At the children's home, we had the privilege of hosting two almost-graduates of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Natalie Rigelman-Hedberg and Chris Camp. Chris is the husband of a childhood friend of mine, Erica McCaleb Camp, and will be starting his residency in Orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic this June. Natalie will be beginning her residency at the University of Minnesota in pediatrics at the same time.
Gloria checking up on Chris' blood pressure
Since this is the first time we have hosted "medical missionaries," we were a little unsure what to expect from their visit. After their two and a half weeks at our home, we sat back and were amazed at what they were able to accomplish and the thoroughness and quality with which they worked with the children of not only our children's home, but also from the school on our property. In all, Chris and Natalie examined approximately 100 children and nearly all the staff from our children's home. Their examinations included not only basic physical exams, but also a dental and eye screenings to see what the needs in those areas were. They also created a hygiene flyer to hand out with their examination reports and preformed an interactive skit for the children of our homes to teach them how to keep themselves healthy and clean. In addition to all these exams, activities with the children, translating exam notes into Spanish to give to families, checking into prices for additional testing for the children, cleaning out ears, etc. etc, Chris and Natalie were never too tired to wash the dishes or play with Abi- making them the most wonderful house guests.
Matias learning how to brush his teeth in the hygiene skit
(Chris is the one holding the toothbrush)
While Shaun and I don't have a lot of experience working with medical students (they will soon be "doctors" after a May graduation), we feel that Chris and Natalie must be two of the country's brightest and best medical students. Not only did they have general medical knowledge, they had even studied up on diseases specific to Paraguay and tropical climates. Natalie, with only a couple of semesters of college Spanish, was able to conduct all the exams and listen to and advise patients with her own Spanish. Coupled with all of this knowledge, both Chris and Natalie have excellent personalities for doctors and made all their patients feel at ease.
Natalie with her "patients" from House 3
I am constantly amazed anew at the blessings that we have received in our work in Paraguay. Not only were we able to give quality medical care to each of the children with Chris and Natalie's visit, but we also made two new, wonderful friends. The children are already missing both Chris and Natalie (especially Abi who celebrated her 4th birthday during their visit) and we hope that in the future, they will be able to visit again.
To Chris and Natalie: Thank you so much for all your hard work! You can't know how much your visit meant to us and to the children and staff of Hogar Ganar! May the Lord bless you both as you begin your residencies!