By Maria Farahani, founder and vice president of Fara Foundation,
Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Feb. 2015 — We want you to meet Bertha Isabel Jiron, a 59-year-old woman from Palmilla Villa Santa, Paraiso, Honduras. Bertha is our first international patient. We are so proud to have broken barriers and to have welcomed our first patient from another country! It took Bertha many hours to travel to our clinic in the heart of Nicaragua from her native Honduras. She had heard of our work at Clinica Fara spent the time and money (what little she has) to get to us.
Bertha has been suffering from varicose vain afflictions since she was 15 and has had an open skin ulcer for 18 years. An open skin ulcer, 18 years — that’s untold hours of horrible pain and suffering. The news got to her through the grapevine that a small not-for-profit clinic in Matagalpa had a program for varicose vain patients, and she decided to try her luck and made the many hours’ bus trip to sign herself up for the next time there would be a U.S.-led medical mission who could finally do something about the condition that has affected her daily life for 44 years. In her own words “God heard my prayers.”
She arrived at Clinica Fara as Dr. Stephen Reeder, a vein disease specialist from Dallas, Texas, and his family were in Matagalpa for their annual medical mission. Indeed, God heard her prayers. The day she was there to sign up for future missions, a couple of patients on the schedule for that day did not show up and Dr. Reeder was able to perform a laser-guided procedure that would make a life-change for Bertha. At first she would not disclose the fact that she’d come all the way from Honduras — for fear that she would not be taken care of, and that our policies prevented our helping non-Nicaraguans. But of course, this is not true, and we are delighted to have had our first international patient.
To help with her accommodations, Bertha found a long-lost acquaintances in Matagalpa, where she will be staying every time she comes for follow-up treatments (these are being performed daily by Clinica Fara’s own gifted doctors and staff). It could take up to a couple of years for Bertha to heal completely, but she is on the road to total recovery just because Dr. Reeder and his family cared to make a difference, and because the clinic doctors go the extra mile.
Bertha Jiron’s life was forever changed the day her heart guided her to our clinic, and our lives our also forever changed with this opportunity to break barriers and cross borders. We are so grateful for the chance to host these amazing medical missions, which for the past few years have altered the lives of thousands of Nicaraguans. And now, one Honduran!