Sunday, September 30, 2007

Guatemala on the weekend.......

I picked up Dr. Rugal and his wife Connie on Saturday morning and they drove to Panajachal with me. It was a pretty day and the lake was very clear. We enjoyed the drive and stopped to take photos. They spent the night on the lake with a beautiful view from their room. Kemmel and Lisa will return for them today.

I completed my month of studying Spanish in Pana. I talked to Lisa today and she said there is a new K'iche' class starting in Chichi so I asked her to reserve me a spot in the class. The class will meet on Wednesday evenings.

Today we had our second English Class. There was a new student today so I hope that the class will grow.

For those who have followed my dove story, I have the dove to safely return to the owner when she comes home this evening. I am so thankful that Tomas and his family did not eat their pet........whew!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Clinic in Paxot II

I met Tomas near my house and we traveled to Paxot II to meet the others. Kemmel had picked up Dr. Sowell, his wife Connie, Juan and Manuel earlier in the morning. We began our clinic at 0900 when we prayed with the patients. We saw 12 patients today and most of the cases were skin problems.

The top photo is of Ector and his mother getting medicine from Tomas. Ector has impetigo and is getting some medicine for it

The second photo is deceiving. It looks as if I parked the truck in front of a small tree. In the next photo.......the truth is revealed. If you enlarge the photo, you can see that the man did not mind at all his photo was being taken.

Last night when I came home I found a dove in my terrace. I thought it had fallen, was hurt and would not be able to get out since it was still there this morning. Tomas and two other guys came home with me and carefully put the dove in a box and offered to take it to their home. I was very thankful.........until the owner of the house came home tonight and asked if she could come in my terrace to get her dove! My heart sank. I told her what had happened and that I would get her dove back. I have tried several times to call Tomas but he does not answer his phone......... I am afraid he and his family are home EATING the dove.........I will keep you posted.....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Meet Florencia from Las Cuevas

Meet Florencia from Las Cuevas. She is an ABC child and is supported by a lady from my parents congregation. Hettie lives in Morganton, NC and sent gifts to Florencia. Josefina was able to meet Florence and take some photos to share. Florence and her family have to walk over an hour when they visit one of our clinics. The ABC program will keep Florencia in school, provide her with medical care, help with her clothing and assist the family with food.

If you enlarge the photo, you can see the tiara and the necklace that Hettie sent Florencia. the bottom photo is of Florencia, her sister and her mother. There is also a baby on the mothers back that is difficult to see.

The clinics are continuing to do well. Unfortunately, Josefina and her group got stuck in the mud today. Kemmel went and helped them so they could travel home. I am thankful that they were not hurt.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let the English begin.........

The guys that I have been working with have shown an interest in learning English so we started our classes today. We will study for 2 hours on Sunday mornings at Clinica Carris. They have been very patient and helpful to me so I want to do the same for them. I am hoping that the class will continue to grow and they will have opportunities to practice when groups from the States visit.

L to R
Juan---helps with our clinics in Chuchipaca
Gabriel--Manuel's son
Tomas--helps with all of our clinics
Juan--helps with all of our clinics
Manuel--helps with all of our clinics
Fransica--Manuel's daughter
Sabastian--helps with our clinics in Chimente

Friday, September 21, 2007

Catching up on news.......

For some reason the last few days have seemed like a whirlwind and I am behind on our clinics.

Wednesday we had 36 patients in Xatinab. It was a good clinic and the patients were so appreciative.

Yesterday we had clinic in Lemoa and saw 7 patients.

Today our clinic was in Choacaman IV and we saw 10 patients. We received a call from Kemmel saying that the other group had over 40 patients in Mactzul II. It was the first time a clinic had been done in that area so he asked if we would come and help......sure!! So, we loaded up the truck and made it in time for lunch! Perfect timing :)

Top photo: Tomas, Juan, Josefina and Gaspar

Middle photo: Kemmel, Connie, Rugal and Manuel

Bottom photo: our new friends

We finished the day with 52 patients. As we drove away the patients continued to thank us as the children waved. It was a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Today my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!!! Congratulations Mom and Dad..............They were married in the home of my mothers parents in Corunna, Michigan. Dad was in the Marines, stationed in California. I knew they were lonely that far away from their families, so I came to "visit" them the following August. I was born in New Port Beach, California.

Thank you mom and dad........children can not receive anything more special in life than a loving, Christian home.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Connie's new friend in Chuchipaca

This morning we drove to Chichi to pick up the Sowel's, Tomas and Juan. We then continued to Chuchipaca and we started clinic promptly at 0900. Even though it was a small clinic, I hope that the patients we saw feel better.

