Guatemala captures the hearts of so many who visit and volunteer here. And of all the things to love about this country, the children are top of the list. When children enter the clinic, they enchant everyone around them. To see children sick or not thriving is heartbreaking, but to witness positive change fills the team with joy.
Dr. Sarah saw 16 day-old Ian with his sixteen year-old mother yesterday. Ian was born via Caesarean section, and has not received enough nourishment in his short life. He weighed less than his birth weight when seen by our doctor. The young mother is raising Ian by herself, and although she lives with an aunt, she’s supporting her newborn on her own. The mother came to the clinic because she had some concerns surrounding an infection Ian had shortly after his birth. Dr. Sarah quickly realized that Ian was dehydrated and malnourished. The young mother didn’t understand the importance of nutrition both for herself and her baby. She hadn’t been feeding herself any protein, and had been preparing barley water to augment some breastfeeding that she was able to do.
Dr. Sarah brought in Felicity and Kristy who are both experienced midwives, and the three team members spent time with the mother to make sure she would have success breastfeeding, educating her on how often a newborn baby needs to be fed, and to help her understand how important her nutrition is to the health of her infant. At the request of Felicity, Ian and his mother returned today so that the team could follow up. The dramatic change in Ian’s appearance in just 24 short hours was amazing, and it was clear that the young mother listened to all the advice given and was more equipped to raise her son.
Because of the compassionate way that the Dr. Sarah, Felicity and Kristy supported Ian’s mother, this young boy has a much brighter future than just one day ago. Success stories like Ian’s gives the entire team more energy for the next day, when we will once again be able to make a difference in the lives of the Guatemalan people.