Paraguay- May 2017

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     I recently had the amazing opportunity to go to Paraguay with the LDS charities (Humanitarian Department) to teach Neonatal Resuscitation. This is the 5th trip that I have had the opportunity to go on. I have also been to Colombia twice, Honduras and Mexico. Matt was able to go with me to Honduras and he always lucky enough to go to Nepal for 2 weeks as well a couple of years ago. 
     The cities in Colombia were Bogotá, Cúcuta, Maicao, Florencio, and Montería. We went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Cuernavaca, Mexico. I was able to train about 400 healthcare providers in the Neonatal Resuscitation Program and the Helping Babies Breath program. It has been an incredible opportunity for me. I am so grateful that I was able to go to Paraguay for my 5th trip. 

     We trained about 80 doctors and nurses in Paraguay on this trip. I went with the Zollinger’s and Dr, Gary Wold. 

    We did the trainings in Asunción and also Pedro Juan Caballero which is in the border with Brazil. 

     I loved it. Matt was my hero and encouraged me to go. He watch our two little girls who are now 4 and 2 years old. He always helps my dreams to come true and encourages me. He is a wonderful husband and father. I’m really lucky to have him. ❤️

     I really enjoyed this trip. It’s starting on May 20 and we flew from Salt Lake City to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to São Paulo Brazil and then another flight to Asunción, Paraguay. We traveled for about 24 hours to get there. We worked very hard all week and were able to work with the Ministry of health and some amazing doctors and nurses from local hospitals to train 46 doctors and nurses in the 7th edition of NRP. They had all previously been trained. They were very good and learned quickly. I loved Wilma and Aida. They were nurses like me and they work in the ministry to perpetuate these trainings throughout Paraguay. They were very grateful for our help and for the equipment that we donated. 

     They Paraguayan people are some of the kindest and warmest people that I have ever met. I feel like the people in Columbia were also amazingly kind and warm. On Monday night, we went to the mall after the training. I was able to eat empanadas. It was the biggest smile that I have ever seen in the world. I was surprised that they had such a nice mall in a country does struggle so much with poverty.

     On Tuesday, we finished the training in Asunción. The doctors and nurses expressed so much gratitude to our team. They had greatly improved their scores from the pretest to the post test. There were some people who came by bus from as far as 12 hours away. I loved taking pictures with all of them after the training. 

     We then went to a pediatric hospital in Asunción. It was a “level 4 NICU” but it failed to have some of the basic needed equipment like CPAP, compressed air and oxygen blenders. Other people at the training said that they don’t have x rays or other basic equipment. They do a very good job with the limited resources that they have. It was so fun to see the NICU. I always feel a connection with the nurses in the hospital’s that I have visited in South America. 

     I found it interesting that the families stay at the hospital day and night and sleep outside so that they can take care of their children. 

    On Wednesday we made the drive from the capital to Pedro Juan Caballero. It was a terrifying 8 hour drive to get there and old van on a windy dual carriageway. I actually cried after two hours because I was so scared. Driving in those conditions is one of my worst fears. But I knew that we would be OK because Matt gave me the most beautiful blessing before I left on the trip that I would be safe and return home safely. I felt the spirit very strongly during his blessing and it calmed all of my fears.

     We are arrived safely and it turned out to be a beautiful drive. We stayed in a hotel that was on the border of Paraguay and Brazil. We were able to go to dinner in Brazil for one of the nights. I was surprised that only two blocks into Brazil, and it was a completely different country. The people spoke a different language and looked different. It was fun. 

    The training went very well in Pedro Juan Caballero. The people were so happy to receive the training. My favorite part of the entire trip was on Thursday after the training when some of the local doctors took us to a waterfall and on the way back it was very dark and we could see billions of stars. We could see the southern cross and the Milky Way. It was beautiful. We then went to the local regional hospital to see their Special Care nursery. Resources were very limited there. Mothers share rooms and sometimes give birth on cots when there aren’t enough beds. The doctors and nurses were so kind and some of them had attended the training that day, would work all night and then go and finish the training the next day. 

     I really enjoyed the trip back to the capital. I say in the front for most of the time with the 1st counselor in the mission presidency. I called him Presidente Miguel. We laughed and drank Mate the whole time. It was fantastic. 

    I think the trip was a great success and I’m very grateful that I could go. I love the Chipas in Paraguay. They are delicious cheesy soft bread things. I also liked Sopa Paraguaya. I bought some spider lace and some little purses for the girls in the airport on the way home. The lady in the airport was so sweet and went out to get me some purses from the indigenous women who were selling outside of the security. She was so nice to do that. 

     Matt emailed me a long letter every single day. He was so sweet and it meant so much to me. I left a little gift for the girls to open each day and that was fun. I wa so happy to be reunited with them. I missed Matt and the girls so much. I’m grateful for the spirit that I felt on the trip. I felt renewed and had some great opportunities to share the gospel. I hope to go on many more of these incredible trips in the future. 

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