Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The children will capture your heart!

Josefina, Gaspar and I had clinic today in Las Trampas. Manuel and Tomas headed to Panajachal with the MET students as they began their travel back to the States.

As we were getting ready to finish for the day about 10 children showed up. They thought I was the most unusual person they had ever seen. I could hardly walk without stepping on them as they herded around me. We took photos and acted silly even as they helped us pack the truck.

After we returned to Santa Cruz, Josefina's mom called me and asked me if I wanted to go hike some ruins with them........sure! I headed down the road with Josefina, her parents and her brother Juan Diego. The ruins were beautiful but unfortunately I did not have my camera.

We walked into a cave until we could not see the light from the outside. We found several areas where people had built fires and had sacrificed small animals as chickens. Some of the fires were still smoldering and the remaining feathers were a give-away.

We had about 20 minutes before we needed to leave so we played soccer in a field. It was a wonderful day with new and exciting adventures......and safe travel....Gracias a Dios!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Clinics in Chimente and Chichi

On Monday we had clinic in Chimente with 17 patients. It was a good day. We had students with us again who will soon be returning for the states. They will be missed.

The first photo is of come children in Chimente waiting with their mother for a consultation. The oldest child had run to the store in the rain with his umbrella to buy a sucker. When he returned and was eating it, his brother cried and cried until his mother sent him back out in the rain to buy one for his younger brother.

On Tuesday we had clinic in Chichicastenango with 12 patients. The second photo is of the MET students practicing how to check blood sugars.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Weekend in Antigua

Well, I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home getting caught up on my laundry, cleaning and sleep but my plans changed :)

My Spanish teacher from Antigua called me late Friday night and asked me to visit for the weekend. I tried to decline but I was not successful. So, I hopped on a Chicken Bus at 0800 Saturday morning and it was one of the fastest Chicken Buses I have been on. It is difficult to know where you need to change buses because they really do not come to a full stop. They just slow down enough for you to jump off. In Chimaltengo, I even had the opportunity to climb up the ladder in the back of the bus with my bags and find a seat.

The first photo is of Volcano Agua. Usually the peek is only visible in the early morning but this was taken after a lot of rain. There are 37 volcanoes in Guatemala, including some that you can climb.

The second photo is of the famous arch. It was originally part of the Santa Catalina Monastery that was moved in 1773 after severe earthquakes. I love Antigua and for the last two years it has been my, "home away from home."

Juliet wanted us to take her daughters to the movies in Guatemala City on Sunday morning but our plans were changed due to the health of her husband. He has several medical problems and recently was able to come home from the hospital. He became worse again during Saturday night so she did not want to leave him on Sunday morning.

The girls were very disappointed since the trip to the City had to be cancelled. The alternative plan became for me to take them to the local cinema in Antigua.........they had never been before so this was a new adventure for the three of us. We were able to see Happy Feet, eat popcorn and drink Cokes.....all for $8.00. Unbelievable!

Friday, June 22, 2007

God's hand led our way......

We started the morning in Tzanixnam with very few patients. We found that there are two other physicians now working in this area so probably we will scout for another area that has a greater need.

The first photo is of our team with the MET students who will be with us for about 4 more days.
The second photo is of the team sweeping the community building before we set up our equipment to see patients.

As mentioned we only had a few patients so we started to return to Quiche earlier than usual. The students were following me in a Jeep without any problem........until the wiring in the Jeep shorted out. So...........we decided that we could rewire it using some wire that was dangling from the radio.......yes, the Jeep actually did start again but in a few moments we realized how God was allowing the Jeep incidence to let us help someone.

Several trucks had passed but did not stop. One gentleman did stop, who just happened to be a mechanic. He stripped the wires for us and properly secured the connection with black electrical tape. As he was working, he told us that his 6 week old baby had a bad infection and asked if we would look at her.

We walked to his truck and talked with his wife about the baby. As we began to examine the child it was obvious that she was very, very sick. Her hands, feet and abdomen were covered by what looked like a staph infection and she was severely dehydrated. It was very difficult to examine the baby and not be emotional. Josefina told them that they needed to go to a hospital because the baby was very sick. They did not want to go because they knew of a child that recently had died in a hospital. They only wanted medicine from us. Even though we gave them some antibiotics and something for pain we explained our medicine was not strong enough. We pleaded with them to go to the hospital and Josefina even offered that we go with them. Sadly, they continued to decline. We prayed with them and said our goodbyes as the father was obviously distraught and tearful.

