When our delegation visited El Recreo in 2016 Reina Morales had a large, painful, and growing tumor on her left arm. Through support from St. Boniface and Friends from Iowa Foundation (FFIF), Reina was examined by local doctors and then a specialist. Initially she was given chemo to try and shrink the tumor. She was also provided with nutritional supplements to help her gain weight and heal. The chemo failed to significantly reduce the size of the tumor, resulting in Reina having surgery to remove the growth. During the course of the surgery it was determined her arm needed to be amputated. Through the help of St. Boniface donations (not tithing dollars) and FFIF her chemo and surgery were paid for and she is now doing well.
It is quite possible that if her tumor had been caught at an earlier stage, she probably would not have lost her arm. The people in El Recreo are quite poor and don’t always have the money or resources for basic medical examinations or treatment.
Currently Beatriz, the health care provider working through our El Recreo clinic, is able to spot medical problems and either take care of them herself (sutures, clean wounds, test diabetic’s blood sugar, take blood pressure, perform ultrasounds for pregnant moms, etc.) or send the person to a doctor in Berlin, a larger village about 40 minutes away by truck, but many times there is no transportation so villagers have to walk a difficult road to get to the city.