This past Tuesday was a special day for the children in the CNP (Child Nutrition Program) in the little town of El Cercado, where I love to serve. As a recap, Solid Rock partners with our Dominican counterpart ACPSI (in English- Christian Association for the Promotion of Integrated Salud). We support not only their Christian Clinic here in San Juan, where we host medical and surgical teams throughout the year, but we also support our sister clinic in the mountains of El Cercado, where our Child Nutrition Program is located. The CNP moved to El Cercado from San Juan in 2004 when malnutrition largely had been on the decline in San Juan and on the increase in the border mountains of El Cercado. Dr. Jazmin Cruz Puello is the doctor who works in El Cercado specifically with the Child Nutrition Program and I am honored and proud to call her a friend and colleague. I also serve there with Samuel Sanchez, who is the Health Promoter of the CNP (and much much more!).
The Child Nutrition Program has had different support over the years. We currently have the capacity to serve between 100-120 children who have various degrees of malnutrition. We are so pleased to partner with Amway in a project to provide micronutrients to the children in the CNP. Amway provides the micronutrients as well as funding for lab analysis, program support, and supplemental foods such as corn meal and corn flour. In response we provide data to Amway in biannual reports detailing height, weight, head circumference measurements, and Hemoglobin and Hematocrit levels. I am in charge of gathering the data from Dr. Jazmin and Samuel and generating the report in the months of May and November. Every week when I goto El Cercado we review the patients who are due for their lab work and measurements (lab work is every 6 months but the measurements are performed every month at the child’s visit to the clinic) and I work on the data entry of each child.
The Dominican Amway staff comes to El Cercado at the end of November for a big Amway-sponsored Christmas party for the children. As you can imagine, this is a huge hit for the families in the program and often the only real “Christmas” that these kids will experience. Amway sends an enormous truck to El Cercado full of gifts and food boxes for each child in the program. Then the staff comes in a big bus and shares a Dominican lunch (rice and guandules, chicken, potato salad, bread, and apples) with the child and one parent. We are so grateful for this partnership and pleased to report that the majority of the children in the program really are advancing in their health and nutritional status. Many of the parents or caregivers of the children in the program have been malnourished themselves and unfortunately have suffered poor educational opportunities or poor coping skills/emotional adjustments as a result. Because of this we see a need to provide as many teaching moments as possible both in the monthly clinic visits AND home visits.
In the past year the El Cercado clinic has grown significantly both inside and outside of the Child Nutrition Program. We have added an Ultrasound doctor to our practice, as well as a Dentist and Family Practice doctor. We have had Psychiatric services and Physical therapy services available throughout the year. We have also invited some of our barrio teams to hold Barrio clinics in our facility, as well as invited Chiropractic and PT teams to spend days in El Cercado just like they do in San Juan. The response in El Cercado has been immense gratitude! My personal prayer is that the clinic in El Cercado would be a BEACON in this incredibly beautiful and needy community. I have included photos below of our wonderful Christmas party with the Amway crew. I am also including photos of our ultrasound doctor, Dra. Pineda, and our dentist, Dra. Collado working in the clinic with their patients. Please pray for our little clinic! Although Amway is a great support to the program, Solid Rock still needs much more financial support to buy powdered milk for all the children in the program every month, as well as supporting the salary of Dr. Jazmin. You can sponsor a child in the CNP for $45/month or see how to support Dr. Jazmin through our website.
Our crowd anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Amway crew.
Receiving their Christmas presents after enjoying a meal together…
After receiving gifts and lunch, each child is given a food box with age appropriate clothing included in a bag on top.
The families awaiting their rides to get home…
Hands and arms full!
Samuel, Jazmin and I enjoying the party too!
Dr. Collado working with her dental assistant Erica.
Dr. Pineda performing an ultrasound
Thank you as always for your support! I look forward to my days in El Cercado and find great joy in supporting the care of our patients there. May Jesus, the Bread of Life, fill your life today!