Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another day in Lemoa.....

Today we had a small clinic in Lemoa. The first photo is of mom, Manuel, Tomas, Josefina and I in front of Clinica Caris. We only had a few patients so we restocked the pharmacy with new medicines that had just arrived. Josefina also spent some time teaching the guys more about blood pressures and how to handle lancets and other materials that have been in contact with blood.

We did see one girl, Margarita that will have her cleft lip repaired Sunday in Montellano. On Sunday, the five of us will travel down to Clinic Ezell and help with the surgical clinic for three days. I hope to have some before and after photos of Margarita. I am sure that the operation will be life-changing for her.

After clinic today, mom and I were invited to Josefina's home for lunch. The second photo is of Josefina and her parents.

Today mom found out that a man in their congregation was killed in an auto accident. Willard worshipped with the Morganton Church of Christ for many years. He will be missed by many. Please pray that God will provide comfort for his family and friends and that they will draw closer to Him. Thank you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Weekend in Panajachel

Mom and I took a shuttle to Panajachel near Lake Atitla'n. The driver stopped for us to take photos of the waterfalls near the lake. The lake is beautiful with three volcanoes around around it. There is much to do and see which makes it a perfect place to spend the weekend.

We stayed at the Rancho Grande Inn which is a bed and breakfast resort. The breakfast was unbelievable with pancakes, which were about 3 inches thick, served with fresh strawberries and honey. The gardens were groomed and meticulously kept.

We stopped in a small restaurant and had fresh chips and guacamole dip. As you can tell by the last photo, the owner of the restaurant decorated to a different drummer.

Today, Monday, we were back in Lemoa at Clinica Carris. We had 24 patients and it was a busy day.

We followed up with a patient who we saw two weeks ago. When we first met her she could not give us a very good history because she could only cry and had trouble breathing. Today she returned, very thankful for the improvement she has had.....bringing her extended family with her who is also appreciative.

We also saw another patient today, Rosa, who is having a lot of pelvic pain. She was encouraged to go to the hospital due to a questionable ultrasound. Josefina wrote a referral for her to be seen as the hospital but we are not sure if she went or not.

Please keep these two ladies in your prayers. These are open doors that are perfect opportunities for us to share Jesus and His love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another clinic in La Palma

We returned to La Palma and saw 23 patients today. We met several men working on the road that led to the community. When we asked if there was a different road to take, they said no but told us we could pass. The road had several inches of mud but our 4-wheel drive made it possible to get though........even though there was a lot of slipping and sliding.

Mom was able to see Noe again today. She gave him a blue teddy bear and the family a bag of candy. The bear did not really excite him but he could not wait for his mom to tear in to the bag of candy. Mom watched him as he nibbled a little and then tossed it into the dirt.

Josefina saw a 7 year old girl, Celestine, that appeared to have a congenital heart defect. Arrangements will be made for the girl to see a specialist in the City.

Sebastian and I were taking a brake together between patients. He was very curious about all the pills and was full of energy.

We will return to this clinic again in two weeks and I hope to have an update on Celestine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Returning to Chimente

Chimente was a busy clinic with 32 patients. Most of the patients wanted reading glasses so we barely had enough for the day. They would try the glasses on, laugh at each other and then borrow money from a friend to pay for them. I was always confused on who to give the change to.

Mom counted pills in the morning and made some friends doing so.

Tomas and I worked with the patients before they were examined.

There was a community meeting going on through the day which was a distraction to many. Apparently some boys had stolen some musical instruments. Two of the boys had been sent to jail and the others were going to be beaten by the elders of the community for one hour. This is becoming more of a common practice because the communities wants crime to be punished more severely.

For those who have asked who I am, I am in the last photo taking the patient's blood pressure.

Tomorrow we are headed to La Palma and will visit again with Noe. We will also meet the child that is sponsored by Hettie, who lives in Morganton, NC.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Night in Antigua

Mom and I hopped a Chicken Bus to Antigua early Saturday morning. Mary, who I lived with for a total of seven weeks while I studied Spanish, helped us find a room. The first photo is of Mary and Mom in the hotel where Mary made reservations for us.

We then went to see my teacher, Juliet and had lunch with her family. On the way home it started raining so hard, let me tell you.....we got soaked! After returning to the room and using the hair dryer to dry our jeans, we hit the street to look for shoes and whatever.......

We had dinner in one of my favorite restaurants. If you notice the painting on the wall behind mom, then look at the bottom photo of mom in the street, it is the exact location in Antigua.

The time in Antigua was not very long but we enjoyed it.

It was moms first "Chicken Bus" experience. She only has a few bruises and sore ribs from holding on. When we changed buses in Chimaltenango, mom had the opportunity of climbing up the ladder in the back of the bus to find a seat. She asked me, "Who's hand pushed my tush??" I just smiled :) I thought she needed help! On the return ride she landed in the aisle, on her tush! Even the Guatemalans found humor in that!! I then held her jacket to keep her in the seat as she held on with both arms as if she was on a roller-coaster! Yahooooo!!!!!

