Thursday, January 31, 2008
The sad patient today was a 11 month old baby that weighed only 9 pounds. We talked about nutrition and hopefully the medicine will help. I asked the mother to bring the baby back in two weeks so we can see if we are making progess on the weight.
Tomorrow we head to Paxot II and it should be a wonderful clinic.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The sun was out today and it was almost warm. This is unusual weather for Las Trampas. Usually the clouds roll over us and it is very cold. When clinic was over, I pulled in the first tienda for a Coke......I was very thirsty. The guys counted how many tumalos, speed bumps, we went over to pass the time. They have added 7 more in the Chichi area and they are huge!! Just for your inquiring minds, there are 59 speed bumps between Las Trampas and Chichi :)
Mom and dad went to La Palma today with Josefina, Tomas and Manuel. They wanted to see the ABC child, Noe, that they sponser. They were also able to visit with another little girl, Florencia. Florencia is sponsered by a lady in their home congregation.
Tonight we took chicken from Pollo Campero to the Lux home for dinner. It seems to be the favorite restaurant of many people. We enjoyed a good dinner with the parents Marie and Diego. Josefina, Marcos and Juan Diego helped bridge the gap between Spanish, English and K'iche'.
Before we left, another brother Moses arrived with his wife and two girls for a family photo.
Below, my two sets of parents :)
It was a wonderful day and my parents again commented how comfortable they feel here even with the language barrier. Tomorrow we will be in Lemoa for clinic and hopefully finish painting the clinic.............good night..........
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Josefina taught from the book, Where There is no Doctor. Her class included patients with high temperatures, fractures, abdominal wounds and those who have ingested poisonous substances.
I talked about CPR in adults and gave them time to practice. It was difficult not having mannequins for teaching so I drew outlines of patients on the cement. Everyone had a chance to practice and ask questions. The first photo is of Manuel opening the airway (now use your imagination :) to give two breaths.
They checked for a pulse but there was not one so Tomas began compressions.
The next photo is of Enrique demonstrating the head-tilt, chin-lift procedure. Sebastian is waiting for the approval to start compressions. Enrique is from Panajxit and Sabastian is from Chimente.
Mom helped me as I demonstrated how to properly position a patient for CPR. She was a good patient but I had to remind her not so smile or talk since she was suppose to be unconscious. While we were doing this, Dad was painting the clinic.
We enjoyed a very good lunch of fried chicken, salad, rice, tortillas and peach flavored punch.
Some of the guys grabbed brushes and the rollers and started helping dad paint.....eventually, they were doing the painting and dad was practicing his Spanish with them. We will return on Thursday and should complete the painting then.
When I came home tonight, I told the family that I live with that I will be moving. I will be moving to Chichicastenango and staying in Lisa and Kemmel's house for 6 months while they are in The City. It will cut down on the driving that I do, I will be closer to the guys I work with and I will be closer to our clinics. I think it is a good move..........and in during the next 6 months I can be looking for another house in Chichi.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Even though it was a small clinic, I felt it was a good one. Gaspar had an opportunity to talk to a lady about baptism. She said that she would return to talk some more to us in a future clinic. We also saw a baby that was only 10 day old and had a severe skin infection. He was covered from head to toe with white pustules. I told the parents that they really needed to take the baby to the hospital. Gaspar also emphasied how important it was for the baby. We can only pray that the parents did this.
After clinic mom, dad and I headed to Panajachel. We spent two nights there and they really enjoyed it. We took a small boat over to Santiago and the photo below is taken from that shoreline.
We had dinner in the late evening on the lake. This photo was taken at sunset.
It was nice to relax for a couple of days but it is time to get back to clinics and work. Tomorrow we will have class in Lemoa and my parents will continue to paint.
Friday, January 25, 2008
While dad and I painted the shelves, mom painted a table in another room.
In the evening, I took them to one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Cruz. This little lady grills steak on the side of the street and it is wonderful. We also had black beans, tortillas and coffee. She usually is all smiles but she was a little camera shy.
I teased mom about the hat and scarf.........NOT at all a fashion statement but when you are cold, color and fabric do not matter!!
