continued each year since.
The Horizon team grew from a consistent 23 the first few years to 50+ the last three years. The last three years have also included training other churches.
Currently there are 5 churches sending 3 teams. They will serve 12 villages for clinics, build houses, perform surgery, and reach out to the communities. A total of 369 person weeks will be donated to Belize at the end of this seventh year!
Final preparations occurred at today's meeting.
Each of the teams met to discuss what is necessary to prepare for what is ahead.
The different teams include: the surgical team, the village medical clinic team, the construction team, the vacation Bible school (VBS) team, and the logistics team.