Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good clinic in Lemoa

Today we had a good clinic in Lemoa. We had 11 dental patients and 17 medical patients.

One couple was very, very happy to find out that they were pregnant! They have been married for two years and this was exciting news for them.

I took out the trash to burn and when I went back into the clinic, I realized I must have been standing amid the fire ants! My pants, shoes and socks were covered and they were making their way over my legs and stinging me as they were marching on! I quickly grabbed a bottle of Windex and began to spray the ants, which quickly killed them. Believe me, I will be more careful when I burn the trash next time.

The photo is of Tomas as he is counting medicine and he has three assistants to help him :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cloudy La Palma

Today was a cloudy, cold day in La Palma. We drove through the mist to the school and set up for our clinic. Marcos and Maury went with us and they saw the ABC children for a dental clinic. We saw 17 medical patients.

The first photo is of the clouds rolling across the mountains. There was a fine mist and it was very cold. The second photo is of the flowers that are in bloom here. They are beautiful and cover the fields.

The lunch that was served today was spectacular! I was cold and they served us hot beef soup with fresh tortillas. The guys were joking about how many tortillas we all ate but Maury and I would not confess our quantities :):):)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rain in November???

We had clinic yesterday in Chimente and had a good response with 22 patients. We still have not had a big turn-out yet from people wanting their teeth cleaned.....but it is still a new concept to them and in time they will have a better understanding.

The rain started again last night when I was having dinner with the Luz family. I thought I heard rain but thought it was my imagination. Mrs. Lux confirmed it was rain and we just shrugged our shoulders and gave each other a quizzical look. The rain continued through the night and even through most of the today.

Clinic today was in Chuchipaca. It was the last clinic this year for them and we will resume in 2008 on Saturdays.

Today a lady returned to the clinic that was seen last month. She originally came with multiple problems but we listened to her lungs, we found a mass under her arm. Dr. Hoak is a surgeon in Chichi that we refer to and she went to see him the next day. The lady did not understand the cost of the surgery so she did not return on the day she was suppose to. Today I spoke to Dr. Hoak and now the lady knows to return to the hospital and he will help her. The mass is large and does not look good. All we can do is pray for her and if when I hear something, I will pass it on.

This family was so excited to have their photo taken.......until they sat down......and then the smiles and laughter vanished! In the second photo, the children wanted to help me........who knows, maybe someday they will work in a clinic!?!?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A full but wonderful day.........

This morning I had 5 new students in the English class. They ranged from ages 6 to 12 so I had to change my plans for the class and my teaching technique. They were very excited to learn and I did not have to prompt them as much as I do the adults. I invented some exercises for them to do out of their seats to help them with numbers and we had a good class.

I went with the Lux's to a baptism this afternoon. I met them at their house and we drove to a park that has a couple of pools. It was good to see some of the people that helped us establish some of our clinics.

In the first photo, the man on the left is Martin who helped us in La Estancia. The man in the middle is Josefina's dad, Diego. The man on the right is Enrique, who helped us in Panajxit.

The second photo is of of the baptism. It was a very inspirational time and then Diego talked for a little about the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16). I have to admit, I did not understand most of it because most of it was in K'iche'.

We drove back to Santa Cruz and worshiped with the Church here for two and a half hours.....the days are sometimes long but filled with important things.

Friday, November 23, 2007 much to be thankful for!

My blogsite would not open last night so I am catching up. Guatemela does not celebrate Thanksgiving so we do the best we can here. I had a good dinner with Lisa and Kemmel last night. We enjoyed grilled steak, black beans, rice, tortillas and cokes. It was not your typical Thanksgiving dinner but we were appreciative and I always enjoy spending time with them.

My family enjoyed a dinner with my grandmother in Morganton, NC. The first photo is of my dad, my brother and my grandmother. My dad will make his first visit to Guatemala in January and I look forward to his visit. Mike, my brother, also lives in Morganton with his family. He works for the NC Department of Forestry. My grandmother is 95 years old and does very well.

The second photo is of my mom and Mike. Mike had probably been teasing mom on why she only brought him two pies to eat........

The last photo shows that they thought of place setting and my DDP (Diet Dr. Pepper)
I will be home in a few short weeks and then Mike and I can battle over the pie :)

Opening day in the dental clinic!

Yesterday Marcos and Maury had their first patient in Clinca Caris. It was an exciting time. They cut a ribbon and had a bow on their door. They will see patients in Lemoa a few days a week and also go with us into the communities on the other days. right now they are providing services to the ABC children in diferent areas.