I walked them to their hotel tonight and then I was in to study for the rest of the evening. We are packed for a weekend in Pana. We will have a clinic tomorrow in Chuchipaca and I hope for another good group of patients.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Mom and dad entertained themselves. Dad put up the last window blind and made plans to start painting tomorrow. Mom helped dad and then counted medicine. They bought alot of suckers with them since they had heard that the people here really like them. Below they gave me their best Guatemala pose with their suckers:)
Dad made friends with the local shepherd lady. She lives near the clinic and is always tending to her flock and weaving as she walks. As I have mentioned in other blogs, in my next career I will be a shepherd. Dad wanted a photo of her and he thought she said no so he started walking away. Then he realized she wanted him to wait a minute as she pulled a comb out of her blouse and combed her hair for him!! It is a great photo and I will post it when I can get it from him.
After clinic mom and dad went to their hotel to rest a little. I went home and studied more for our next class with the health promoters. I am doing some teaching on CPR and it will be very interesting.
We had dinner with Lisa and Kemmel tonight. Matt, Jenna and Reese were also there and it was a very enjoyable evening. Tomorrow Matt will attend clinic with Lisa. After clinic they will head to Panajachal and then on to Peru for a month. Please pray for them as they continue to travel and prepare for his medical residency.
Please also remember Lisa as she has recieved word that her last 6 months will be in The City. We were really hoping for Santa Cruz but for some reason, it just did not happen. They are headed to The City tomorrow to begin to look for housing. Kemmel will be able to return to help keep us on track but it will be different. This is just one of those things and we will remember that it is for just a few short weeks.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Later in the afternoon we went and bought some varnish so they can paint some new shelves in a storage room and also a new table. Then we went to Chichicanstenangeo to look around. Dad had never had a liquado so we stopped and had one. I think he liked it and will have another one real soon!
We had dinner tonight with Lisa and Kemmel in the restaurant, San Juan. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Chichi. After dinner, we made our way home and are getting ready for clinic in the morning at Lemoa.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
We went to Chichi and had lunch with Matt, Jenna and Reese Cope. He is a medical student who was down here for a surgical clinic in Montellano and now he will spend a week with us doing clinics. They are from Texas and Reese, the baby is enjoying the trip. She loves being on the move and taking in all of the adventures.
After lunch mom, dad and I headed to Chimaltenango. I needed a storage container for some more stuff........there is always more stuff!! We had dinner on the way home and it was a good day. They got to experience waiting in line while the road construction crew worked, dodging falling rocks and boulders as they moved the land above us and then returning in the dark. The photo below is of one villages that we passed over as we made the drive.
Mom and dad are doing well and really enjoying the trip so far. It has been an odd week so far not having clinics but it is just the way the calender has worked. Tomorrow we are going to stay in Santa Cruz and tomorrow night have dinner with Kemmel and Lisa.
OK, goodnight.......I am going to study a little and then get some sleep...........
Monday, January 21, 2008
Matt and his wife Jenna are here with their baby. They will be here for a week and participate in our clinics.
Dad started working on small projects and will get those completed before he returns. Mom counted and packaged medicines. Dad and his candy were a hit with the clinic staff.
I had class with Gaspar and Juan for 4 hours. I think it went well. They had alot of questions which is really good and they were encouraging to me. After class mom and dad headed back to Santa Cruz with me for lunch. After lunch we parted ways and I returned to my house to study.
For dinner tonight we were invited to have dinner with Josefina's family. We had a wonderful evening! The food and hospitality were awesome.......her family is so kind.
I walked mom and dad to their hotel and then I returned home for night.
Tomorrow morning we will go back to the clinic and put up some more window blinds.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
This was Mom and Dad as I spotted them coming out of the airport.
We had a real nice shuttle driver, Jaime. I will get him to take us back to the airport in a couple of weeks.
We spent the night in Antigua at the Aurora Hotel. It is a nice hotel but unfortunately that city block had problems with water last night so there were no showers.......or water. During the night it was repaired so we had cool showers this morning. We had a continental breakfast that was really good, loaded the truck and headed for Santa Cruz.
We made one stop so see my Spanish teacher and her children. They are doing ok but are very sad. They still have the Christmas tree up that we went shopping for last year. Yes, it is artificial :)
The drive was pretty and it was a clear day. This photo is of a volcano and a look at Late Atitlan.
I took mom and dad to their hotel to let them get settled a little and then returned for them to go to Church. People were very friendly even though there is a language barrier. Josefina's mom invited us for dinner tomorrow night so we will go there in the evening.
