Saturday, May 31, 2008

Message from Melina

Melina is from Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She is a senior at Harding University. Her major is Exercise Science and Pre-Physician Assistant with a minor in Spanish.

Today I have been able to help Sheri with four patients. For each patient I take the weight, blood pressure, pulse and temperature. Then I escort them to the "makeshift office" (made from sheets hanging from the ceiling) where they are seen for consult. I sit with the patient while Sheri sees him/ her.

I have made a little notebook that I've been recording patients visits.....what the problem is, what the treatment is, etc. After the visit, Sheri prays with the patients. I have tried my hand at praying with a patient today in Spanish. I was kind of nervous but it was a really good feeling to be able to pray with her.

The patient was a young mother with her eight month old baby. The baby had fever and rash all over his body. It looked like allergies. He was so precious and I could tell that his mother was really worried for him. After the consult, we give the patients their medicines and they go on their way. This is how the days of clinic have been going. Each clinic we go to is different every day but all in rural areas.

After clinic, it is home to my wonderful family, Juan and Lucia Gonzales and their seven children! They are probably the nicest people in all of the world......and they feed me really well! Anyway, I am enjoying Guatemala and the experiences so much!

God bless to my family!

P.S. Message from Sheri: Melina's prayer with her patient was special and she did a very good job. God heard that prayer and He will provide care for that patient and his mother. Thank you, Melina!

Messaage from Kassi

My name is Kassi and I go to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am currently studying nursing in hopes to one day be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I love playing soccer and actually got to play with my family last night. One more fun fact is, this is my first time out of the country and I did not know any Spanish before coming to Guatemala!

Today was a fun day. I taught two girls how to play hop scotch. They were not sure about the game. Also, I saw a woman, Maria, who is 38 years old and she came in complaining of burning and pain in the right arm and chest for one week. Lately, she stated that she has a craving for eating dirt. This desire to eat dirt is called pica and is related to a vitamin or iron deficiency. I will have to do more research on it when I get home.

Message from Jordan

Jordan is from Birmingham, Alabama and is a junior at Harding University. His major is Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He plans on attending medical school.

Last night when we returned to our village, Paxot II, Aaron, Melina and I went to Melina's house for what we had thought was going to be a short devotional. There were ten children from the village in attendance as well. The three of us sang a couple of songs in English and then we asked them if they would like to sing some songs for us in Spanish. They were a little hesitant at first but after a few songs, they really got into it. We sang a few children's songs with hand motions, such as, "This Little Light of Mine" and they absolutely loved it! What we thought was going to be a thirty minute devotional lasted for over an hour but it was a great blessing to everyone in attendance.

As we were leaving, a little girl gave me hugs and all of the children wanted to know when we were going to sing again. We told them to meet us at Aaron's house after clinic on Monday. It will not surprise me if there are more than ten new children there at the devotional.

Message from Brett

Brett's hometown is Abilene, TX. He is attending Abilene Christian University and majoring in Biochemistry.

Favorite TV shows: House, The Office and Greg's Anatomy

Career Goals: I am once again stuck between choosing medical school and dental school. I want to be some sort of doctor but most importantly, I want to be a good dad someday. It is a big decision for me.

I have to admit, it started out a little funny to me. Hearing a room full of people erupt into prayer in K'iche' all of a sudden. It is powerful to watch the people here, to listen to them pray along with each other out loud. It leaves an impression on you that you won't soon forget.

We were on our second house visit for the afternoon after Sheri attended to the first patient visit. We walked up the hill and there were easily ten family members waiting for us. We agreed to go and visit their mother that was sick in bed. We took a short hike with them down to their house.

Crammed all together in one room, we had close to thirty people. After examining the woman we prepared to pray for her, her illness and her family. There is power in a prayer that you do not understand. You can't hear the prayer in their words necessarily but I promise you can hear it in their voice. Opening my eyes during the prayer, many in the room were crying for this woman, for their family member and asking God to heal her.

When what seemed to be one of her sons thanking Sheri for her help, you could just almost feel the sincerity coming out of him. The man was touched, the family was moved and all were surely giving thanks to God.

I wish you could have all been there with us to see what first made me laugh but then brought my eyes to tears.

Message from Aaron

People have asked about the MET program so I asked each of the students to tell a little about themselves. They are down here for 6 weeks, living with families and experiencing our clinics with us. MET is for Medical Evangelism Training and during this time, they may think about returning someday to work in medical missions.

Aaron is from Knoxville, TN. He graduated in May from Lipscomb University and majored in exercise science with a minor in biology. He is now attending the University of Tennessee in Memphis for Physical Therapy.

