Keep In Touch ewsletter 2 Vol. XXI o1 April 2009
cousins [the Boller sisters Ursula Lacy and Liesbeth Loewenthal]worked in the Sanatorio Primavera in Alto Paraguay. The hospi-tal was begun quite naturally: During the Second World War when the Christian community left England, 1940/41, three doc-tors arrived in Paraguay. The community thrived. When I arrivedin 1953 there were already three villages: Isla Margarita, LomaHoby und Ibaté. At the time they consisted of thatched roof wooden huts. The hospital had been built in Loma, it consisted of a main building with two consulting rooms, pharmacy, treatmentroom (we called it “through room”), x-ray department, labora-tory, operating theatre, and dental practice, as well as two hospi-tal wards. Opposite stretched the long “Paraguayan wing“ within-patient rooms, maternity ward and nursing station. A bit fur-ther away was our community mother-house, where I lived for many years. At night, I took care of the mothers, or helped at a birth as needed.In the beginning only the floors of the operating theatre andthe maternity room were concrete. Everywhere else the floorswere earth. It was a great improvement when concrete was fi-nally laid throughout. We drew our water from the well. Instru-ments were sterilized on an open fire behind the kitchen, and oncold days we fetched the glowing coals for the coal pans in theconsulting rooms. From here we also got the boiling water to brew mate during the day.
Mate, Dripping and Tropical Sores
After days in the saddle a cold mate is really appreciated. It issipped from a Guampa (a cow’s horn that has been beautifullyhandcrafted) through a Bombilla, a thin silver tube with littleholes in the bulbous end. Could the Mate, the green leaf tea,really be a gift of the Gods in accordance with the Indian legend?It does act as a stimulant, but its greatest asset is something else:Mate neutralises excess gastric juices. None of our patients suf-fered from chronic stomach problems! At home the tea is brewedwith boiling water (Mate Cocido), and it is traditional amongstfriends, to fill a hollowed out pumpkin, a wooden container or even a Guampa, and pass it round in a circle. Each in turn sips upthe mate through the bombilla (not very hygienic).
Bulstrode Gathering on Saturday, June 20
By Andy HarriesTo all Ex-Bruderhofers and friends. I have been able to book theroom at Bulstrode again which we had last year as well as a fewtimes before. The room is available for us from 10.30 a.m. till5.30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20
2009.WEC International has kindly allowed us the use of the din-ing room at the back, with access to hot water, so we can makeour own drinks. We will bring basic milk, sugar, tea and coffee,and recommend that folks bring some food along to share. Just aswe did last time we can also sit outside on the veranda, with freeaccess to the lovely Bulstrode Park and grounds.A request form WEC: Please no smoking indoors, no alcoholand no littering anywhere.We will collect a voluntary contribution, which we can giveto the people as a thank you for letting us use the room andgrounds.WEC International asked me to put out a sheet of paper at thereception for everybody to sign on arrival. This is a legal re-quirement in case of fire. If you enter through the main frontdoor, reception will be on the right. Before that, also on the rightare toilets.Please pass this information on to others who might not hear about it.
ative mother with her children on their way to the hospital
Our standard breakfast in Primavera was sweet mate, dark breadwith pork dripping and treacle. In hot weather especially, drip- ping was not easily digestible. The fair skinned and the newarrivals suffered especially. For them it was almost impossiblenot to scratch where the mosquitos picked on us especially for our thicker blood. Not only did the scratches get infected, little pustules formed as well. In severe cases our doctors ordered butter instead of dripping – or even antibiotics. It was soon clear to me why the Israelis consider the pig to be unclean. Sadly but-ter and milk were scarce.
Uras, Zeboí. Hookworm and Leishmania
My first nursing activities were in the Isla Margarita Surgery.Amazing, the things I had to deal with; for example a knee infec-tion that just would not heal! I showed it to Dr Cyril Davis onone of his visits, he just said: “Some tweezers please,” and withgentle pressure and pulling he extracted a fine example of an
from the wound. The Ura had already been killed due tothe application of the ointment. It was the length of your littlefinger and was about seven millimetres wide at the thick end. Along dark coil wound itself around the pale parasite, with whichit bored its way back in whenever one tried to squeeze it out. Itseggs were laid in the open wound, but also in new heathy tissue.A palpable swelling under the skin gave it away. I learned tolook in the wound for a small white peak – the Ura’s breathinghole. If I found it, I stuck a really thick plaster on it to cut off the parasite’s air supply. A few days later I could squeeze the Uraout with ease. If that was successful, the wound would soon heal.The
parasite burrows tracks under the skin, which areclearly visible and itch. Small children get their hands infected.By frequently rubbing worm oil into the tracks, in particular intothe newly created ones, the parasite could be eliminated. Our brothers had other ways, but not for the squeamish: they simply burned the Zeboí out using a glowing cigarette.
sickness, also called
was a ma- jor national malady in Paraguay. Sometimes patients came to thehospital in droves to endure the “cura contra angi.“ This con-sisted of worm oil mixed with a laxative. It was administeredaccording to weight with a liberal dose of sugar. When the laxa-tive worked, the cure was successful. Sadly these barefooted people infected themselves again and again. The unhygienictoilets were a further source of infection. The parasite penetratesthe body via the intestines and the soles of the feet. It tends tosettle in the intestines in particular, where it can cause extremeanaemia. Affected patients could be recognised by their un-healthy yellowish appearance.During my seven years in Paraguay I never had a Hookworminfection. With sensible hygiene precautions it can be avoided. If I ever got caught in a cloudburst, and had to wade through mud,