Croham Road has had an association with the Jungle Hospital in Honduras for several years. But what is the Jungle Hospital and how did it start?
Some years ago, Martin Williams, a young graduate from Canada felt called to spend time in a mission training centre and clinic in Rio Viejo in Honduras, initially delivering milk from the farm which supported the centre. Rio Viejo is is in a lush tropical valley, but it is also in one of the poorest and most violent countries in Central America; medical and social provision is limited and Martin was able to see at first hand the needs in the area.
Later, encouraged by the vision of fellow Christians Martin felt the call to become a doctor and after his studies returned with his family to the Rio Viejo in 2006 to begin the huge undertaking of developing the clinic into a hospital and preparing it to receive its first patients.
From fairly small beginnings, the hospital has developed over the years, and Croham Road has been privileged to be involved in this development. In 2008 a Croham Road team helped develop the dormitory accommodation for the many mission teams which visit the hospital. In 2010 a Croham Road team helped to turn what had been the Williams family house into a maternity ward. Croham Road gifts have been put towards the dormitory and the projects.
In 2014-5 the hospital built the Wunstel Ward – a full operating theatre with pre and post operation areas. In 2016, it was able to dedicate the ward and also celebrate being recognised as a hospital by the Honduran government – in fact its facilities are probably better than in the local government hospital.
Further developments are being planned. More doctors are needed and the hospital would like to welcome medics for longer stays. For this they need family accommodation (in addition to the small flats available for short stays) and the hospital plans to buy some land adjacent tot he hospital.
Tim Gilkinson is on the board of the Jungle Hospital and tries to visit every year; he has recently returned from a trip to it. He was there at the same time as a team from an American group, Living Water, which provides wells in the developing world. A reliable supply of clean water would be invaluable to the hospital; mains water supplies can be erratic in Honduras. Sadly the team were defeated by hard rock layers.
Tim was involved in maintenance jobs such as fitting donated air conditioning units and plumbing. The nearest town is a truck ride away; maintenance work is more like Scrap Heap Challenge than a gentle drive to B & Q. Preventative and community based medicine is integral to the hospital’s work and Tim also took time to assist in health education in local schools, talking to the children and distributing toothbrushes and toys;.
The founders of the Jungle Hospital work with four other ministries in the Cangrejal River Valley. where the hospital sits. In addition to the hospital the Instituto del Rey, opposite the hospital provides quality, subsidised, Christian based education to about 180 pupils. Further up the valley, Give Hope to Kids in Urraco provides a home for vulnerable and abused children which is self sustaining in food. Las Mangas is a Christian community majoring on sustainable agriculture.
The hospital is grateful for our continued support and prayer – long may the association continue