Fun facts about Guatemala
  • Abrazeme man (hug everyone in my family, all 15 people)
  • Line danced with my family in their kitchen

Today was so cold and windy an I feel like I am back home in the Appalachian Mountains. I got a feel for different kinds of patients. Erika is nine months pregnant and just in for a normal check-up but the mother-in-law was adamant about what needed to be done. Last night my family grew to 30 people. I love smiling at my sisters who are 13 or younger and them getting embarrassed. I love my family.

A day of blessings...........

Today I met everyone in Chichi and we headed to Chuchipaca. It was a very cool morning as we made the drive but I was thankful that patients were waiting for us as we arrived.

It was a good clinic with 20 patients. One man asked if we could go and see his son who was too sick to walk to clinic. He told me that he lived near Chutzurob. Now, the interesting thing about this is this is the new area we will be having a clinic next Saturday. I went and talked to Gaspar and Tomas to find out how many more patients we had. It looked as if we could visit his son so he told us he would wait at his house for us.

Most of the patients had the usual illnesses. There was nothing really unusual. Juan, from Chuchipaca, helped me with the translation. When the patients can speak some Spanish, I pray with them before they go and get their medicine......when they only speak K'iche', I ask Juan to pray.

Juan would quote many times in his prayers, Matthew 18:19-20.......
Matthew 18: 19 Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

It is a powerful reminder how powerful prayer is and the presence of God. God does answer prayer. As you will see in one of the students blogs, we were part of a moving experience as we prayed in the house of a sick lady this afternoon.

I did not get any photos of patients today......just a couple group shots.......It was cold, windy and rainy today. The first shot is of the students in the back of the truck surfing..............
Kassi, Aaron, Jordan, Brett and Melina

Another group action shot......yes, it took a few shots to get the timing down.......
Aaron, Kassi, Brett, Melina and Jordan

So, we ate our lunch real quick and then headed to the first patients house. A young man of 18 years old had been in his bed for a few days with fever. We spent some time with him and his family and then walked back to the truck to find about ten more people waiting for us. They also had a family member sick in her home with a fever and wanted us to go and visit her.

The students were up to it so this time we hiked down the other side of the mountain. The house filled up as soon as we got there. The lady was hot with fever and had been sick for a few days. I examined her and then told the family we had medicine for her. I asked Tomas to pray for the patient and the family before we left. It was a very emotional time and the prayers were powerful and heart felt.

After the events of today and I am even more excited about our new clinic next Saturday. The community and the people waiting for us had a lot of question about next Saturday. I think we will have a busy clinic and and I will be very thankful!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Message from Aaron

Today we saw eight patients but the highlight was for sure seeing a two week old baby. She had a fever, cold and all stopped up. We also used the downtime to listen to each other's lungs and hearts. It was good to learn more about HTI and the types of patients seen.

(Aaron with one of the girls that live in this house)

Message from Jordan

Jordan's name has been changed here to, "Arturo." Sometimes our names are a little difficult to pronounce so sometimes it is easier to take a new name for a few weeks.

So Arturo says...........Today Aaron and I went to Choacaman IV with Sheri, Juan and Gaspar. We carried all of our boxes for clinic up a hill to the house of Enrique and Martin, brothers of the local Church.

My first patient was a young boy Mayro. He had cut off part of his thumb three months ago with a machete and how there is a large necrotic area on the end. Despite his injury, he seemed very happy and didn't complain at all.

After treating the patients, Aaron and I learned about the lungs and the heart and where to listen for problems in these areas. Through the process of seeing patients of the past three days, I have learned a lot about taking vital signs and common illnesses here in Guatemala.

(Photo below of Arturo and Mayro)

Clinic in Choacaman IV

We all met at Clinica Caris this morning and then headed to our separate clinics after singing a song and praying for safety.

I told the guys, Jordan and Aaron, that we would drive through a field and then we would carry our gear to the house. I don' t think they really pictured it until it happened. One said, "We are just driving through this field, wow!"

It was a small clinic, which we know happens but we make the best of it. I have blogs and a photo of each guy that will follow.

Between patients, we practiced listening to lungs and talking about different illness when you would hear these sounds. Aaron let us listen to his lungs........he was being so helpful and taking deep, deep breaths and we forgot to tell him he could exhale :)

This was a group photo before we left. Jordan is on my right and Aaron is on my left. Next to Aaron is Enrique and then Kemmel. In front are two of Enrique's granddaughters, Gaspar and Martin. Martin is married to one of Enrique's daughters. It is a very close family and they have been kind to allow us to have clinic in their home twice a month.
We enjoyed a good lunch of soup, tortillas and coke. It rained part of the afternoon and it became chilly. The soup was great timing!

We packed up our gear and headed back to Caris to wait for the other group. In Mactzul II, they had 25 dental and 18 medical patients.

Message from Kassi: Hi mom and dad! I miss and love you! I pulled 6 teeth today.

Message from Melina: Hi everyone! I pulled 5 teeth today.

Message from Brett: Hi! I pulled 7 teeth today and loved it!

