My experience volunteering with Predisan
By Faythe Silveira
Every trip I’ve made as a volunteer with Predisan is better than the one before. You’ve heard of the dream vacation. This is the dream mission. All those who have gone before us have laid the groundwork and set an example of recognizing need and acting on it. From Doris Clark, to Dr. Amanda Madrid, to the dedicated board members, builders, doctors, nurses, interpreters, pastors, teachers, counselors, health care promoters, and support team. Every Predisan employee, that I have met, mostly Honduran, are of the highest integrity, and very committed to those they serve. I’m grateful for the relationships that have deepened with each visit. They support us in every way and each trip compels me to want to become more involved.
I came back from my day’s experience feeling that this was the most rewarding 8 hour, bone-shaking, teeth-rattling drive and almost 7 miles walk through the mountains I had ever experienced.
This year, on my 4th surgery trip, we had more nurses than we could accommodate on our general surgery trip. Go figure, our secret is out. The nurses are lining up to come experience what has been happening on these trips. Our team worked like a well oiled machine and we did 56 surgeries in 4 days. I came fully expecting that. We were well staffed, and Predisan had provided the usual doctors, nurses, interpreters, and support staff to work alongside us. But what I hadn’t planned, was that in addition to helping with pre-op and post-op, God was calling me to the mountains this year.
Each year we kept hearing stories of the “mountains” our patients come from for surgical and medical attention, and how Predisan helps provide prenatal care and a safe place for women to deliver their babies. We have been filling our suitcases with baby clothes for their prenatal care incentive program.
What a joy to accompany Celia, Frank, Mariela, and Diana to the mountainous area to the eastern part of Catacamas, to Agua Caliente, La Union de Capapan, Las Flores, and to one of the most remote areas served by Predisan, Palmera, to see the lengths that Predisan goes to to ensure the health of the underserved families in the eastern region of Olancho. We talked and laughed on the way of our similar visions, goals, and challenges as nurses. Their mission today was to check in with the primary care clinic to make sure that things were running the way that they should and discuss an addition to the building. I continued on with our driver, Angel Paz, and Health Promoter, Modesto, who’s particular mission today was to bring in two pregnant women who were close to their due date.
We as humans were created to give and receive love. This love we have received from God is what motivates us to serve as God called us. Yes, we are giving love, but the love we receive in return is just difficult to put into words.
We went a good long way until we reached the school at Las Flores where two pregnant women had been instructed to wait for us. We were told that they weren’t ready to go yet. We kept going, over the rivers and through the muddy trails until the Land Rover couldn’t cross any further. The neighbor told us that Orbelina wasn’t home. We kept going by foot. Modesto even offered to carry me across the final river on his back. Thanks for the sweet offer, but I was prepared to cross barefoot if needed. In the end he gave me his boots and we crossed to the empty house. Still not dissuaded from his mission, Modesto led me to the next house, where we found Orbelina and her sisters with their children at their mom’s house. We sat and talked with her about how, though she had delivered her other 2 babies at home, she could still face an emergency that could potentially take the life of her and her baby. After a story of my own mother’s hemorrhage when I was born at home, (hence my name, Faythe), she agreed to make the long trip back with us to Catacamas and the maternity home to await the safe delivery of her baby. She said what was most difficult for her was to leave her “Chiwines” (children). Oh a mother’s love. The other pregnant woman promised she would come in a few days. Orbelina came with 2 simple grocery bags of belongings. One with clothing and the other with vegetables. We dropped her off at the Maternity Home in Catacamas and showed her around her home for the next 2-4 weeks.
I came back from my day’s experience feeling that this was the most rewarding 8 hour, bone shaking, teeth rattling drive and almost 7 mile walk through the mountains I had ever experienced. Now I had received a glimpse into what they mean when they say our patients come from “way up in the mountains” in some of the poorest areas.
After we arrived home to Virginia, I received word that she had arrived at her last clinic appointment with elevated blood pressure and with the baby in distress, requiring an emergency cesarean to try to save the life of the baby. Just now, 1 week later, I found out that the baby is healthy and being discharged. Orbelina will be reunited with her baby today. She recorded a beautiful message to me. She said thank-you for coming all the way to her house to bring her and for showing love and respect for her and her baby. I am humbled to have experienced this journey with the nurses, Modesto, and Orbelina.
We as humans were created to give and receive love. This love we have received from God is what motivates us to serve as God called us. Yes, we are giving love, but the love we receive in return is just difficult to put into words. Once again, I return with a heart overflowing. If you haven’t experienced this, maybe a trip to serve with Predisan or giving of your financial support is just what the doctor ordered. As children of God, instead of building a wall, let’s work together to make Honduras a better place to stay.