I think kindness is undervalued. We lump it with words like "nice" and "good" which are often used to describe a state of being. But when I think of kindness, I don't think of an internal state, I think of its expression -- the action prompted by the trait we call kindness. So I notice its presence most often when collaborating with other health care providers who advocate for the patients on our caseload.
One provider who consistently demonstrates the kindness that benefits so many of our patients is Dr. Elizabeth Welch, of Hearing Connections, in Franklin, TN. Since 2013, Dr. Welch has donated hearing screening services to our schools in Honduras, and has facilitated the donation of hearing aids for a number of pediatric patients whose families could not otherwise afford to purchase them. The result is a staggering improvement in the quality of life for the entire family, and serves as a testimony of Christ's authentic love and concern for the patient and family's well-being.
Below, used with permission, photo/video of patients and families who have been blessed by hearing aids through Dr. Welch's kind intervention.
Dr. Welch left quite an impression on us. Even without our own hearing screening equipment, we became much more attuned to the subtle signs of hearing loss that often go undetected in children. Signs like lack of social engagement, inability to follow instructions, poor language development. A year later, we needed a hearing aid for a child recently admitted to our children's home.
Photo, left: Edgar, smiling, working with his calf at the Refuge barn. Photo, right: The back of Edgar's head, as he, scowling, reluctantly wears his hearing aid. Sometimes it takes time to get used to it :)
Rocio is a patient we have watched grow up. We managed her initial diagnosis of hearing loss back in 2008 and assisted in the procurement of her first hearing aids. She goes to the only school for the deaf in the southern region of Honduras. Her family lives sacrificially to provide her this education. Rocio's father no longer supports them, and as a single mom, Cloris could not pay for new hearing aids.
Photo, left: Rocio can't wait to show off her new hearing aid at school. Photo, right: Rocio's twin, Alejandra, and her mom, with Rocio, thank our staff for replacing her hearing aids so that her auditory support is uninterrupted.
Asly is our latest patient. She is five years old and just received her new hearing aids this month. We are grateful for the collaboration of local specialist Dr. Guevara, for creating the molds for these donated hearing aids, and look forward to continued collaboration as Asly begins speech therapy.
Asly practices saying "mama" and hearing herself for the first time.