Yesterday I took the two-hour trip to Nogales AZ to visit and help at the St. Andrew’s (Episcopal Church) Children’s Clinic. I rode along with my friend and mentor Cheyenne MacMasters who has been offering her Reiki skills at the clinic, held the first Thursday of the month, for about ten years.
We made it through Sierra Vista and Huachuca City, then into the soft beauty of the wine country area of Santa Cruz County. Through Sonoita and Patagonia, then into Nogales, arriving just in time.
We set up the Reiki table under a little portable gazebo in the peace garden. A perfect place to do our healing energy work.
Then we had a quick sampling of cake and coffee offered to the volunteers and returned to begin Reiki on the children and a few of the mothers, too.
This clinic offers free medical services to severely disabled children of extreme poverty in Sonora Mexico. Though many come from the sister city of Nogales, Sonora, many ride busses for hours to attend the monthly clinic. Our first customers boarded the bus at 3 am in Caborca in order to be at the clinic by 9:00.
This clinic was founded in 1973 by a mother in Nogales, Sonora, who had a disabled son and wanted to work with other mothers of disabled children. Together they found doctors and services in the US and convinced the specialists to come see their children.
The clinic soon outgrew the woman’s modest house and the doctors had the idea of moving it to the US. It took a lot of work with US Customs, because many recipients and their families are ineligible to cross into the US. Today, though, some Customs agents donate their time to ensure the families get the proper documentation to cross for medical purposes, facilitate their crossing, and help families board the free shuttles to the clinic.
The clinic is now a 501c3 charitable organization based in St. Andrew’s Church. Up to 250 children are seen in one day. One of the volunteers described the situation as “controlled chaos” and boy is she right!
Every square inch of the church is used – meeting rooms, hallways, the sanctuary, and even the pastor’s office and large closets. The pastor’s office is used as the room where blood is drawn, and just outside the room’s door sits the secretary, amazingly composed and functioning amidst the noise and confusion. The large office supply room was covered with volunteers sitting on the floor, filling bags with nutritional supplements for children with disabilities that don’t allow them to receive proper nutrition from what the eat, and for those who can only drink, not chew.
The vision clinic provides vision screening and free glasses (used children’s glasses are much needed!). Children with complex eye issues that need surgery, such as those needing corneal transplants, red sent out of state for complimentary surgery. The hearing clinic provides testing and free hearing aids (used hearing aids also needed).
The clinic has a working relationship with a major hospital in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, and once a year the doctors there provide free cleft palate surgeries for between 30 and 35 children a year. The clinic provides transportation and temporary housing.
The clinic sees children with spina bifida, cerebral palsey, and Rett Syndrome. There is no space here to discuss this syndrome – look it up. It is pretty awful. Just know it strikes females, leaving them unable to communicate, walk, or defend themselves in any way. Ironically, they are also usually quite beautiful, and they often become easy targets for rapists.
More, more, and more they do – provide amputations, prosthetics, crutches, and wheelchairs. Physical therapy is offered, and the therapists teach family members how to provide a level of therapy in the home.
I was astounded and how much gets done. I was honored to spend some time and provide Reiki to help the children and their mothers distress and relax.
I thank Cheyenne for taking me along, and I suspect I have now found something to do each first Thursday of the month.
Visit http://www.standrewsclinic.org for additional information, to schedule a visit, or to make a donation.