One patient presented with a blood sugar of 309 two weeks ago. We discussed changing her diet and using some medication. Today her blood sugar was 179 and she said she felt some better. I hope that she will return in two weeks and we will see even more of an improvement.

This little girl and Connie began a "conversation'' in their own language. She was precious.

After clinic we went to visit Lisa in her clinic. We parked the truck and proceeded to walk uphill through a cemetery. We met her co-workers and Lisa showed us the clinic. We are thankful that she was placed so close to Chichi........only God could have made this possible. She has less than 5 months left, then will serve 6 months in the hospital.......then she can return to our clinics :)

Tomorrow we will head to Xatinab I. I am really excited about returning to this community. We were last in Xatinab on July 18th and saw 57 patients. I blogged that day about taking the small child to the hospital. We have since heard he was released from the hospital and is doing much better. I am hoping to see him and his mother tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Clinic in Lemoa with Dr. Sowel

Dr. Rugal Sowel and his wife Connie started working with us today. They live near the Austin, TX area and will be here for about 2 weeks. Dr. Sowel has been involved with short term medical missions for many years and he also lived in Guatemala from the years 1967-68 and again in 1978-79. He and Connie have been married for 1 year, 2 months and 2 days...........and we wish them many more!

We saw 36 patients today and it was a busy clinic. We welcomed the patients with prayer before clinic began.

We saw one woman who has had a significant weight loss of 40 lb in one year. We will try some medicine and hope that this will allow her to eat. Her friend came to the clinic with her today because she is thankful for how much better she feels since she was seen last week. She asked us to pray with her because she was so thankful. It was touching as both women dropped to their knees and Gaspar prayed with them in K'iche".

The most difficult patient was a young boy who had been burned while lighting a fire. Both of his legs were severely burned to his knees with first and second degree burns. He was in a lot of pain but he was really trying to be strong. He was quickly referred to Dr. Hoak in Chichicastenango who helps us with many of our surgical patients.

Tomorrow we will head to Chichipaca for another clinic. I look forward to working with Dr. Sowel and appreciate this opportunity to learn more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Antigua????? Are we there YET??????

The celebration for Independance Day, "Dia de la Revolution" began early. Kemmel , Lisa and Quinton led the way as Josefina and I followed in our truck as we traveled slowly to Antigua. The usual 3.5 hour drive lasted a long.........7.5 hours! Yes, I can fly quicker to the States than drive to Antigua :)

There were groups of runners along the way that were very interesting. The groups would carry torches followed by buses or vans with music. The runners would take turns carrying the torches. As they would run through the street the crowds would hurl water at the runners. They would just relight the torch and continue to run. We watched as they filled the bags, bottles and pails with water. It did not matter what the source of water was. Many were draining the mud puddles from the recent rain! Between groups of runners the people would throw water at the vehicles. Josefina had JUST put her window up when one bag slammed into her door!

It was entertaining until we realized we were NOT going anywhere. We turned the truck off for the majority of 3 hours. It was at this point we knew we were going to miss dinner with the group and would arrive very late......or EARLY in the morning.

We finally did see part of the problem as we passed a truck that had hit a bus. The two lane road grew into 4-5 lanes as divers became impatient, which only intensified the problem.

We finally reached Antigua at 2330..........just another adventure :)

Clinic in Mactzul V

This is a photo of Dr. Dickerson who as been with us this week and Josefina. We had a joint clinic today in Mactzul V, seeing 13 patients.

One man came today with his two daughters. One had a red eye and when examined closer, we found a small white growth. Josefina wrote a referral for her to be seen by an ophthalmologist. The other daughter did not have an appetite and also was eating dirt. I asked the dad to please return in a month so we could follow up with the girls.

This little boy was also a patient today. His dad sells cokes and refreshments outside of the clinic.

We will be headed to Antigua this evening after Lisa finishes with her clinic. We will have dinner with the group and they will fly back to the States in the early morning. It was good to see them earlier this week and we pray they have a safe flight and return to their families.

Returning for our clinics

We left Clinica Ezell at 0700 for our clinic in Chuguaxa. Returning with me were Gaspar, Tomas and Dr. Dickerson. Dr. Dickeron is a cardiologist and will be helping me with our clinics for the remainder of the week.

Gaspar and Tomas have been learning how to clean teeth the last few days. They want to expand their work which will be very helpful in our clinics. Last night Tomas came to dinner with a mouth of gauze. Unfortunately, he had to have 4 teeth pulled and my heart hurt for him. Before we left the clinic he told me he was feeling ok and not hurting. I have to believe him but do not think I could be that strong.

We arrived in Chuguaxa before 0900 and saw 22 patients. We saw a variety of patients which always makes for a good day. One woman received word that her pap test was normal. We found a boy about 8 years old who has a ruptured ear drum. Dr. Dickerson is going to follow up on possible treatment. We talked with a mother and her daughter who are struggling since the husband/father died about 8 years ago. We had a few diabetics and talked to them about improving their diets.

