Last month I had the privilege of hosting a small team from Health Bridges International for a few weeks to visit all of our different Girasoles homes. At each of our seven homes the small HBI team provided medical and dental care to the Girasoles boys. We took everyone’s height and weight to track their physical development, and we did a lot of finger pricking (some were easier than others) to check for anemia. I even had my finger pricked at one point. Those of you who know me also know that this is no small feat!
Measuring height and weight in Ica
David being examined by a dentist in Ica
The HBI team and Girasoles boys from the Sacred Valley
José in Kusi, showing off his unique smile after recently losing baby teeth
We also had great success in networking with the local healthcare systems to start the process of vaccinations for all of the children at our homes. In Peru, the government provides vaccinations such as tetanus/diphtheria and Hepatitis B free of charge to all children. Normally almost everything is taken care of by age five, but many of the kids in our homes do not come from a normal background. Almost none of them have any type of documented medical history, and we have no way of knowing if they have received the proper vaccinations. Thankfully we found local points of contact in the health systems for many of the homes and as the vaccinations become available the kids are receiving them. I’m glad I’m not still around to watch that!
Karen & Marcelo in the Sacred Valley
HBI is also helping us with the larger project of developing an electronic database system for all of the children in our program. Our goal is to be able to have not only a uniform system of record keeping across our seven homes, but also to use that system to be able to track individuals’ growth, development, and other social and psychological indicators to be able to better elaborate a plan for individual attention for each of the children placed under our care. We are really excited about the possibilities and thankful for our partnership with HBI.
Discussing findings with the HBI team
This was definitely a whirlwind type of trip. We visited all seven homes in 19 days! The trip came at an opportune moment. Now that I have taken more of a direct role in the administration of the Girasoles program it was a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with each of the house directors and to learn more about their successes, difficulties, and struggles as we learn to work and grow as a team. As always, it was also a wonderful time to be able to visit all of the kids in each of the homes. It is a blessing and a privilege to see how God is working in each of their lives and to see the ministry that our staff are carrying out on a daily basis.