Tomorrow all of the students will go with us to Chuchipaca. It should be a great day, full of adventure........and at the same time hoping that we can do or say something that will cause people to have a closer relationship with God.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clinica Caris

Today we had a busy clinic in Caris with 21 medical patients and 11 dental patients. The students were with Josefina in Xela so I do not have any photos or stories to share. I hope that they had a good number of patients and had a good day of travel.

Kemmel joined us for lunch today and will also be here tomorrow.

Below is a child and his family as they were waiting for another family member. I gave the little boy a bear and he made it his friend. As I took a few photos, he made sure that the bear saw the photos also!

Winnie enjoyed just hanging around :)
Tomorrow we will meet in Lemoa and go to two different areas. Josefina and her group will head to Mactzul II and we will head to Choacaman IV.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Message from Kassi

This photo is of Kassi and her first patient, Sabastiana.
I had my first patient today. She came in complaining that her stomach had been hurting for over 2 years and that she has diarrhea two or three times a day. She also stated that she does not eat well and that her head hurts. When we examined her, she had epigastric tenderness. This pain could be from eating spicy foods, drinking coffee or sodas. I can't wait to see what else I get to experience!

Message from Brett

This photo was taken of Brett near the close of clinic. Gaspar is to his right and the other two ladies are receiving their medicines.
Today was a busy, emotional and powerful day for me all at once. While we were praying for my first patient this morning, tears came to my eyes. It was so moving to be doing God's work here. The man had a wound on his leg for over 60 years and we found it still infected today. We are so blessed to be able to have simple things, like ibuprofen to purchase that can help people so much. What a day. Give thanks.

Message from Aaron

The photo below is of Aaron and his patient Pascual.
My patient was an absolute trip! I asked what his major problem was and it opened the flood gates for his problems and conversation. He even pulled out his wallet and showed me his identification card. After the consultation, I asked for a photo and he said, "with much pleasure!"

Clinic in Xeaboj

I wanted to share one more photo from yesterday when we were walking the students to their homes. If you remember the photo from yesterday, Brett is in the front pulling the suitcase and everyone is following him. The closeness in the community is so obvious and refreshing. In front of the two children you can see four people holding hands and the two little guys are the best of buddies :)
This morning we all met at Clinica Caris, packed the trucks, sang a song, prayed for safe travel and headed down the road. Josefina, Tomas, Juan, Jordan and Melina all headed to La Palma. While we (Gaspar, Manuel, Maury, Aura, Brett, Kassi , Aaron and I) headed to Xeaboj.

We stopped in Chichi to buy what would be our lunch and then proceeded upwards. It was a bright, clear morning and as we climbed, Chichi became a beautiful view. We arrived in plenty of time to set up and get organized. Each student began with a patient or family and then followed them through the whole clinic process.

I have a photo of each student with a short comment on their first day here.

We ended up seeing 22 patients and it was a good day. We ate our lunch which consisted of peanut butter sandwiches, bean and cheese sandwiches and chocloate cookies. They are good, staple foods here and when you are hungry, they are especially good!

The trucks were loaded and then we drove back to Clinica Caris so Manuel could take everyone one home for the evening. We had a prayer of thanksgiving for safe travels and good clinics. Everyone knows that each day will be very different and a lot of planning is important. All questions were answered about tomorrow and we are ready!

Most everyone, including all of the students, will go to Xela tomorrow. Some of us will remain in the area and do our regular clinic here.

Tonight was another K'iche' it is time to finish the blog and get some sleep......thank you for reading and good night :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Traveling to their new homes......

The morning began very, very early. Someone??? decided to start the morning with firecrackers that shook everyone out of bed.......and then if that was not enough, we had a earthquake that measured 5.9........good morning!!

We loaded up the trucks and left Clinica Ezell about 0930. It was a beautiful day for the drive. There were very few clouds in the sky and we had a clear view of Lake Atitlan as we headed for Chichicastenango.

This is the group of students that will be living with different families in the highlands. Behind them is Lake Atitlan. This was before they began making Guatemalan friends :)
We all arrived safely in Chichi and had lunch with the other members of the Health Talent team.
As we approached the time to take the students to their homes, I could sense that they were becoming a little nervous. I told them that it was normal but the families were looking forward to their visit. Yes, communication would be a slight barrier but they would find ways to communicate. We took all of the students to see the different houses. After we stopped at Gaspar's house, where Kassi will be living and at the home Brett will be staying at, people began to relax a little and had an idea of what to expect.

Brett's family had difficulty pronouncing his name, so his new name is "Tek." Aaron's new name is "hug me"......and he is already getting hugs! Some of the homes welcomed us with refreshments. We had the opportunity to meet many family members and also some members of the Churches. You can really tell that the families have prepared for the students want to make their visit a good one!

Below, Brett leading the pack as we walked to the home that Melina will be staying at.

