MADISONVILLE, KY (11/30/12) — On November 2nd 2012, a SurfKY News article detailed a trip by two local residents, Jan Dixon of Brook Hollow Catering in Nebo and Jesse West of Jesse West Photography, who traveled to Central America on a mission trip to aid citizens of Ocotal and Talanga in Honduras. (click here to view the full article). The mission was set to provide relief with medical supplies, school supplies, clothing donations, and food. The trip had a profound effect on West, as it did Dixon herself the first time she visited Honduras to do mission work.
Dixon and West left the US, headed to Honduras this past November 7th and returned home one week later on November 14. West had initially planned to accompany Dixon to assist her in whatever way he could. His service contribution turned out to be more substantial than he first anticipated in merely lending a helping hand.
The people of Ocotal and Talanga, unfortunately, don’t have anything comparable to the medical care or government assistance offered in the US, nor are they afforded the same education or career opportunities. The Ocotal free clinic was opened by Aaron’s Mission and Outreach (AMOR) approximately one year ago. There is only one physician working there to provide medical care for all of the hundreds of people in the region. Further information about AMOR, the clinic, and their work were detailed in the previous article.
Clinic founders and missionaries, Reverend Darrell Dakin and his wife Darlene, along with Dr. Glenn Gonzalas and volunteer workers who support the clinic, have been successful in the past year at providing medical care for up to 50 patients a day at no cost to the patient. Dr. Glenn works daily in the clinic for a salary of $250 per week. Hopkins County citizens contributed substantially to funding the November trip by general contribution and fundraiser attendance. Dixon expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the support of the mission there. The contributions ultimately assisted in paying Dr. Glenn’s salary for the year. Further contributions and support for the January trip will be greatly appreciated as well.
SurfKY News spoke with West this past week to inquire about his role in the November mission and how it has impressed upon him to do more. He discussed that it was personally rewarding and fulfilling to work particularly in the medical clinic. He said that, while being a firefighter means acquiring training and skills in some medical aspects such as first-aid and CPR, he has never been interested in doing any medical work as a career.
West got involved in assisting Dr. Glenn at the clinic in Ocotal because, he said, “Over there, the concern for the patients is so genuine and patient care is most important. The first question Dr. Glenn asks a patient is what their chief complaint is. The first question we get asked in North American clinics is, ‘Who is your insurance provider.’” He recalled that he fell right in with Dr. Glenn and the patients at the free clinic.
According to West, Dr. Glenn saw potential in him that the clinic and patients there may benefit from as well, saying he possessed a somewhat greater than average knowledge in the medical arena and may be in a position to aid in the clinic. West modestly discredited his own medical knowledge or skill other than what he’s learned as a firefighter and went on to concede that a caring heart and warm bedside manner mean the world to a sick person who needs care. He admitted that he provides those qualities more so than medical knowledge. He expressed his passion for the people in that region of Central America and the mission itself and is excited to continue providing support for them.
During the upcoming return trip in January, West plans, primarily, to further assist Dr. Glenn in the clinic, assisting in any way that he is able to accommodate. He explained that there has been an outbreak of a harsh flu virus there, and he and Dixon plan to take as many bottles of Robitussin that the luggage embargo will allow. Like Dixon, who has been doing mission work in Honduras for the past several years, West will be serving as a liaison between the clinic and the US.
He was able to apply some of his medical knowledge during his November mission, telling SurfKY News a story about assisting in treating a 12-year-old girl, who went into anaphylactic shock after eating over 20 pieces of wild fruit. West and Dr. Glenn assessed the girl and decided to rush her to a hospital that was miles away. It was only by chance that a pediatrician specializing in anaphylaxis was even on duty and able to treat the girl. West said that the specialist is only at the hospital once every two weeks or so.
After the incident, West determined he wanted to try to raise enough money to purchase supplies for an emergency medical kit for the Scott Fair Clinic. He hopes to include EpiPens, oxygen, and other emergency medicines and supplies to have on hand at the clinic.
Currently, his focus here at home is geared to the gathering of resources from local distributors to take on the January trip. “The primary expense in these trips is in the shipping costs,” he said, adding that shipping costs for one bag weighing up to 50-pounds costs $150 to ship to Ocotal; however, the value in the relief it provides for the patients at the clinic is immeasurable.
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