We arrived safely back in Santa Cruz..........and we are ready to head out tomorrow for a clinic in Chimente.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Clinic in Las Cuevas and mom meets Noe

We had heard of a community that was quite a distance from La Palma and patients were walking over 45 minutes to reach the clinic. Agostin had offered to help us arrange a clinic in Las Cuevas.

When we stopped in La Palma to get Agostin, we were surprised to see his wife and two of his children. Noe is the little boy in the first photo being held by his mother. Noe is the child that my mom and dad are helping to support through the ABC program. Agostin had heard that mom was visting so his family walked 25 minutes and brought fruit as a gift to mom. We only had a few minutes to talk and then we drove another hour to Las Cuevas.

The second photo is of Dr. Hurley and the others following us. We crossed rivers and the roads were not in the best condition. Not too many vehicles are seen on these roads.

The clinic was small because it was market day. We were told there are over 100 families within 3 close communities. The people were very friendly and not camera shy once we had spent a little time with them.

Lunch was served before we left. We enjoyed beans, rice, eggs, tortillas and rice drink. Agostin (Noe's father) is seated at the end of the table. He offered a prayer before our meal asking for blessings on the food and the community. We have plans to return to this area for another clinic but will plan on a non-market day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Exciting new clinic in Xatinab I

Today we were invited to a new community called Xatinab I. A sister from that Church had been to one of our clinics when we did not have very many patients and she said that in her area there was a great need for a clinic. She prepared her home, announced the clinic on the radio and met us in the rode to travel with us to her house.

We drove as far as we could and then carried all of our equipment and medicine to her home. It was an interesting hike. The first two photos are of mom making new Guatemalan friends. She wanted to ride one the rest of the way to the house but we did not have a cow saddle.

The next photo is of Gaspar, Manuel, Juan and Tomas unloading the truck. We had a wonderful response in the community. We had Dr. Hurley with us again, who made it possible for all 57 patients to be seen.

We began our clinic as usual with prayer.......asking God to bless the medicine to help the patients but also for the patients to understand that they need God more than medicine.

The last photo is of a malnourished child who is 1 yr and 7 months old. He weighed only 12 pounds. Josefina told the mother how sick the child was and that he would die if not taken to the hospital. At first she said no because her husband would be very upset. We talked more to her and she told us that she may return. I offered to drive her to the hospital if she would go.

We were served lunch which consisted of beef soup, tamales and pineapple drink. We finished seeing all of the patients and packed for our return trip. We had a discussion on when we could return to this area. We saw today there is a definite need in the community.

As were were ready to leave, the mother with the child returned to the house so we could take them to the hospital. The sister that had arranged the clinic rode with us to show support and even remained at the hospital with the mother and baby. Please pray for this baby and the family situation. As soon as we have an update, I will pass it on.

Update: Josefina's dad has visited the baby, Juan Diego, and the mother in the hospital. His report is that the baby is stronger and doing better. He is receiving IV medications, oxygen and feedings by a naso-gastric tube. Please continue your prayers for this child and family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mom's first clinic......

Mom, Teresa and Jon all arrived at the airport without any problems. We took a shuttle to Antigua from the airport and checked into our hotel. Later in the evening we had dinner....and then called it an early night.

Mom is now in Santa Cruz with me. We had clinic yesterday in Lemoa with our record number of 27 patients.....no time for photos. We then went to Chichicastenango to welcome Dr. Hurley and his family who will be helping us for two weeks while Lisa and Kemmel are in the states.

Today we traveled to Xetzac and saw 17 patients.

Mom is enjoying the traveling and food. For her first meal, I made her fried bean sandwiches with cheese and avocados. She can not wait for her next sandwich. Tonight we pasta and fresh pineapple.

Other than my hair looking like it got hit with a weed-eater, black circles under my eyes and slightly anorexic, she thinks I look great :):):)

I told her to bring warm clothes but today was the first time she has been warm.....and she even had a hot shower tonight. I never promised her water pressure.

The first photo is of mom and two of her new children Tomas and Josefina. "Ginny" is hard for the Guatemalans to pronounce, so I have told them that they could call her mom. The next photo is of Tomas relaxing between patients.

Tomorrow we will head to a new clinic and Dr. Hurley will accompany us.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mom arrives today.......

I am in Antigua, my home away from home, waiting to go to the airport to meet my mom and a friend. A shuttle from Chichi to the airport would have cost $80.00 today. Yesterday afternoon, I took a bus from Chichi to Antigua, spent the night and now have a shuttle to the airport.......all for $20.00. The hotel I frequently used in the past has closed but I have found another one for $13 a night.

The bus ride was interesting as usual. You would expect the driver to slow down a little during the turns but this one enjoyed accelerating! We took the curves so fast and furious that there were several times the man sitting on the other side of the bus extended his arm to keep me from sliding into the aisle. Everyone knew the lap of his or her seat partner, the aisle divided no one!

We did arrive in an area where a small land slide had just occurred. There were large boulders and piles of dirt that prevented us from passing. Even though the main damage had already been done done there were some rocks and dirt still falling. A large machine came in and cleared a path large enough for the bus to pass through.