As we went from house to house our crowd grew larger. More family members kept hopping in the trucks wanting to go to the next home to see what was going on. Our group of 5 students grew into the group below!
We will all meet at Clinica Caris in the morning and have our first day of clinic together. Please pray that the students will be comfortable and get a good night of sleep. We will keep them busy and safe!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet the students of MET 2008!

Josefina, Marcos, Tomas and I left early this morning for the coast in order to bring back half of the MET students tomorrow. This is a photo of them in front of Clinica Ezell which is our surgical clinic in Montellano. You can see more photos of the clinic on the Health Talents website. It is a very nice facility with about 48 beds for recovery, 3 operating rooms, a pharmacy, a dinning area and a dormitory.

We spent a few hours this afternoon talking about what a typical day will be like, how the students will be able to help in the clinics and what types of patients we usually see. Half of the students will return to the highlands with us and the other half will remain here in the coast. Mid-way though the program the students will trade places so they will have the opportunity to experience both places. There are many differences, two being climate and different language barriers.

Roger and MaryBeth Cowen help organize the program and spend time with the students. They prepared a birthday celebration for those having birthdays in June. Dr. Walter is on the right, anticipating the chocolate cake :)
These four ladies have a birthday in June.... Cassi, Josefina, Melina and Allison.
After cake, we went outside to watch them attack a pinata. They enjoyed it and it was very entertainning for us also! They finished the night with a devotional.
Please pray that the groups will have safe travels through the next few weeks, that they will find opportunities to help serve the people and the patients will be able to see of love of Christ in our actions.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday in Santa Cruz

Our English class went well this morning with 7 students. They had a lot of questions and I helped them with some phrases that will be helpful when the students are here. Josefina, Marcos and I drive to the coast tomorrow to get the students and we will return on Tuesday.

After class everyone helped me remove all of the equipment from the truck. This is something very positive that I have experienced here. Once I start doing something, everyone pitches in......including the children. Aura and I drove back to Santa Cruz together. While we drove, we ate mangos and practiced some more words in K'iche' and Spanish.

I finished writing a paper for my Bible program. This last topic was what happens after death. It included readings on the resurrection, heaven, hell and eternity. I needed to submit a paper with my thoughts on these events with scriptural support. The class has been very interesting and I have enjoyed the reading.

I forgot to tell you about the patient yesterday that had been having pain in his ear for three days. When I looked in his ear, I saw something light green inside. It was not very far in so I knew I could easily remove it. Did it make me nervous? Yes! I have heard stories from Lisa and from others on things they have removed from patient's bugs, moths, worms.....anyway, I was lucky. It was just a piece of a leaf and it appeared to be very fresh.

The group Voces Acappella sang tonight at church. They are a very talented group that sings in Spanish and also in K'iche. The have recorded one CD and I have heard they will have another new one in a couple of months. They are the brothers and sisters of Aura.

OK, we are headed to the coast tomorrow morning and will return on Tuesday. I hope that the students really enjoy their time here, that they stay healthy, learn a lot about the culture and possibly will want to return again in the future.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mactzul V

The doors were opened and the patients were waiting for us this morning. We had 10 patients and then waited.....and waited but no others arrived.

While we were waiting, I sat outside in the sun and studied some K'iche'. Some of the children who live nearby have always been scared to get too close. They would stay up on their hill and not talk to us. If too much attention was directed at them, they would run. Last month I had my tennis ball and coaxed them into playing a little. That was a big step for them. Today they actually came and sat on a pew with me and helped me with some K'iche' words. I would say the word in K'iche' and then they would say the word in Spanish. I was so excited that they could understand is the little steps that I find so exiting!

Tomorrow morning is English class. I am hoping for 11 students. We will review their last homework and practice on new sentences. They will have a lot of opportunity to practice with the MET students when they are here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A sunny day in Paxot II

Last night Gaspar spent the night in Santa Cruz so I picked him up this morning and we drove to Paxot II for our clinic. Juan met us there and so did Manuel's dad, Tomas. Paxot II is doing a lot of building and the area is looking good. Not to long ago they opened and celebrated with a special dedication their new kitchen and cooking area. Juan and Tomas are standing on the upper level of a remodeled area.
Below this area, I found Tomas working. I remember Tomas from July, 2005 during my second trip to Guatemala.
This photo was taken during the clinic in July 2005. This is Nancy with Tomas at that time.
That July trips seems like it was many, many years ago. So much has happened since then and I am very thankful for the opportunity to be here full-time.

Tomorrow we have clinic in Mactzul V and maybe Gaspar will have some patient too! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Update on Diego

Clinic today was good and we had 12 patients. We had a few sick children and one lady that will need to return for a pap smear. I will soon have the opportunity to learn how to do these. It will help our clinics on Thursday and will prevent ladies from having to return another day.