This little boy followed me around all morning and wanting his photo taken. I kept hearing, "Sheri, photo please!" as he would hide behind the truck or a wall. When I went to get my camera, he was ALL smiles!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A day of planning

Today Kemmel, Josefina and I spent the day planning the rest of the year and looking at plans for 2008.......we even had discussions for 2009.....yes, we know time passes rapidly. We discussed the interns that will be here in January, groups that want to come, the surgical clinics that we will go to the coast for, the MET Program, educational activities that we want to have for the staff and different areas that we can have clinics in. It can be very consuming but I also find it exciting. From day-to-day you never know what doors might be opened and what opportunities that we might have.

On the drive home today, Josefina and I saw several members of the community walking the criminals or thieves, ladrones, through the street again. It is an eerie feeling as they paraded through the streets, cuffed and usually wearing little clothing. I am told they are taken to a public area, flogged and then delivered to the police.

The photo is of the Christmas tree in Santa Cruz. It is lit at night and several vendors sell their good through the park area. Yes, they are already playing Christmas music.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ABC dental clinic in Xepocol

The ABC dental clinic was a wonderful today. We had 25 medical patients and 28 dental patients. The first photo is of Josefina cleaning and preparing to see medical patients.

I worked in the pharmacy and loved it! Kemmel would sign the patients in and then I would do their vital signs. After they were seen, I would tell them about their medicines. We kept the flow of patients going and I love busy clinics like this.

The second photo is of the guys preparing the dental area. Maury is on the left, she is the new dental assistant. To her left is Juan, Tomas, Gaspar and Manuel. They are garbed up and ready for action!

The group of children were seen as patients and continued to smile through the day. Even though the day was primarily for children, we did have several older ladies who are widows or ladies who did not have any money for their medicine. I think it is a wonderful service that is provided and it reminds me of James 1:28, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back in Santa Cruz....

We had our English class on Sunday morning. It was a small class but they had a lot of enthusiasm. They really enjoy the game BINGO or maybe it is the candy they enjoy more :) but this week there was a lot of improvement. They actually repeated many of the numbers back to me in English, when last week they would only repeat them back to me in Spanish or K'iche'.

During many of our classes the neighbors would slowly walk by and say hello. This week they actually stopped, listened and tried a few words. I told them that they are welcomed to join us on Sunday mornings. Four said that they will join us next Sunday. I will welcome them in Spanish with "bienvenidos" and if they speak K'iche, I will welcome them with "utz ipetik." Then after they are seated, I will quickly return to my English!

I went to Antigua to spend some time with Juliet and her family. The top photo is of her family taken earlier this year. Her children are very sad and it has been a very difficult year for them since Juliet's husband, Leonel, had spent a large part of it in the hospital. The second photo was taken from their house. Antigua is beautiful and Leonel would tell me that Antigua is heaven because the weather is perfect. He was a wonderful father and he will really be missed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yesterday on Choacoman IV

Yesterday we had clinic in Choacoman IV with patients, children, turkeys, chickens, cats and dogs. It was a very active day. The sun came out from time to time and that made it even nicer.

The first photo is of the chickens that have run of the courtyard when the turkeys are not around. The only black one might feel out of place at times.

The children love entertaining us. If you run the video a few times, the sound will be more streamline. The children have about six songs that they love to sing.

I received a call this afternoon letting me know that my Spanish teacher's husband in Antigua died this morning. His health had been very bad and his illness has been hard on the family. After our English class in the morning, I will go and spend some time with them. It will be one of those times when there is nothing you can say, just only be there.

I bought more firewood today......did laundry in a washing machine.....hung my clothes out to dry in the sun...........and studied more is good :):):)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clinic in Lemoa

Today we all were in Lemoa together and we had 22 patients. It was a good day for clinic.....a little rain, a little cold and a little sun.

For lunch we walked through the corn field to our usual place for lunch. We had beef soup and tamalitos. She kept bringing the tamalitos and we kept eating them. They were warm and very fresh.

After lunch we had a meeting to understand how Marcos will be working with us and which team would clean teeth daily during the mobile clinics. We began looking at our schedule for 2008 and trying to decide how to serve different communities to the best of our ability. We may be able to increase some clinics to twice a month and others we may begin to visit once a month.

The work is so important and I don't ever want to lose the true focus......yes, the physical aspects are important but the physical realm is only temporary. Today Juan, Gaspar and I had separate conversations with patients who had several questions about the Church. Juan talked to one patient about the spiritual world being eternal.......that eventually we will not need medicine or have pain. They seemed to have genuine interest so you never know what seeds are being planted.

