Thursday, March 7, 2013
Today was our last day of service and probably the most emotional for all of us. The realization of the horrendous living conditions the Guyanese people face daily has set in. The poverty here is unfathomable, hopelessness and despair is a reality for many. A government funded nursing home called "The Palms," is a three story' multi-building, wooden facility. There is no elevator, the elderly and handicapped have to climb steps or be carried. This is an open air facility, there is no privacy for the residents, not even small partitions between resident beds.The residents sleep on very thin mattresses, some covered in plastic, with no sheets. Many mattresses laid on a plywood base. Some residents don't receive enough to eat, and go hungry. Stray animals come and go at The Palms. Birds have even built nests on the beams directly above resident beds. One gentleman had bird feces on his bed, next to where he was laying. The nurses do what they can with what they have but honestly, they are over worked and don't have the proper supplies to meet the needs of the residents. One of the nurses had said that at times they have only 1 nurse staffed for approximately 25 beds. Despite the living conditions at The Palms, the residents are happy. Many sang hymns in small groups. For many residents, they only thing they have is their faith in God.