These children helped us carry our gear to the truck and then hid in the trees :)

I returned to Santa Cruz after clinic and it feels good to be home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday Clinic

OK, another day in the Operating Room. Today was another long day and I was able to pass instruments (using the term loosely) on two cases. We started at 0800 and finished at 1910. Dr. Bob Elder was very patient with me and I learned alot.

The first photo is of me positioning a patient for an epidural.......during the epidural.......I will protect you from the graphic details of the Operating Room.

The last photo is of the table of instruments......yes, they have to count EVERY needle, gauze and instrument before, during and after the operation. And if the count is NOT correct, well I would not want to be around :)

There were 18 surgeries done today. So far all of the patients have done well and there has not been any complications.....gracias a Dios.

Tonight after dinner a group of us went to sing to the patients. We really enjoyed doing it and we also hoped it would uplift their spirits.

Gaspar, Tomas and I will be head back to toward Chichi tomorrow morning. Dr. Dickerson will go with us and help us in our clinics until Friday. On Friday we will head to Antigua and have dinner with the group before they fly back to the States early Saturday morning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday Clinic

It was a fast paced day with 3 operating rooms running. In total, nineteen operations were completed..

The first photo is of Marie Agree who is our trip leader. She struck a pose for the camera. She has worked with Health Talents for many years. In the evenings she always lets us know that the next day will be about the same drill but with some variation :) It keeps us from getting bored!

The next photo is of Marta, a patient and "Hermana Lucas." Marta usually arrives on the unit about 6 am, walks all patients to a waiting area and then inserts all IVs prior to surgery. Hermana Lucus arrives on the unit about the same time in the morning and tirelessly cleans, does laudry and changes bed linens.

We had our nightly devotional and prayed for each patient individually. Again, we hope that they are able to have a good nights rest.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Clinic has begun!

Click play to the left of the black screen

We worshiped today with the local Church of Christ. It was a very encouraging sermon. If you click the play button on the bottom/left, you should hear a recording of a song we sang during the service.
The first photo is of the Milam's. I met Beverly and Kelly during one of my first trips here. The second photo is of Dianne Martin and Benny Cleveland. Dianne and I continue to email each other frequently and Benny led the 3 point devotional last night. The third photo is of the Griffins. Dennis can fix anything that needs to be fixed here at the clinic and Elaine is an RN that helps in the recovery area.
We had two operating rooms running today and seven surgeries were completed. We pray that they have a good night sleep with very little discomfort..........

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Traveled to Clinic Ezell

Today I studied in Panajachal while Kemmel and Lisa were kind enough to wait for me. After class we enjoyed pizza for lunch and then headed to Montellano. It rained most of the drive and some of the river beds are very high.

It is good to see people that I have met during previous clinics. Today was a long day of travel for them. Dinner was very good with fresh lemonade, tortillas, guaccamole and fresh cilantro.

Dr. Benny Cleveland led the devotional and focused on three any good lesson would. He emphasized the points of salvation, sactification and service. The signs are in the dinning room and are a helpful reminder to people who are here to serve.

Lisa met with the physicans after our devotional and the people who want to help in the recovery area also met to organize a plan.
We will worship with the Church acoss the street tomorrow morning and then begin to see patients scheduled for surgery. Tomorrow may be a little chaotic because it is the voting day. I am hoping that once the voting is over, things will settle down.

Buenas noches.......

Friday, September 7, 2007

Clinic in Chocoman IV

We arrived in Chocaman IV, parked the truck and honked the horn. Shortly, six men arrived to help us carry our equipment. We walked through the corn fields to a church building and a house. The patients were waiting for us on the patio.

We prepared quickly for clinic and welcomed the patients. Gaspar read from Isaiah 38 about Hezekiah who was told he would die. He prayed to the Lord and 15 years was added to his life. Today we pray to the same Lord who is just as able to answer our prayers and give us more than we can dream of.

We saw 14 patients today. The room was decorated with drawings and colorings of children. Can you translate the first picture?

These are my three new friends. After lunch we played on the patio and then they wanted to help us carry our equipment back to the truck. They are very good back pack carriers!

This pair of shoes has seen some difficult work in the fields.

As we were packing up it began to rain. This chicken was smart enough to stay out of the rain! He just hugged the inside of the doorway of the building.

Tomorrow I study in Panajachal and then travel with Lisa and Kemmel to Clinica Ezell. We will be there a few days and then return for our clinics.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Driving to Mactzul VI

I met Gaspar in Chichicastenango and we proceeded to get Juan. We received a call stating that part of the road would be bad. When we reached that area, Gaspar told me there was no other road and that he was nervous to cross over. There was a "bridge" of logs that connected the road. Juan walked ahead of us as we crossed and everything was fine.