The guys have a serious side to them but they also can cut up-------this photo is of Gaspar modeling his new "man-purse." It was delivered to him today during our meeting and of course, I wanted a photo. He said he wanted a new one to carry his Bible in. It is even lined! Watch out dad...........Christmas will be here soon :):):)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cold, shaking clinic in Chuguexa

We had a good day in Chuguaxa but it was another cold day. Through parts of the day we could see the sun trying to break through the mist of clouds. Between patients, when we saw a little sun, we would sit outside near the corrugated tin roof and it was warmer there.

The first photo is of Tomas, Gaspar and Juan.

In the second photo we had some new patients. Originally, the mother had brought her son who is standing in front of Juan. She later came back with her two daughters. Their brother gave them a play-by-play report on how I would listen to them with my stethoscope. He was so excited he could not sit still on the bench and finally the mom had him wait outside so she would be able to answer my questions. I wish all patients had his enthusiasm!

The shaking news of the day was we had another earthquake during clinic. This "temblor" registered 5.3 on the scale. Gaspar was sitting next to me on a bench and I just thought he was bouncing his leg.......when I looked at him for a response to my question, he quietly asked if I felt it. I nodded and we continued to sit every calmly with our patient. I could tell by her eyes she was very nervous. It lasted 20-25 seconds, during which no one spoke or moved. When it had finished, we whispered a quiet "thank you" and then continued with our patient.

We saw 14 patients today and then headed home when we were told there were no others to be seen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cold clinic in Chuchipaca

Today if seemed to be very cold in Chuchipaca. The patients were walking around saying, "C'ax tew" which is K'iche' for, "very cold." The girl above is Brenda. Brenda is eight years old and is the daughter on Juan, who helps us with our clinics. We played catch with a tennis ball between patients today and had fun entertaining each other.

For lunch we all walked to a small tienda and ordered coffee and bread. We took it back to the clinic area and waited for more patients. The coffee was very hot and the bread was sweet. When we were finished, Brenda and I carried the coffee pot and plates back to the tienda. I told the owner how good the coffee and bread were, thanked her and then said goodbye. When we arrived back at the truck, I realized the guys had not paid for it so that was our funny moment of the day. They laughed at me for saying, "adios" and then leaving the store.

We were somewhat disappointed that we did not have dental patients today......but we are continuing to hope for tomorrow. The process is still new to them. When the communities become more familiar with this service, I think the guys will stay very busy.

P.S. We went back and paid for the coffee and bread before we left :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Meet Marcos!

Marcos, our new dentist, has started working with us. His graduation is Wednesday and we are very excited to have him. He will be a great benefit to the communities. The first photo is of him beginning to organize his room at Clinica Caris.

One gentleman showed up today with a very infected foot. Josefina consulted with him and then made an appointment in Chichi with Dr. Hoak, a surgeon. He stated that he has had this infected area on his foot for a year.

Kemmel has the washing machine at the clinic working so I washed the dirty sheets and towels today. I tied up a line so they could dry in the sun........they smelled so fresh.

Tomorrow we are headed to Chuchipaca. I hope we have a mountain of patients. Gaspar and Tomas will clean should be another wonderful day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Full day in Santa Cruz.......

I don't have any photos to share from today but it was a full day. I met the English class at the clinic. I introduced the guys to BINGO in hopes of helping them learn their numbers better. After I would announce the number, I would hear them repeating it in Spanish and K'iche'. I would repeat it in hopes of them repeating me..........well, I continued to hope and continued to hope.

On the way home from our class, I was stopped by the police. Thanks to Kemmel, I was prepared! Last week we reviewed where all of the papers were and what they might ask for. I gave them my International License, they looked at everything, smiled, gave it back and said goodbye......whew!

After the English class I went to my Spanish class. I thought we were going to study for two hours but she abruptly ended it after one hour. I must have been boring because she yawned and yawned.......We will study again on Thursday. I will have so much information prepared for her she will yawn when we are finished!

Tonight I went to church with Josefina's parents. It was a good sermon on being a servant. I enjoyed it and then walked home. Some of the other members joined me for my walk home to make sure I was safe.

That is all the news I have from today.......just remember to carry your driver's license and be sure your car's inspection is current :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Free day in Panajachal

Yesterday, we had a free day so I left early on Friday morning for Pana just to chill for the night. I got a room and then headed to Hotel Atitlan where there is a nature reserve. I spent a couple of hours walking around and the weather was perfect for it. It is much warmer in Pana than it is in Santa Cruz so I enjoyed the sunshine.

