Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bolivia Update: "Arco iris" God's promise of hope

Read this story from Leta of how she was able to comfort a young girl while Hospitals of Hope Bolivia saved the girl's mother.

hospitals of hope leta in boliviaAs we rode back to the hospital in the ambulance, returning from doing checkups in the community where our paramedics are stationed, I got a call on my cell phone. It was Jose, the paramedic we'd left back at the post, while Pablo drove us home. "We need the ambulance now," he told me. I told Pablo to stop the ambulance, and we all, with the exception of two EMTs who were with us, piled out. The ambulance turned around, sirens blaring, and we took a taxi back to the hospital.

We had barely arrived back at the hospital when we heard the siren announcing the ambulance's return. Soon it appeared, followed by a pickup, its bed full of people. They both pulled up in front of the hospital, and the paramedics and hospital staff started unloading patients. The most severe appeared to be a woman with her arm bandaged, blood covering her clothes.

As hospital staff and volunteers attended patients in the emergency room, I waited outside. A little girl, about six years old, was sitting alone, sobbing, blood stains soaked through her sweater. She only had a few minor scrapes, but her mother was the one with the injured arm.

I sat down next to her and put my arm around her as she sobbed. She pulled up her sleeve to show me her scrapes and told me, "My daddy will fix it. He has band aids!" She told me that their car had overturned, and that her puppy was really scared. She sobbed out her fear when she told me, "My mommy's arm is hurt, and I don't know how to cook!"

We have a children's illustrated Bible story book in the hospital, and I got that out and started to read to her. Listening to the story of the creation and the fall distracted her while we waited. As we read the story of Noah's ark, she pointed to the rainbow -- an "arco iris" in Spanish -- and told me, "My name is Iris -- I'm named for the arco

We waited for what seemed like hours, while the doctors worked on stopping her mother's bleeding and re-bandaging her arm. "Don't worry," I told her. "The doctors are doing everything they can to help your mom."

"Will they give her a new ear?" she asked. I hadn't realized it, but her mother also had a head wound.

"We'll see," I said. "They're going to do the best they can."

Finally, the emergency room doors opened, and interns began rolling her mother's gurney toward the operating room. The doctor came out and spoke to the other family members who had arrived, telling them that she needed surgery, but that she would be fine. Iris's aunt came to get her, but before they left, Iris and I prayed together for her mother and for her family.

This morning, I saw the doctor who was on call last night and asked him how the woman was. He said that the surgery had gone well. I asked him about her head injury, and he said that, while the gash was near her ear, her ear itself was fine.

As I walked outside of the hospital doors, Iris greeted me, a big smile on her face, and ran over to give me a hug.

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