Sunday, May 7, 2017

Home-Made Pedialyte and Saving Kids Around The World

Home-Made Pedialyte and Saving Kids Around The World

Chris here. I still get tears in my eyes every time I look at the photos and story I’m about to share with you... It’s a bit long, so hang tight... It’s a tale of long-term missions, saving little kid’s from death, and the power of what we (the Lord + Lori + I + our supporting mission partners) are ‘doing out here’...

‘Child Survival Missions’... it’s an area of Christian health-care missions that focuses on outreach and education to prevent the un-necessary death of children birth-5 yrs of age in the Developing/Least-Developed regions of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports:
  • 5.9 million children under the age of 5 years died in 2015.
  • More than half of these early child deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable interventions.
  • Leading causes of death in children under 5 years are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, birth asphyxia, diarrhoea and malaria. About 45% of all child deaths are linked to malnutrition.
Lori and I have been working in Child Survival Missions since 1991. One of our focus-areas has been reducing deaths and long-term health impact in children with diarrhoeal illnesses. WHO tells us, “Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing around 525 000 children every year” (WHO, 2017).

Over a quarter-century, we have developed a significant number of teaching strategies and educational tools to convey knowledge regarding prevention and treatment of diarrhea/dehydration, including the making of ‘home-made Pedialyte’ with water, salt, sugar and citrus fruit (available in the poorest of regions of the world). Last count, the materials we’ve ‘built’ have gone out to around 40 countries, in the hands of missionaries and health-care workers, all to save these precious little one’s from the Enemy Diarrhoea in a way that honors the Lord (check out Deut 23:12-14... God actually cares about preventing diarrhea!). This ‘ORT’ (ORT = Oral Rehydration Therapy’; that’s what home-made Pedialyte is called in the literature) has shown to save most of the kids from dying of dehydration from diarrhea (WHO, 2017).
Well, we can add the Philippines to the list of ‘where in the world’ these things have blessed people!

A good nursing colleague of mine, Brian De Guzman RN, was organizing a medical missions trip to his families’ area of origin, the Batanes Island region of the Philippines. He put out a call for supplies and support. Brian and I met, and he was excited to accept our ‘how-to’ guides and teaching tools to incorporate a teaching station for ORT into the elements of their trip.

One thing Lori and I have developed (me: theory, content... Lori: art and graphics) were ‘word-less’ guide-books for moms and kids to learn HOW to make ORT, together with a plan to have an actual hands-on station to make ORT right there. The ‘word-less’ aspect had scripted content that could be translated into any language. Brian really liked these health-ed tools and strategies, said he would have the team incorporate them into the outreach and translate them into the dialect of Tagalog spoken in the Batanes .

SO, imagine my JOY when Brian sent me the ‘we just got back from the Philippines’ email, and the pictures and stories about the hugely successful clinic outreaches that impacted over 250 people in the Batanes... including a school set-up for ORT education, the visuals all set-up, and the team enthusiastically teaching ORT hands-on skills!! Yeah! Save some kids!! (Tears of joy again...)

Thanks to Brian and his team for carrying the load and pulling all that together. My (biased) opinion is that the ORT education they conducted will probably become one of the longer-lasting legacies of their clinic outreach and blessed work in the rural health centers on Batanes Island!

To God be the glory! Dios Mamajes (Tagalog)!

Chris RN

Bajkiewicz, C. T..(1999). Drink of life: Oral rehydration therapy. Journal of Christian Nursing 16(4), 9-12.

World Health Organization:


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Getting to San Vicente... C'mon Along!

(sing along) Over the Mountains and Thru the Plateaus...
Getting to San Vicente

Hello, all!

We wanted to write a bit about our [crazy] monthly 4-hour trip to our San Vicente Ministry Center.

