What an incredible year it has been, culminating in our June 2015 trip! Once again we are overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and care of our Paraguayan family and friends!! Thanks to the support we have received over the past year from friends and family and to the support we received from the Drexel University On-Line Nurses and the staff and clinicians from SouthEast Lancaster Health Services we were able to:
- ship over 1,500 pounds of medical and educational materials, new and gently used clothing, soccer gear, painting supplies, household items, and children's books
- repair and paint 2 pediatric units and install air conditioners and heaters in each room
- repair, paint, and decorate 3 classrooms in rural schools
- donate children's books, written in Spanish, to "grow" a rural school library
- donate drawing and art supplies and classroom supplies to rural schools
- donate medications for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension to rural health posts
- provide diabetes and hypertension screening and education to rural communities
Participants and staff learned about healthcare disparities and about the challenges of providing healthcare in a country with limited resources. We learned, in a very personal way, the meaning of "cultural humilty".
This year our group consisted of 24 participants and staff. We had a phenomenal time sharing our love of Paraguay. First-timers to Paraguay were introduced to mbeyu, milanesa, mate, terere, sopa paraguaya, chipa, bori-bori, just to name a few. They participated in a traditional Fiesta de San Juan, traveled to Itaipu and Las Cataratas, explored the capital of Asunción, fell in love with the campo, and enjoyed the music of Paraguay.
It is difficult to capture in words the impact of this experience on both participants and OutreachPARAGUAY staff. As directors, we hope to bring needed and sustainable services to vulnerable communities. We also invite participants and our Paraguayn hosts to sit at the same table, share a meal, a drink, stories, and laughter and learn about each other. We hope the lessons learned from Paraguay travel home and change lives, if only in a small way...