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February 22, 2014

Health center director: 'Mission of Hope an angel of God'

PLATTSBURGH — It’s all familiar.

Everywhere Dr. Roger Patnode turns in the old hotel that is now Juan Pablo II Fundacion in Nicaragua, he sees furniture and equipment that once sat waiting for shipment at MOH-Town, the storage facility of North Country Mission of Hope in Plattsburgh.

Chairs in the former lobby/now waiting area, exam tables in clinical space, virtually every item needed for a dental clinic ...

“Donated by Adirondack Dental, a lot of it,” the Plattsburgh pediatrician said of the latter.

“Mission of Hope has been an angel of God to this foundation,” Juan Pablo Vice President Johanna Pedroni said over a scratchy cellphone connection from the Managua facility. “The people of Mission of Hope are so kind.”

The nonprofit health center, which provides care to women and children at no charge, opened on Jan. 15. That would not have been possible without the American humanitarian-aid group, Pedroni said.

“It’s a blessing for us, Mission of Hope.”

The first floor of the three-story building has been renovated, with plans to expand upward as means become available.

“We are going little by little, and Mission of Hope has accompanied us,” Pedroni said. 

PARASITE ISSUES

Fifty-two Mission of Hope volunteers are on the ground now in the third-world country, its 53rd mission there in full swing after a rocky trip for many due to a bus breakdown and flight delays and cancellations.

But the sun was shining on a 90-degree day, and the missioners were tackling numerous projects.

Patnode, who will remain in Nicaragua into March, led a group of four at Juan Pablo, where they provided supplies for pap smears offered by a clinic on Thursday and assisted in the pediatric clinic.

Many children came in with colds, he said, typical there as they are in the United States. But two youngsters with abdominal pain were immediately given parasite medication, as they had not been taking it and so that seemed the most likely issue.

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