As we were repacking the boxes of medicine and getting ready to leave, they returned. I was so excited to see them again, not even knowing why they had come back. They spoke to Josefina and asked her to write a referral for them so they could be seen at the hospital! Gracias a Dios and we continued to pray that they would get the help they need.

We will not know the outcome of this situation but I do believe that God allowed the Jeep to short out so we could give some physical and spiritual support to this family.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ABC Clinic in La Palma

We were back in La Palma today for a clinic with the ABC children. We did our 20 minute walk through the path you can see in the first photo and then we saw 26 children.

Since the ABC program also helps the children with clothing, the first photo is of Manuel measuring the children for clothing.

The second photo is of a child that must be the best stone tosser in the world. He would prance around, complete a few circles and let them fly with all the strength he had. My only hope was that he did not go over the edge.

The excitement of the day was when a cow came running from the woods down the path. That cow was running! The children started screaming and the dogs started barking and chasing the cow. I am not sure who was making the most noise.

We finished seeing the children about 1pm and then we were served lunch. As usual, it was very good.....we had scrambled eggs, black beans, tortillas and rice milk.

No clinic tomorrow but on Friday we will be in Tzanixam. The Dunhams will be with us and then after clinic they will return to the States for a month. I pray that they have safe travels and they enjoy their time with family and friends.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Returning to Xetzac

We were back in Xetzac today. It was one of those days where nothing REALLY BAD happened but little frustrations were in place throughout the day.
When I tried to leave my house today, someone had parked their car in front of the garage so I had to knock on doors and ask people about the car. I finally found the owner but was about 10 minutes late picking up Josefina. For those that know me, you know I hate being late.

We then got a call saying that an accident in the road had blocked the entrance to Santa Cruz from Chichi. Manuel and the others would need to take an alternative route and they would meet us in Xetzac. We found out 7 hours later that the road was still blocked so our friends again would have to take a longer way home.

Half way to the clinic we received another call from one of the Church members. He said that one of the political parties had visited Xetzac by helicopter during the weekend. They had conducted free clinics and and given free medicine to the people in that area. He felt we would not have any patients today because of this. He suggested that we might want to cancel our clinic so Josefina asked us our thoughts.

My thought was that we needed to continue with the clinic because we want to be in that community on a long-term basis. We are there to help the Church of Christ with their ministry. The clinic day and time had been announced on the radio so if we did not arrive, I felt we might lose our credibility. We only had 6 patients for the day but at least we understand why.

The first photo is of children who climbed on several planks of wood to peer inside the window where Josefina consults with patients. The other photo is of children playing in front of their house. The house is surrounded by corn fields and stacks of firewood.

So, the only thing to do at the end of the day was to walk to the park and have some Oreo Cookie icecream at Sarita' was my only choice :):):)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Clinic in Panajxit

We had better luck this week in Panajxit than last time we were here. Two weeks ago when we arrived it was raining very hard. The patients had been waiting in the rain for someone to open the door of the community building. When the man arrived with the key, the key broke off inside of the door. Josefina and I walked over to a field of workers and asked if we could use the porch of another building. They were very kind and let us use it.

Yesterday, we had 18 patients and it was a good clinic. During break there were some children playing in a tree next to the community building. After we saw all of the patients, we walked down the road to a house for lunch. We enjoyed hot soup, warm pineapple drink and tamalitos. Unfortunately, there were no patients after lunch.

We did not have clinic on Friday. We spent the morning at Clinica Carris making plans for the rest of June and July. There are several groups that will be here and it takes a lot of planning and organizing to be sure we have the housing, equipment and transportation in place.

The highlight of the day was when we were ran off of the road by a tractor trailor. It is just one of those things.......I am thankful that we are ok and were able to drive the truck out of the ditch. All we have is a cracked tail light......Gracias a Dios.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Clinic in La Palma

We were welcomed today in La Palma by the members of the Church of Christ and by the patients. Usually, we have a 20 minute hike through the woods but the community has allowed us to start using a room at the school. We were excited to have 32 patients today. The first photo is of the patients waiting in our waiting room. While the dress of the men has changed significantly to a Western style, the women have remained tradional.