San Vicente (also MisiĆ³n San Vicente Ferrer) is a farming village in Baja Norte, Mexico, 125 miles south of the USA-Mex border. A delegation of the Ensenada Municipality, there are about 4,000 inhabitants, with another 1000 people in the surrounding ejidos (farming divisions) and farming companies. San Vicente is nestled at the northern edge of the ‘San Quintin Valley’, one of Mexico’s biggest farming areas. Situated 50 miles south of Ensenada and 50 miles north of San Quintin, it sits right on the ‘Mexico 1’, also called the Baja Trans-peninsular highway, which starts at Tijuana (TJ) and ends in Los Cabos, which is the southern tip of the Baja peninsula.

For us, SV being on the highway is a huge plus. It means that we are able to travel on relatively stable roads that the Mexican government keeps up, since the ‘Mex 1’ is the commerce artery between TJ and the south. Note the ‘relatively stable’... rock slides, hillsides sliding into the ocean and heavily-driven roads that require on-going construction have meant some pretty wild driving. You see, when the government does road construction, they just divert you through an open field...

We’ve been working consistently in San Vicente for 11 years. Chris did a couple of weeks training Community Health Workers back in 1998 and in 2002 there, but a permanent, on-going ministry started in 2006. Our vehicles have been properly beaten up by Baja driving.

So, why does a 120-mile trip take 4-hours? Well, the Mex 1 crawls through three major Mexican cities (no expressway by-pass), and we have to go up-and-over four major mountain passes to get to San Vicente.

Our trip has ‘stages’:
<>through Mexican border customs, then through Tijuana to the ‘Mex 1’. On a good day, it’s just road-rally speed driving and dodging potholes. On a bad day, we get diverted through central TJ...
<>we pass by (or through, depending on the divert) Rosarito, a pay booth and onto the gorgeous coastal Mex 1 ‘cuota’. Right now, the road is intact, but since the south end of this section literally goes over the San Andreas fault line, it gets torn up real easy. For about 2 years, we had to divert through the desert, because a significant stretch fell into the ocean in 2014, and additional 35 miles/1 hour to the trip then. Either way, this involves going through an ear-popping mountain pass (#1)...

<>then through Ensenada, Mexico, a beautiful port city on the Pacific. Traffic can be snarled, but we get through, buy supplies and aim south on the ‘Mex 1’. By the way, the stop-offs for groceries are not counted in the trip time here... [confession time: our favorite taco stops are along the way here, and we usually grab a tasty and inexpensive lunch...]
<>then it’s the torturous drive through Maneadero, the city with the highest traffic accident numbers in Baja. Roads in severe dis-repair, aggressive drivers, numerous trucks and local vehicles that belch smoke as they try and get up to 15 miles an hour... torturous...
<>we break out of Maneadero, up and through the second mountain pass (#2), then down into the Santo Tomas valley. Numerous wineries in view of our drive...
<>then the really high mountain pass (#3), ears popping as we crawl up, weave around, crawl down, pin-turn after pin-turn and finally onto the plateau. This is white-knucle driving, with so many trucks trying to push through, and other trucks barely making 15 miles an hour on the climbs...
<>the plateau is weave-weave around some minor mountain peaks, and drivers are constantly trying to pass and make up time...
<>final, moderate-height mountain range (#4), and then... there it is! San Vicente comes into view, at the lip of the Valley.

San Vicente sits on a valley-plateau, about 16 Km inland from the Pacific coast, with a minor mountain range between it and the ocean to the west. There is a significant mountain range to the east, with peaks going into the 7,500-feet level. It’s basic climate is chaparral desert, but does get some coastal breezes in the evenings.

The fastest we have ever made the trip was 3 hours and 25 minutes. The longest was... wait for it... 8 hours and 15 minutes.

We arrive, un-load into the ministry center, and get our bearings. Drink lot’s of Oral Rehydration, the shift to desert dryness with altitude always hits us when we arrive.

The trip back requires the same route and amount of time... replay!

SO, thanks for listening to our travel-log... blessings!