I was excited to hear that Teresa, Jon and their daughter Bailey will be on the same flight as my mom. Teresa and I worked together in ICU for several years. They will be in Antigua and Guatemala City for one week for an adoption process. When Teresa and I worked together her favorite phrase during lunch was, "Just five more minutes......Just five more minutes......" It is interesting the things you remember after many years.

Mom will be here a month with me. I pray that all of them have a safe flight and I know God will answer that prayer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A full day........

Today we saw 18 patients in San Jorge. The local school had a meeting with the parents of the students and the teachers. It was interesting to watch the meeting take place in an open lot. At first we were not sure if we would have any patients but we did have a better turn out than first anticipated.

Enrique's wife was kind and prepared us lunch. When we had a break in patients, I drove to their home to help them bring the food back to the school. We enjoyed eggs, beans, tortillas and coke. After clinic was over, I offered to drive them back to their home. We piled 9 extra people in the truck and off we went through the woods!

We stopped by Lemoa on the way home to get some more medicines that we might need for the clinic tomorrow.

K'iche classes started again tonight. As soon as we returned to Santa Cruz, I went to the school to see if there was an opening for me. I was told there space in the class that will meet two nights a week and to return at 6:30pm for the two hour class. I went back to my house and washed some laundry in the pila to stay awake :)

Ok, this class will be another humbling experience. I will continue to work on my Spanish and also try to learn this new language. The class consists of 8 children, probably all under the age of 12.........and when we did our verbal practice, the teacher always referred to me as the mother :):) how kind........

ok....buenas noches for those of you that speak Spanish and xok aq'ab' for us that are trying to learn K'iche'.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Health Talents serves in the communities

It was wonderful to have Rick Harper and group from the states down last week. For 3 days we conducted both medical and dental clinics in surrounding areas. It provides support to the churches here who are trying to expand their ministries and it also is an encouragement to us.

We always pray with the patients before we begin clinic and this also provides the Church leaders an opportunity for an active role. The first three photos are in La Estancia where we have clinic once a month. We had 44 medical patients this day.

They provided lunch for us which was soup and tortillas.

On Friday, our regular clinic in Paraxaj had only a few patients. A political campaign beat us again by bringing medicines into the community the day before our clinic. We saw the 5 patients that were there and then headed to Mactzul V to help. A call had been sent out saying that there were over 100 patients waiting.

When we arrived there were two long lines of both medical and dental patients. We set up our equipment and began to help see patients. Dr. Allen White, a pediatrician saw a small girl with congestive heart failure probably due to a congenital defect. She will be followed and we will work on getting her an appointment with a specialist in the City.

Our nightly devotionals were inspiring and Sunday was special as we participated in the Lord's Supper. The week was full of special moments as we wanted to demonstrae the love that God has for man. We sang one of one of my favorite songs....

Love one another, for love is of God. He who loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love does not know God......for God is love, God is Love.

It was great to see familiar faces that return every summer for this clinic. It was also nice to meet new people and I hope that you will return again next year, if not before!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Maria!

We returned to San Jorge today and were very busy with 27 patients. It was Maria's birthday so we took her a cake.....and the poor lady had to suffer while we sang to her :) She was very pleased and appreciative. This photo is of Martin and Maria with their girls.

Today another Church member, Pedro, came and prayed with the patients. It is so important for the Church to see this as their ministry and to take an active role during the clinic.

I watched Maria as she cleaned out lunch in the pila before she cooked it. She skillfully had plucked the chicken and was cutting it up. The dogs, cats, chickens and goat waited patiently as she tossed parts of the unwanted chicken to them. All were salivating as they were hopeful that they would catch the next toss. I did not know that chickens ate chicken.......but I am learning more every day.................

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Returning to Xetzac

Today we took two of our new friends from Texas with us to Xetzac. When I told them we were going UP into the mountains, I do not think they realized how serious I was.....it is UP! We had a great day for the almost two hour drive and we arrived safe. We had a man from the Church help us which was an encouragement.

We saw 12 patients today. We heard of a 13 year old girl that had stepped on a nail and could not walk to the clinic. Manuel offered to go and get the girl in the truck and they returned with about ten family members. Josefina removed the rest of the nail from her foot and placed a few stitches in it.

The first photo is of Manuel, Elsa, Josefina, Tomas and Aldelita in front of the clinic. For lunch we were served potatos, tortillas and tea. Elsa wants everyone to know how well she cleaned her bowl because the lunch was so good. She especially liked the picante sauce.

In the afternoon when most of the patients were gone, Adelita and I played catch with about eight children. It was a productive day and we will return to this community again in two weeks.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Clinic in Sepela with a group from Texas

Pat Hile brought a group of people from Texas and we held a joint clinic together in Sepela. We had 25 patients and it was a wonderful day.

We had three groups consulting with patients. I was paired with Dr. Liliana Oakes and Kylie Fonteno who is a P.A. student. The first photo is of Dr. Liliana with a patient who has a club foot. She had redesigned her shoe to make walking easier.

After all of the patients were seen we played with the children. They enjoyed playing ball, making t-shirts and singing songs.