This little girl was waiting for her mom as she was having some dental work down. She spent about 5 minutes meticulously folding and refolding her blanket until she had it perfect!

After clinic I walked to the hospital to visit Carlos again. Last time I visited him, he was out of ICU and did not have a fever. Today he had a fever again and they had to manipulate his chest tube because it is still draining fluid from his left lung. I was hoping it had been clamped but not yet :(
Please continue to pray for him, his mom and dad. This is a photo of him and his mom.

This is the Carlos and the bear that Aura helped me buy on Sunday. His mom said it has stayed in bed with him every day. When I asked him what his friend's name was he told me, "Bear." :)
Talk about a blast from the past. When I was walking home, I walked past a typing class! There were about 10 students using typewriters, non-electric ones.......remember those?? I could hear them pounding away on those keys!

I also saw some guys that use study English with us on Sundays. They had not heard that the classes had restarted so they said that they will be at there on Sunday.

Plums are in season now and I love them! They are small, purple and sweet. As I was buying a pound of them the lady gave me one to try. I did not want to be rude so I ate it and it and then hoped for the best. It was just one of those moments where you simply eat it and block all other thoughts from your mind.

Tonight I spoke with Jane in NC. Jane and Susan were here on April 3, helping to find children that needed surgery. I gave her an update on the babies that will hopefully have surgery in August. When Edison receives his lab work results, I will try and go to Pana to prevent them from coming to Lemoa.

Tomorrow is another adventure in Paxot II where Juan lives. I pray we have a lot of patients and it is a good clinic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meeting in Chutzurob

Today I met Juan and Gaspar in Chichi and we drove to Chutzurob which is on the other side of Chuchipaca. Gaspar was not feeling his best so we stopped and got him a Coke so he could take some medicine.

When we arrived in Chutzurob, we found Sebastian waiting for us on the side of the road and then we progressed to his home. He has a very nice home and we met his wife and two daughters. He asked Gaspar to begin our meeting with prayer and then he had a lot of questions about the clinics.

When Gaspar finished praying he asked me to start and then he would fill in. I started with telling Sebastian that we wanted to help the community but the clinics are a ministry of the Church. I told him that we bring everything we need including the medicines, glasses and at times we will be able to clean teeth. Gaspar talked to him about the prices, when the clinics could be held and Sebastian seemed very interested.

Then Sabestian wanted to show us the Church building. The first photo is of us walking there.
This is Juan, Gaspar and Sebastian in front of the Church building.
This is the kitchen that they are building.
When we returned to the house, Sebastian asked if I would take a photo of him and his wife. Now, before I said I would take their photo, they were all smiles and joking around. When the camera came out of the backpack, I got the "Guatemalan Look." When the camera was turned off, they were all smiles again.
We were served a very nice lunch. Before lunch, one of the daughters brought in a bowl of warm water, kneeled before her father as he washed his hands and then offered him a towel. The bowl of water was then passed between Gaspar, me and Juan and we did the same. I always find the cultural experiences so interesting. Gaspar and Juan even talked about this on the way home describing the respect the daughter showed for her father.

Sebastian is going to talk to other members of the Church and see if there is more interest in clinics. I hope they will all agree that there is a need and we can have our first clinic on June 7th.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Education Day

Today was education day for all of the promoters and people who volunteer in our clinics. Even though many of our regular people were away for different reasons we still had 17 students. Maury and Manuel went down to the coast for some training on new equipment, Gaspar had a meeting in Paxot II for the ABC program and Marcos needed to go to The City for different things.

Josefina taught the class on different measurements of medicine both pill form and in liquid. It is very basic information but the people helping in our clinics need to understand know so they can help educate the patients in their communities.

They will have an exam in the next class over the material that was presented today.

Tomorrow we will head to Chutzurob to check out an area for a new clinic.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday in Santa Cruz

Aura and I drove to our English class and met the other people. We had 8 people in the class and that is a good number. It gives everyone sufficient time to practice and ask questions.

On our way home, I told Aura I needed to buy a stuffed bear for Carlos in the hospital since I was going to go and visit him again today. It was my mom's idea......thanks mom :) So Aura went with me and we found a cute bear and then I dropped her off in the park.

I parked the truck and started walking to the hospital. I had loaded an old Eagles CD to my Ipod so The Eagles, the stuffed bear and I made our way through Santa Cruz. I arrived at the hospital a few minutes before visiting time but found Carlos' dad, Rosendo. He told me that Carlos was feeling better and that his chest tube was not draining very much. He said that he is out of the intensive care but not sure when he will go home. I did not want to take time away from his visit, so I gave him the bear for Carlos and told him I would try and visit again in a few days.

I headed home to study for K'iche' class tomorrow night and then went to worship.

On my way home it started to rain hard! I am not complaining because they need it for the corn they recently planted. I need to trade in my Crocks. Crocks with no tread on wet pavement is not a good combination.