It is good to have them here. I think they will enjoy the two weeks and enjoy seeing the work that is being done.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Last time we were here, we were unable to hold the clinic in the Church building because of the mud. A family totally opened their home to us for two days. We rearranged furniture, turned their bedroom into a clinic and left our equipment overnight.......talk about hospitality!!
Today we were able to make the climb the Church. We were a little disappointed in the amount of patients we had but we found out that the announcement was only made to the Church members. Next time the announcement will go out to the whole community.
We saw 22 medical patients, 7 dental patients and 5 patients had their teeth cleaned by Tomas and Gaspar. I am really excited that these guys had patients today. It is a lot of work to carry all of the equipment and a big disappointment when there are no patients. I still think that with more education their patient population will continue to grow.
This little girl was seen in the dental area today and she carried her sister around all day.
Josefina was playing around with the children and we got a photo of them. I did not notice that the little guy to the far left was too busy to look at the camera :) But hey, it was important to him!
We will be in this area once a month and I really hope that it is a blessing for the community and it gives the Church an avenue for out-reach and teaching.
We unloaded our truck in Lemoa and then I drove everyone to Chichi to catch further rides home. Everyone is safe in their homes after a long day...............
Mom and dad will arrive tomorrow afternoon.......I will be headed for Antigua and the airport. Also please remember the surgical team that was in Montellano this week. They will be returning to the States very early in the morning.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I have been preparing a class for our guys on when patients immediately need to go to the hospital. The information is not difficult, the difficulty is doing it in Spanish.....but I can do it. I am sure there will be times the guys will snicker a little or I will get an odd look and I will just have to laugh along with them.
Tonight when I was walking home, I saw two boys in a small store, tienda, shyly waving at me. After I had passed, I thought that I would return and buy a Coke from them and help their business a little. When I entered the store, they were all smiles and calling me by name! Of course, not wanting to look stupid or as if they were not important, I acted as if I knew them too. They were kind and reminded me they are from Paxot II......an area where we do clinic once a month. When I reached in my pocket for my money, they told me that they did not want it. I told them I wanted to pay and repeated, "please let me pay." They wiggled their finger at me which pretty much means the topic is closed, not open for more discussion........I thanked them a few times and told them I would see them in clinic.
I have never been good at math but this does not add up. I enter the store wanting to help them and they turned the situation around and gave to me. It happens so many times here. People on the street are so kind and take time to talk.........we meet people who are willing to share anything they have. As I said, it can be very humbling..........
We had a good clinic today. There were 15 medical patients and 8 dental patients.
Tomorrow we head out at 0700 and will drive for almost 2 hours to a community called Xejox. We first visited this community when South Fork was here on Oct. 18-19. I posted photos on those days. In October, some of the patients told me that they have to walk 2 hours to be seen by a doctor. I am so glad that this year we will be able to return to this community once a month.
OK, back to studying and preparing........it will be an early morning and another adventure!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The community is building a new school and the cement is mixed by hand. I caught one guy goofing around as he was laying in a wheelbarrow. All of the men have a shovel or a hoe and then create a "pond" of cement. The water is added using the pink and white containers. They always make me think of the old TV show, I Dream of Jeanie.
When I returned to Santa Cruz, I walked to the store to get a few things. I arrived on a corner where there had just been an accident of a tuk-tuk. It is a small vehicle that is used to taxi people around. Kemmel thinks that they are like cockroaches because there are so many of them and they are always in your way. You just never know which way they are going to turn or how many lanes they will create. Anyway, this guys tuk-tuk was upside down and smashed pretty bad. It looked like he had flipped several times. For those of you who have been here before, it was in front of Mi Taco Express. I made sure the driver was breathing and did not see alot of blood.....I heard the ambulance down the street so I moved on.
It was a very good day and everyone has returned home safe.........Gracias a Dios.........
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
We had a small clinic today with only 5 patients. This mother and children were happy to be at the clinic. The baby that is being weighed was very content and not scared of the scale.
Xepocol is a very tranquil community. The sun was out and we enjoyed sitting outside before the patients arrived. If you enlarge the photo you can see the small houses built on the mountain side.
Gaspar's wife brought us a wonderful lunch of fried chicken, rice and a salad that I love. It is made of diced potatoes, carrots, green beans and a few other vegetables that I am not sure of.....it is simple and very good. We also had fresh tortillas :)
Kemmel told us about the lunches that Lisa has and how she looks forward to being in clinics with us again. We also look forward to that time. Hopefully, she will soon find out where she has to do her last 6 months. We are hoping and praying for the hospital in Quiche.
