The Clinica de Esperanza in Honduras has been functioning for 10 years with 40,000 plus patients have been seen for free and given treatment and medication. I have been raising money in the states, providing my own funds when we are short and depending on Honduran employees to do as I ask and informing me of problems. We employ Hondurans as this also helps with the economics of the area so they can feed their own families.
Now that I live here; I see how I have failed in this. Just raising money is not what it is about. Making sure the funds for the program are providing the care expected is what is important. We have a caring staff that does their best with what they have. Third world countries live like this in every hour of every day as they often do not even know where the next meal is coming from. Yes, we need funds to exist but we would be more effective if funds were more specific. Truly, I mostly worried about medication and paying the salaries.
My failure was in only spending a month or two here every year. Every time I visit, I ask if everything is okay. Do they need anything? To my eyes the otoscopes and ophthalmoscopes and blood pressure cuffs appear fine hanging there on the wall. Not true in most cases. My list of things that are broken was over 50 as of todays’ date. It is alarming. This week alone I have tested every piece of equipment in the clinic, looked through every drawer. Attempted to fix what was broken but most is so outdated that no parts are even available for repair.
To administer a program, full time observation and direct involvement is necessary to see if equipment and project is working as planned. A full understanding of the differences in cultures is an absolute.
Global giving has been very helpful in raising funds but I rarely have internet available. So another failure. I do not find out about programs until it is to late or I am consumed with trying to help so many people that I do not find the time to work in the fundraising arena. To remedy this, I have put time for internet access on my calendar so I can visit once a month for this specific purpose in mind.
I am using my time to educate my staff on what is expected, teaching them how to repair problems, and how to communicate to me if they need help. In this culture it is not normal to complain about a situation so I gave them a sturdy speech that allows them to feel free to let me know what is needed so I can direct my fundraising towards the specific needs and better care for the patients.
We are preparing to launch a educational program in January for the community as they are not educated in prevention and specific ways to improve their health related to hypertension, Diabetes, infectious diseases and venereal diseases. The feeding program and importance of nutrition will also be discussed and information will continually be available in waiting room.
Currently we are meeting with local laboratories and medical supply companies to remedy these needs specifically. We are welcome to any other suggestions.
Serving Him with you,