I am not sure if I shared this photo before but it is one of my favorite. This is Juan's dad after he translated K'iche ' for me at one clinic in Paxot II. I really must have tired his mind!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Clinic in Chuchipaca

Today Gaspar, Juan and I made our way to Chuchipaca and were excited to see Juan there today. It has been a few weeks since anyone from the Church has been able to help us so it was an added bonus.

While we were there, someone returned Gaspar's calls about starting a new clinic in Chutzurob. I am looking forward to meeting with them on Wednesday and seeing if we can start a clinic there in June.

We ended up with 13 patients today so it was a good clinic. Nothing spectacular to write about and I feel I am really slacking off on the photos......I will work on getting some good ones.

Tomorrow we have our English class and then I am going to return to the hospital to visit Carlos and his family before worship at 4pm. ok, that is all for tonight.......

Friday, May 16, 2008

Clinic in Choacaman IV

Today we had a good clinic of 12 patients in Choacaman IV. A few of the regular patients were back and it was good to see them. I still have not heard anything about Marta and her lab work. I have asked many times but no one has heard any news on her.

One mother brought her son, about 7 years old, that had cut the tip of his finger off with a machete. This happened about a month and a half ago and it looked fairly good. I cleaned it and gave them some things to continue to keep it clean. It did not look infected and I explained that the small black tip would eventually come off.

When I arrived back to Santa Cruz, I told Gaspar and Maury that I wanted to go to the hospital to see if I could find Carlos from yesterday. They had other things that they needed to do so we said our goodbyes and they took a bus back to Chichi. I went home, parked the truck and started walking to the hospital.

The sun was out bright today and it was a hot walk but I enjoyed it. When I arrived, it was the visiting hour so I asked for Carlos and explained how I knew him........but I am sure they could tell I was not family :):)

Carlos was in their in ICU area and I arrived just a few seconds before his dad did. He said Carlos was much better and encouraged me to go in first to see him. I was asked to wash my hands and given a gown to wear. Carlos was in a large crib and he was sitting up coloring!! He had an IV, was getting oxygen and they had placed a chest tube in his left side when he first arrived yesterday. The nurses were very kind and showed me his chest xrays. They said they had drained 1000cc of fluid from his chest yesterday. Wow.......he is 5 years old but looks to be 3-4 years old and he had 1000 cc?? No wonder he could barely breath yesterday! Now he is getting IV antibiotics and I think he is getting good care. I am so excited and thankful that they did not send him home!! I talked to his dad a few minutes and told him I would try to visit again on Sunday.

Tomorrow we have clinic in Chuchipaca and hopefully we can check on a new area for some clinics.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa and follow-ups

Today we all met in Lemoa for clinic. We began our day as usual with prayer. We prayed for our patients, the sick patients we saw yesterday in Chuguexa, the people who have suffered in China, Mary and Jim in Winston Salem, Lisa and Kemmel, for the MET program that will begin next week and for our daily travels. God will answer those prayers.

Yesterday, I blogged about a baby that lives near Panajachel. His name is Edison and this is him with his mom. Hector, the driver for Solomen's Porch, will bring Edison and his family to the clinic on Monday for a consult. Hopefully, we can get him scheduled for surgery in August.

We had a very sick child come to the clinic today. They had written his temperature down for me when he first arrived and it was 99.4. When I began examining him, he felt much warmer to me.......he was now 102.9. He was having difficulty breathing and his father told me that he had been sick with fever for 15 weeks. He had good breath sounds on his right side but he was really diminished on his left side and using his accessory muscles to breath. He had not drank anything today and was not making much urine.

I understand why many patients do not want to go to the hospital here and I was thinking of the different options we had as I continued to talk to the father. I thought the child was too sick to return home and yet did not want to send him to the hospital. Fifteen days of being this sick is just too long. A bad as I did not want to, I suggested he take him to the hospital. The risks of going home were too high. He needs lab work and xrays. The father said he would take him to the hospital in Santa Cruz. Maury prayed for Carlos and his father before they left. I have his phone number and told him I would call in a few days to check on Carlos.

We ended up with 14 medical patients and 11 dental patients. In the afternoon, we practiced some Spanish, K'iche and English. At the end of my two years, we will be tri-lingual :) NOT!! But it is fun to practice and they are very good to help me.......I could not be working with nicer people......they are an encouragement to me every day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another day of blessings!

Today I met Gaspar, Juan and Maury on Chichi and then we headed for Chuguexa. We had to pass through the road construction area and unfortunately we had to wait for 40 minutes for the road to reopen. Sometimes we can time it right and other days we are not as lucky. We entertained each other with jokes about what they were selling up and down the road. You can buy fruit, drinks, baskets for tortillas, wooden toys, hats, cards for cellular phones and battery chargers from decades ago........and tons of other stuff too.