We parked the truck and honked the horn to signal the men from the Church. Three men arrived shortly and helped us carry our equipment for about a 15 minute walk.

The church building is very pretty. The third photo is a painting behind the pulpit. This photo shows only about half of the painting.

The last photo is of Psalm 23. This chapter of the Bible became significant as the day progressed.

One man came to the clinic today because he is having problems sleeping and is having bad thoughts at night. He can not concentrate and is very nervous. I asked Gaspar to read Psalm 23 in K'iche' for the man because he can not read.

Gaspar continued to talk to the man mostly in K'iche' but also some Spanish. During the reading the man began to smile and repeat some of the words. Then they talked about the significance of prayer and how it would help the man sleep at night. The man began to cry and say that he needed more faith........don't we all?

I asked him to return when we have clinic there again in November and I hope to hear that he is sleeping better.

The Lord is my shepherd............
Jeova es mi pastor........

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Clinic in Chuchipaca

We left Santa Cruz about 0745 and met Juan and Gaspar in Chichicastenango. We traveled about 45 minutes to Chuchipaca. We only had 12 patients so we finished earlier than usual.

Two men from the local Church worked with us today. Edwin prayed with the patients after their consult and Juan helped me with the K'iche' speaking patients.

After all of the patients were seen, Josefina worked with Juan on taking blood pressures. The goal is to work with the volunteers to the extent that they are able to keep some medicines in their homes and to know how to use them appropriately. We want the community to recognize who the Church leaders are so they will go to them when they have needs. It is a slow process but obtainable. "Poco a poco" as they say, "little by little."

On the way home we made a home visit to a patient. About 4 years ago he was severely beaten and since then needs a wheel chair. He has a difficult time controlling his diabetes and it is a very sad situation. He and his family were very appreciative.

After I returned to Santa Cruz I started walking to the park. About half way there, I decided I wanted to have chicken for dinner. About that time, a dog in the street went for my leg but luckily only caught my scrub pant. I unstrapped my back pack getting ready to use it on him but he released my pant. This is the first time a dog has ever bothered me. He must have been "smelling" my thoughts :)

Tomorrow, another adventure and another community........

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pak'ak'aj Xesic clinic

Today I traveled to Pak'ak'aj with Gaspar and Juan. This is the first of Dr. Lisa's clinics that I have done solo without Dr. Josefina. When the patients did not have family that spoke Spanish, Gaspar helped me with the K'iche' speaking patients.

We had 12 patients today and they were benign visits. One gentleman has an inguinal hernia so he will follow up for surgery. Other patients had common muscle pains, headaches and gastric problems.

Gaspar and I alternated praying with the patients. When he was with me, he would pray in K'iche' and when I was alone I would pray in Spanish. One lady and her husband had general complaints of their muscles and total body pain. When we were finished, I asked Gaspar to pray in K'iche' and at this time the husband and his wife kneeled for the prayer. Gaspar and I followed suit. Kneeling during prayer is common here and it is very humbling.

Kemmel joined us for part of the day. We walked a short distance to a house and enjoyed a delicious meal of beef, black beans, grilled onions and tortillas.

I returned to my house to study Spanish and practice talking for my teacher on Saturday :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The weekend is over.....

Yesterday I traveled to Panajachal and started my Spanish classes. I was disappointed because my teacher does not speak K'iche' and he wants me to do all of the talking. Hmmmmm......I did not know what to talk about. I am not good at just chatting. Well, we will see how the month of September goes.

Sunday morning I started getting caught up on work such as laundry, cleaning and unpacking from when I returned to the States. I was up at 0800 washing clothes in the pila, hanging them on the line and hoping that it did not rain. I was able to study 2 hours so that is some progress.

I hopped a Chicken Bus to Lemoa to meet Lisa and Kemmel. I will have some clinics separate from Josefina this week so I needed to borrow their truck. Many have told me that I am in their thoughts and prayers as I start somewhat of a different role here. I really appreciate it!

When I went to Josefina's house this afternoon, she told me we were going to have worship in a different house. Two men in the community were baptized today and they wanted to host the worship service in their home. There were over 47 people there and it was very encouraging. I pray that these two men will grow in spirit and they will have a close walk with God.

Ok, tomorrow I am off to Pak'ak'ja Xesic with Gaspar and Juan. It will be a good day and I will return home for more studying.

Update: For those that followed the child we saw on July 18th, we received an update. Josefina spoke to someone from that community and child was released from the hospital and is doing very well. God does answer prayer and we give Him the glory. We hope to return to that community as soon as we can because there is a great need there.