Lots of things will be happening in the next few weeks. Josefina and Tomas return from Montellano tomorrow and begin their clinics. We have three medical students that will be joining us for a few weeks and my parents will also be here for two weeks. Please pray that everyone has safe travels as they arrive to Guatemala and then returning home.
Tomorrow another adventure in La Palma................
Monday, January 14, 2008
There were 14 medical patients and 14 dental patients today.
There was one patient who had a very sad story. She is only 36 years old and lost her vision 9 months ago. For two months before this, she had severe headaches. She and her husband have 7 children and this is the first time they have been able to seek help. Her pupils were fixed and did not respond to light. I sent her to the hospital and hopefully they will be able to do further testing. I spoke to Lisa later in the afternoon and she said one possibly might be a tumor and maybe they will get her a CT scan.
Between patients I did the laundry for the dental clinics. After patients I played catch with some children. They had a big orange beach ball advertising Fanta. I went to get my camera but as I returned, they were climbing in the back of a truck and yelling, "bye-bye!"
It was a good day...........tomorrow Gaspar, Maury and I will head to Xepocol where Gaspar lives.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Below is a photo of patients from of the clinic as we prayed with them before the clinic began.
After Gaspar checked in 14 patients, he came and told me there were more waiting. We saw 28 patients and it was wonderful.
We saw a wide variety of patients. Gaspar translated for me and then Juan helped the patients with the medicines.
We saw one gentleman that is 83 years old. His name is Jacinto and I was told he was one of the first Christians in the area. He helped establish the Chuchipaca Church and has also helped with others. We do not see many men in their 80's but he is very healthy and active.
We saw one lady that said she was over 9 months pregnant. She does not know her exact dates but yesterday she started bleeding and having alot of pain. We sent her to the hospital and hope we will get some more information on her.
A young man came who has been having alot of pain. He had been to clinics and pharmacies and had tried several medicines but did not know what they were. He is very frustrated with his situation and carries all the receipts of the medicines.......but they only contain what he paid, not what the medicines were. When we prayed, his prayer was full of anguish as he begged God to help him. It made me think of Job and how his prayers may have sounded.
One lady brought her two children who were sick. As we talked we realized she was sick also but did not have enough money for her consult. She told us her husband drank alot of alcohol and she was very worried about her children and she could not sleep at all. I gave her medicine too and then we talked to her about the Church. We talked about how important it is for her children. I asked her to come back in 2 weeks and we could talk some more.
So.......that was our first week of clinic this year. We saw a total of 72 patients and we pray that they were blessed and are feeling better..........
Friday, January 11, 2008
We set up the equipment and then we had 3 patients......then 2 more......then another family of 3.......finally we reached 11........then the Church service ended and then there were 4 more.....so we reached a total of 15 patients! A much better day than I first anticipated.
We were served a lunch of soup, tortillas and warm lemonade and then made our way back to Quiche.
Gaspar and Juan needed so have some papers completed today in Quiche so I took them there when we arrived. I waited outside for them as they attended to this business........and then drove them to where they could catch a bus home.
I walked through Quiche late this afternoon. It was very sunny and warm day. I bought a water hose for the clinic and will take that over either tomorrow or Sunday and do some more laundry. The park was full of people today so I got some ice cream and ate it in the park......it is a good place to soak up the culture.............
Not much exciting news..........maybe tomorrow will be more of an adventure!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Kemmel and Lisa headed to the City to get their truck that needed repair. Josefina, Manuel, Tomas and Juan also went to the City get some paperwork completed. Before our clinic began we prayed for their safe travel as we prayed for our patients.
We had a few children that needed their ears cleaned so we made it through that ok. One lady who is a diabetic came in to have her sugar checked. When she first came to the clinic her blood sugar was 338. Today it was 156 so she has made progress!
The concerning patient came as we were about to pack up for the day. We saw a truck full of people drive into the clinic. Maury asked me how many patients we were going to have and I told her possibly 1 or possibly 20! Sometimes it is hard to tell how many people actually want a consult and how many people come along for the ride.