When we got to Chuguexa we unpacked the truck and started setting up for clinic. Within a few minutes my phone was ringing with a number I did not recognize. It was Llyod from Panajachel that works with an organization called Solomen's Porch. He was calling to tell me that there is another baby near Pana that has a cleft lip and the family is interested in the baby having surgery.

I was so excited because this is growth from the work that Jane started when she was down here in early April. The baby was born on April 18th and his name is Edison Fernando. He will be brought to Clinica Caris on Monday for Josefina to see and hopefully be a good surgical candidate for August!

We had a good clinic of 27 patients. A few children were very, very sick so I asked the parents to return to the next clinic for follow-up. We stopped for much needed Cokes on our way home and I returned everyone to Chichi safely.

I got home later that usual so had just enough time to wash the first of four layers of dust off before heading to class. For some reason the other students in the class want to rotate chairs every class......I like my one special seat but every night I have to move again :) They continue to push me out of my comfort zone.

One lady talked to me tonight about our clinics and where we go. She mentioned that they need a medical clinic and also a dental clinic in Jocopilas. So, Kemmel, maybe this is an area we can check out.

OK, that is all for tonight.........please pray for Edison Fernando and I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day of education

This morning I checked Kemmel and Lisa's blog before I went to the clinic for class. I was so excited because he mentioned that Carlos had been baptized. He is the young man that I blogged about on May 8th, last Thursday. That afternoon, some of the people from the Chichi Church had gone to talk to him more about the Bible after we had talked to him in clinic. Later, he decided that he wanted to become a Christian. How wonderful!

I get asked often about how our clinics effect church growth and I am never sure how to answer that because I do not have any hard numbers. I have heard Kemmel and Rick mention numbers and it gives us an idea of how the church and the community see us. I also think that sometimes seeds of thought are planted during a consult that may take time to grow. Patients return for a follow-up visits and that gives us more opportunities. Anyway......I am so excited for Carlos and I pray that his relationship with God continues to grow and that he is able to reach out and help other people in his community.

So we had class today and discussed the different medicines that we frequently use. The guys really like discussing medicines and doses. They are to the point of keeping some medicines in their home and using them for people within their community that become sick. Many times they call me and ask me what they should do and it has been great to see them progress to this point.

So, while my mom and Aunt Linda were out horseback riding, my brother and dad were in South Carolina fishing at Santee Cooper. They go down there a couple of time a year to get lost in the swamps........just kidding......but only their GPS really knows where they are! Seriously, they do lose their razors :)

This is my dad pulling one in.......

this is my brother Mike....... in the early morning mist......
.........and Mike with his 27 lb catch! hmmmmm, I wonder what they had for dinner that night??
OK, it is time to study some K'iche and prepare for class tomorrow night.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A day of many things......

Gaspar, Juan and I met everyone at the clinic this morning. It is usually our day off but since we did not have clinic on Saturday and needed to see Kemmel, we spent the day at Clinica Caris. It is good to touch base with everyone and know that all is well.

We received the calendar for the MET program that starts in a few weeks. There will be 10 college students down here for about 6 weeks with us. They will start with one week of Spanish School in Xela and then live with families in different communities. This program has been going on for several years and many students later return to the mission field because of this our very own Lisa and Kemmel Dunham :) So, it is an exciting time and an opportunity to help students think about what they might do with their medical profession.

The truck brake pads were replaced today and it drives very nice! The roads and the terrain are hard on the brakes......they are even hard on my shoes.......seriously, I need new Crocks every 3 months. The bottoms erode very quickly.

Tonight was another K'iche' class and it was good. He tried to teach us a song counting from 1 to 10. Past 6 is torture! Many K'iche' speaking people skip to Spanish after 4 or 5.
I am happy with 1-5........jun, keb', oxib', kajib' and job'.

Ok, that is all for today. The guys and I have an education day tomorrow and I know they are looking forward to it. They told me that they have a lot of questions and they know that I love questions!

Until tomorrow.
Hasta mañana.
Chweq chik.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A day in Santa Cruz

¡El Día de la Madre Feliz! Happy Mother's Day!
Today is Mother's Day in Guatemala and tomorrow is Mother's Day in The States so I am lucky and get to celebrate it twice!

I hate to tell you what time they started celebrating here.............well, let's just say I heard the first firecrackers and sirens at 0330! When it first woke me up, it took me a minute to realize where I was. I thought it was a SWAT team in the road and then when I remembered where I was and what day it was, I then came to my senses.

I spent most of the day studying and getting things done. I realized most of my toys needed recharging so I recharged the batteries of my otoscope, camera, telephone and ipod. I spent a couple of hours studying K'iche', Spanish and my next Bible lesson. That took me into the late afternoon.

Then it was time for a Diet Coke so I walked to the store.

