My Story | by a Healthcare Professional Working in a Central American Country
March 24, 2020
Of course, everything is a bit on hold right now. So far I’ve only seen an official count of two cases of the coronavirus documented here, and so we’re several weeks behind most of you. The country has had a bit of a different approach to the virus. Last weekend there was a government planned march – “Love in Times of COVID19.” Hundreds of people gathered to march together and support one another, and that’s about all I’ll say on that one. Thankfully, I am starting to see measures taken to actually avoid the propagation of the virus. Our international Christian school has switched to online classes. Other non-governmental organizations have suspended their activities.
I’ve been seeing masks out and about, and on Saturday I was greeted by a worker at the grocery store who squirted alcohol gel into my hands and wiped down my cart handle as I entered the store. So far, our stores are stocked, and I have a decent supply of food (and the ever-important toilet paper).
Please pray for the local people. Water is only piped into many of the rural communities twice/week. They pack 55-gallon drums onto their horse-drawn carts to collect from a community well and use for the next several days. That makes hand-washing challenging. Even in my own house, my water is currently off, and I’m running off of the storage tank in my backyard. Additionally, most people here live day-to-day. It’s not customary to plan ahead, and they may or may not have a refrigerator to store meats and vegetables.
Yes, I have made the decision to hunker down and self-quarantine, as have my teammates. We recently met over Zoom for a time of prayer together, and we’re checking in with each other whenever one of us makes a grocery run. Trying times are coming for this small country that is still attempting to recover from the economic losses due to the socio-political unrest. I do believe I have been called here to physically and emotionally assist my partners as well as spiritually, and so I do appreciate your prayers.
According to the New York Times, New York State has roughly 5 percent of coronavirus cases worldwide, and New York City, a disease epicenter, has over 25 percent of all COVID-19 patients in the U.S.
I’m working the respiratory screening clinic at our critical access hospital/clinic. Personally, this medical crisis has actually acutely resolved my feeling of burnout.
For years and years the media has tended to sensationalize every little thing, which is making it very hard to hear the voices that are sounding a REAL alarm. We doctors don’t tend to be alarmist.