The second photo is the land scape from the school.

During lunch today, Tomas leaned over and asked if I felt the earthquake. There were 5 of us sitting on one bench so I thought someone was just fidgeting......then I realized Tomas was on a different bench! It did not last very long. When I got home, I had an email from Bill Allen asking if I was ok and he included a link about the earthquake. Wow.....6.8! Gracias a Dios there were no injuries or deaths.

The last photo shows the terrain and the depth the road is cut. These areas become a concern during the rainy season due to mud slides.........but all is well, everyone is home safe for the night and we will travel to another community in the morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clinic in Xepocol

Today we had clinic in Xepocol with 21 patients. It was a cool day with some rain in the afternoon as the sun was still shinning. We went outisde to find the rainbow and it was there!

The first photo is the entrance of the church building.

This baby did not mind being weighed.......we tie the scale to a beam of a building or to a tree in a yard and go from there!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Clinic in Paxot II

Today we had clinic in Paxot II with primarily the ABC children. We had 53 patients today with Josefina and Lisa both seeing patients. These children receive financial support which provides medical and nutritional care. Even more important for long term benefits, these children must remain in school. It is common for parents to take the children out of school at a very young age so they can help work in the home and fields.

Can you guess who is wearing my glasses??

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Clinic in Paraxaj

These are my new friends in Paraxaj. They are Luis, Miceala and Lucia and they just giggle at me when I try to speak K'iche to them. We have clinic in their house once a month.

Did you know that Guatemalan cats practice yoga???

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Clinic in San Jorge

Today we had clinic in the home of Martin in San Jorge. He is a member of the Church there and has opened his home to us once a month. The top photo is of Martin with his mom and dad. Last month when we checked Martin's blood sugar it was 404 and he was not feeling very well. Dr. Josefina started him on some medicine and talked to him about his diet. Today his blood sugar was 140 and he tells us that he is feeling much better! We will see what happens in the next month.

Roger and Marybeth spent the day with us in an area that use to be their home. They were missionaries here from 1970-1978 and still maintain a very active role with Health Talents. It was good to spend the day with them and hear some of their stories and experiences. Roger and Marybeth usually smile a lot but they are attempting their best Guatemalan pose :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Clinic in Xetzac

Today we had clinic in Xetzac. We climbed to 7595 ft. elevation through the mist and clouds to reach sunshine! It was a beautiful drive and uneventful. Our clinic was smaller than usual so we talked with the Church members on how to improve the attendance. They have identified that there is a definite need in the community so we will return in two weeks. The corn in the background could barely be seen two weeks ago.

Monday, June 4, 2007


It was a wonderful day as we celebrated Josefina's birthday. A special afternoon was planned at a local hotel where 35 family members and close friends gathered together to honor Josefina. Lisa Dunham led an interactive session on maintaining good health and the key components that are needed.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Tomas completes the team!

Tomas is the second Health Care Promoter and he lives in Mactzul V. He has seven children and a lovely wife. This day we had clinic in La Palma where we carry all of our equipment and medicines to the church building. It is about a 20 minute hike through a wooded area.

Now you have met the team!

Manuel, our first promoter

This is Manuel Sut Gonzales and he was the first Health Care Promoter to start helping us. He lives in Paxot II with his beautiful family and at this time they have students from the MET Program living with them. This photo is of Manuel speaking at the dedication of Clinica Caris

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dr. Josefina Lux and her family

Dr. Josefina Lux (in red) is the physican that I will be working with for two years. This photo was taken with her family during the opening ceremony of Clinica Caris, in Lemoa. We will see patients here on Mondays and Dr. Lisa Dunham will see patients here on Thursday. The remaining days of the week the two teams will travel to the communities.


Yes, it has been a challange but I finally have internet! I will begin posting photos and short stories of our mobile clinics, the patients who are so appreciative and the wonderful people that I have the opportunity to work with. I hope that you enjoy the blogs and I look forward to your comments and questions.