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Vitamin A Project.


We spent the Monday and Tuesday of this past week with Quinn Harvey, Vitamin Angels program manager for Latin America.  Link to Vitamin Angels here.  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provides Vitamin A in quantity to many nations who in turn use it to fortify milk and rice.  Where those programs are successful real benefit occurs.  There remain large areas particularly in the remote developing world where meat is a treat on Sundays and the diet is rice, beans, cornmeal in some variety.  Vitamin A/retinol comes through meats and our bodies convert beta carotene to a basic form of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of five key nutrients necessary for proper growth and development; it helps children build strong immune systems that can fight off common illnesses and it is necessary for healthy vision.   What do you do if carrots, sweet potatoes are not available and the iguana got away this week?  Can reptiles make Vitamin A? – got to look that up!

Quinn fought traffic with us Monday morning, came to the warehouse and stopped by the house for discussion.  Then off to Proyecto Salud northeast of the city.  Sister Dani met us at their facility and we had lunch while the team assembled and packed for afternoon clinic.  50 yds out of the parking lot and a hard left back towards the city and into the jungle fording a stream to set up clinic in a small rural church.  The staff taught the small clutch of patients about the importance of avoiding practices that lead to cervical cancer and about getting pap smears.  The doctors began treating patients in the back corner and the nurse staff evaluated and gave a bi-annual dose of vitamin A to children from six months to five years of age.

We returned to the city and helped Quinn move to Tikal Futura (she paid for the coffee = she can come back anytime!).  Tikal Futura has the strangest entrance to any hotel in my 62 years of travel…bizarre.  I am glad I did it in the daylight because we had to pick up Quinn at 4:30 the next morning meeting Exodo Foundation/Stephanie Hawley on the road to Chiquimula.  By the time we ended up on station Quinn’s GPS was pinging off a tower in Honduras.

Exodo Foundation team gave away avocados, limes some medicine and vitamins.  We explored the small school the foundation has helped get electricity, improve water supply and sanitation issues.  Stephanie described the full nonfunctioning toilet and how when it was pulled up and cleaned out the found several flat rocks.  Why rocks one might ask?  Well when one runs out of toilet paper….

It was coffee blossom time and the vistas were superb, but the travel ain’t highway travel.  The final few miles we had to switch the Mitzubishi van for a borrowed four wheel drive pickup with a large bottle of extra water to add to the expansion bottle once in awhile.  We left the team to return to the capital city.  They still had 2 or 3 more stops to do.  Long day, pot holes and speed bumps not everyone handles those well.  But Cindy and Quinn did mighty fine.

We hope and pray that we can expand the vitamin program for our partners.  Vitamin A is literally life saving in some of the world.  We also see spina bifida, hydrocephalus, cleft lips and palates that could be almost eradicated if we could get folic acid into the diet of women of childbearing age.  This takes a concentrated effort of nutritional training and prenatal vitamins.  And the young children on a diet restricted to beans/rice/tortillas would all benefit from a multivitamin/micro-nutrient program.  We continue to push for resources and we see new potential recently from friends on the board of Vine International, MAP and donors like Vitamin Angels.

We are grateful for all your support.  For photos of last Monday and Tuesday they are linked  here.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    24/03/2015 10:43

    Loving the photos and the beautiful stories going along with them. Keep up the good work! Praying for you and the team(s). Good to see you in that group photo, surrounded by kids. 🙂 Many hugs!


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