There are groomed trails to enjoy with swinging bridges, spider monkeys, coatimundi and waterfalls. There are also areas for butterflies and birds.

You can even hear couples arguing when the animals get to close for their comfort. One couple and their child were above me when I was near the coatimundi. Six or seven entered the observation area and it was making the wife nervous. The husband was telling his wife what to do and she did not appreciate it. She yelled back at him, "Don't you yell at me, there have been signs saying not to feed the look what you have started!" I just smiled and took more pictures :)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Clinic in Lemoa

Today we had clinic in Lemoa at Clinica Caris. We had 11 patients with happy moments and also some with concern.

The photo above is of 4 generations. The gentleman is the father of the little boy. His mother and his grandmother are to his left. The grandmother wanted glasses and I wish I had a photo of her trying on and then enjoying her new glasses. She just grinned and continued to grin more as she said, "Utz, Utz" which means "good" in K'iche'. Sometimes, you are not sure why they smile or laugh so much.....I just had to go by what she said that her vision was better.

One couple came to the clinic today and were afraid that the wife was pregnant. She tested positive and the problem was she had been bleeding for 8 days. I quickly consulted Lisa and she advised that they go to the hospital immediately. We prayed together and then they were on their way to the hospital in Santa Cruz. Please remember this family in your prayers.

I have found a new Spanish teacher and will begin to study on Sunday mornings after our English class. The teachers name is Francisca and she seems to be very sharp. I am going to help her develop patience because I am not the easiest student :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wonderful day in Mactzul VI

Well, it was one of those wonderful days that you just sigh and say,"Thank you." No special reason......just a wonderful day.

Before I reached Chichi today, Kemmel called and told me that we may have problems with a bridge going to Mactzul VI so we should meet the men at the school. The thought was maybe they would consider having the clinic in the school because we have added a lot of equipment to our truck for the dental cleaning. The men did not want to hold the clinic in the school and told me I could cross the bridge. It was one of those moments of trust. I could not see the other side of the bridge due to piles of dirt and rocks. Gaspar drew a diagram on hand and told me to drive like that.....after we crossed it, the guys applauded and I whispered, "Gracias a Dios".

Gaspar started cleaning teeth today in the clinic and it was very exciting for him.....and I enjoyed it too. I love to see people grow and develop and you can tell he really enjoys doing it. I would pop in between medical patients and we would ask each other how we were doing. It will be a great service to the communities and we can be more proactive with preventive care.

The girl in the pink blouse helped me drive home. She had to sit in the front with Gaspar and I. I could tell she was bored so I asked her if she wanted to help me drive.......her little hand never left the steering wheel during the drive home.

We had our last Kiche' class tonight. I have not been able to attend all of them but have enjoyed it. Hopefully, Bill will offer to help us again in the future.

Tomorrow we have clinic in Caris and hopefully I will get a photo of Marcos. I will introduce you to our new dentist!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Uneventful Tuesday........

Today we did not have clinic so I stayed in Santa Cruz and enjoyed the day. I had planned on going to Panajachal last night but as I was walking to the bus it began to rain. I decided to stay home and catch up on fun things......laundry, cleaning, shopping and my English class. Tomorrow I hope to have 25% of the program completed.

Today as I walked through the park the sun was shinning and it felt good. It was too cold for my usual icecream so I stopped and ordered a coffee for the walk.

I want to share two more photos. The first one is of Crystal who was here for the medical mobile clinics. She is in Mactzul V showing us her plate of fried chicken, rice and salad. The ladies of Mactzul V always prepare a wonderful lunch and we really appreciate it!

The second photo is David Lux and his wife Sonya. David is a physician and Sonya is now working with the dentists. They live near the coast, close to Clinica Ezell and were also here to help during the clinics. It is always good to have them here!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Update on Medical Mobile Clinics

In the three days of clinic we served eight communities. We held clinics in Lemoa, Mactzul II, La Palma, Choacoaman IV, La Estancia, Paxot II, Mactzul V and Chuchipaca II. I do not have the totals yet of how many patients were seen but we pray that the patients and families were blessed and are feeling better. As always, people returned to the States feeling that they were blessed more than the patients.

First Photo: Children drawing in Mactzul II. It does not take much to entertain a group of children.
Second Photo: Children coloring in Choacoman IV. After lunch these children always return and thank everyone, individually for the meal. If they have not learned your name yet, there will be a delay and then they will call you brother or sister.
Third Photo: Mother and baby in Mactzul V.
Fourth Photo: A boy who had just visited the dentist.
Fifth Photo: The sunset driving home from Mactzul V.