Fortify my Spine in your Help: Asking for your love for the Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba, Honduras


Hey friends. I'm wondering if  you might keep the Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba, Honduras in your thoughts tonight. I have worked and learned at their maternity ward on multiple occasions and am set to return for a two-week refresher rotation in December.

The doctors at Atlantida recently went on strike, shutting down all departments save the emergency room. As long as they are striking, hundreds of patients will be turned away each day.

The doctors have reason to fight for change-- supplies at Atlantida have run so low recently that patients have had to buy their syringes, sutures and gauze (they've always had to buy their own medications)-- but this shutdown will mean that many people with no other source of medical care will just go without.

The hospital is understaffed, outdated and without supplies, for sure. But I've seen the doctors of Atlantida stop the premature labor contractions of an eleven-year-old girl. I've seen the beautiful babies of (equally beautiful) mamas with HIV who will remain healthy because rapid testing allowed nurses to deter breastfeeding. I've seen the miraculous birth of baby after baby-- the world remade over again each time. Good work happens there.

I know that injustice like this is rife in the world, but Atlantida is its own place, and this strike means that the world is worse off than it was before. Bodies are the same everywhere. They need care. And when they don't get it, they suffer.

 I just pray (a rare word for me) that something shifts and the hospital reopens so that doctors and nurses can do their lifesaving work.

I'm thinking tonight of the Virgin of Suyapa, the little mother icon who has appeared in unexpected places to faithful Hondurans when they have needed her most.

May there be somewhere a store of material goodness--hope and faith in the form of needles and gauze-- that might lift this sacred place, and all others imperiled by want, out of the material crises that threatens survival, and end the crises of justice that create these heart-crushing conditions of scarcity.

From El Oracion de Suyapa

Cuando me venza el cansancio,
o me atenace la angustia,
cuando la muerte, a su paso,
haga despertar mis dudas,
Virgencita de Suyapa
ven a mi espalda en ayuda,
sostenme con tu mirada,
y mis lágrimas enjuga.

When exhaustion overcomes me
or terror apprehends me
when death, passing close by,
awakens my doubts,
Virgin of Suyapa,
draw close to my back in your Help
sustain me in your gaze
and wipe away my tears.
(my translation)

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