There was only one woman that wanted a consult as her husband and her father sat with us and told me what her problem was. The father told me that she had a small growth in her stomach. When I examined her, I found it not to be small but to be very large. It was about the size of a grapefruit possibly larger. She told me that it had been there for a year. I sent her for an ultrasound and asked her to please return to the clinic.
Between patients today I washed the towels and sheets that were used by the dental team. I string a rope up between the building posts and they dry very quickly. The washing machine is in a small room on the side of the clinic. I connect the hose from the washing machine to a water hose that I toss out a window and I connect that to the pila for the water source. When I started to do a second load, I realized the water hose had cracked. So, I did what most people would do..........I looked for the duct tape!! Unfortunately, it did not work so tomorrow I will buy a new water hose.
That was our exciting day and hopefully tomorrow will go just as well...............
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
There were 20 dental patients and 10 medical patients. Julio assisted me again with the K'iche' speaking patients. I really enjoy working with him and he is very kind to the patients. I ask him to pray with these patients before they go to the pharmacy area. I wish I had a clip of his prayer when he says, "Santo, Santo, Santo is Tu nombre." This translates, "Holy, Holy, Holy is Your name." As I mentioned yesterday, the prayers are very special and you can tell they come from the heart.
The photo below is of Julio and his children.
Juan brought two small children back for a consult whose parents could not bring them. Juan told me they did not have any money but that does not prevent us from seeing patients. Juan was told these boys had small sores on their legs. When we asked the boys to show us their legs, the sores were very large and obviously had been there for a long time. Juan was surprised and sad, as I was. I hope that their legs heal without more infection.
Ya know, life here is no different than in any other part of the world.....some days have more challenges and obstacles than others. Every morning I pray we have safe travels. Every evening I am thankful that we are all in our homes and have been protected. I do not expect problem-free days or days without struggles. But no matter what happens, I can remember that God cares for us and will not abandon us as we are promised in Hebrews. He is with us each step.......and each kilometer of the day.............and that thought allows us to have a peaceful night.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
There were 11 dental patients and 8 medical patients today. We hope to begin announcing some of the clinics on the radio to reach a larger percent of the communities.
The photo below is of two children that are always at the clinic and one of the brothers from the Church. The little boys wanted stickers and the best I could do was band aids so the little one in the jean shirt immediately stuck it on his forehead. Yes, suckers are very popular here......and age does not matter. I find myself taking a second look when I seen men in their 40's-50's eating a sucker.
This morning as Gaspar welcomed the patients to the community it seemed really good to be back. I missed the heart felt prayers in Spanish and K'iche'. Prayer is so vital and it is a direct connection that we have to our Father. It is something that we have available at any place and at anytime....even as we stand under a bright blue sky and listen to the cows and chickens rustle through the corn fields...............
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Kemmel and Lisa met me in Chichi and drove me the rest of the way to Quiche. I really enjoyed my visit home with my family and friends but now I feel like it is time to return to work. This year our clinics will be Tuesday-Saturday.
Today I returned to Antigua to spend some time with friends there. I visited Mary, who I lived with while I studied Spanish in Antigua. She had a Diet Coke waiting for me and we sat on her patio and talked. Later I visited Juliet and her family. They have really struggled since the death of her husband. Today was her first day back at school and she said that she has a real interesting student. I hope so because that makes her day more enjoyable.
My bus ride back to Chichi was one FAST ride! I usually do not get nervous until the Guatemalans appear nervous. Usually they sleep or are preoccupied with something different......but not on this ride. They were all awake, sliding back and forth in their seats and appearing restless. Driving in the dark is a special challenge because many vehicles do not have lights......so much for seeing the oncoming traffic. This driver was not nervous because he had 3 people helping him know when he could pass off the road and between the lanes!
We made it Chichi safe and I am getting ready for clinic tomorrow. I will meet everyone at 0800 and we will head to Xesic.
Friday, January 4, 2008
We counted 48 people with many of them being members of my home congregation. I would like to name everyone and the connection but am afraid I would accidentally forget someone.
The photo below is of Jerry and Pam. They organized the quilt making and worked on it for countless hours. Members from the church wrote comments to me and it is very special.
As always, people enjoy good food and fellowship.......I think this is a universal agreement.
I return to Guatemala in the morning. It has been a quick 3 weeks but it has been good. I will keep you posted on the work there. Please continue to pray for the clinics and patients and also the workers as we share Jesus with them.