I saw all of my angels in the streets today and they all are doing well. I decided I wanted to take a small gift to the one that fell in January so I went to her her house to visit her for a few minutes. I invited her to go to church with me tomorrow. When she told me she is Catholic, I told her I am a Christian but she was still invited to go with me. She then asked me for directions so we will never know :)

The sky was pretty tonight during the sunset....

OK, time to get back to studying............

Friday, May 9, 2008

Clinic in Xejox

It was a very good day........the guys picked me up early this morning. Juan was practicing his driving skills with Manuel, Gaspar and Maury. Tomas, Aura and Marcos were in the other truck.
We had been warned we would have a small clinic but we can always hope the predictions are wrong. We ended up with 10 medical patients and 6 dental patients.

I heard some sheep out in front so I went to see if I could get some interesting photos. As I walked by the window and peaked in, the guys had pulled out their Bibles and were studying together.

Gaspar was kind of leading the discussion but eventually everyone was adding their thoughts. They were talking about the return of Christ. So after talking on that subject for that a while, they changed subjects to the apostles. It is very interesting to talk to them.

The Bible I use the most down here is a Spanish/English translation. I still struggle with the Spanish only because it includes a vosotros form of Spanish which I did not learn in school.......but I still try and will have a chance to study more in October.

I received a photo from my mom today. She and my Aunt Linda (on the right) went horseback riding yesterday in NC. Linda lives in MI and is visiting my mom and dad for two weeks.
OK, home for the evening and studying.
I have a list of things to accomplish in the next two days. I received a message from my Bible tutor and my first assignments were passed so now I can continue to the next session.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa

OK, we are really having a run of bad luck with the trucks. We are waiting for Kemmel to bring brake pads for one of the trucks and this morning as Marcos was parking another truck, he heard a leak from the back rear tire. We unloaded the truck very quickly and he went to get the tired repaired. Can you guess how much it cost to get the tired plugged?

We had a busy clinic and it was a good one. There were 18 medical patients but I am not sure how many dental patients.

One young man came today with problems of hearing. He told me that he had been drinking a lot of alcohol but had not drank for 20 days. He said that he was really trying to change his life. His name is Carlos and he has a wife and two sons. We talked for a while and he told me that he did not go to church anywhere. We talked some more and I know when I have said about all I can :) I could tell that he wanted to talk some more so I went and got Gaspar and we talked some more with Carlos. He asked that someone from the Church of Christ in Chichi visit him in his house. We ended with prayer and then Gaspar got all the information he needed so someone could make that visit.

It is sad but so true........that sometimes people have to hit a "low" before they open their hearts and minds to Jesus and His teaching. When people feel good and have everything they need, many times they do not see the need for God. It is in time of troubles and weakness that we look for something to give us strength.......something to pull us through. Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 12. Paul said that when he was weak, he was strong. During weakness, we look for help and strength from God who delivers and therefore we become strong.

I think some people from the Church in Chichi visited Carlos this afternoon. Please pray that his heart will remain soft and he will be interested in studying The Bible more.

The plugging of the tire cost $1.33...........I knew you would not be able to sleep until you knew :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Small clinic in Maxtzul VI

Marcos and Aura picked me up on the way to get Juan in Chichi and then we made our way to Mactzul VI. I know that small clinics are going to happen but it seems that lately many have been small. I have already been warned that Friday may be a small clinic because there is a big party near that community......I have learned when there is a wedding, funeral, political event, party or any event on the day of clinics, our numbers drop. It is just one of those things.

There were 5 medical patients and 8 dental patients today. This little boy was trying to find something exciting to do as we were, so he was walking around stringing his gum around his fingers :)
On March 5 we saw a lady from this community who's blood sugar was over 500. We have talked several times about changing her diet and taking medicine. Today her blood sugar was 94 and she is feeling much, much better! Gracias a Dios!

If you read Kemmel's blog at you will read about the gasoline problems The City is having. Apparently people are on strike and buying gas is becoming difficult. We have not had any problems yet it in this area but it looks like the problems will eventually reach us.

Lisa, you in hang in there!! We are continuing our thoughts and prayers for you as this rotation sounds very difficult.............

Tonight I continued with my K'iche' class. Today at clinic I had taken some vocabulary words to practice. Gaspar, Juan and Aura are always good to help me. It is an added challenge because it is spoken different in different areas.

I sat next to two guys who are here working with the Jehovah's Witnesses in the area. One is originally from Colorado and the other is from Panama. They said that when they are in their house, they speak English. When they are out in the streets, they speak Spanish. Now that they are studying K'iche' and finding time to practice this language also.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Clinic in Xesic

Today Marcos, Juan and Gaspar met at my house and we moved all of the equipment from our truck to Marcos' truck and then we were on our way to Xesic. It is the community that Aora lives in so she met us there.

Pedro had the building prepared for us and we were ready to begin at 0830! At first we did not have many patients but eventually they came around!

In between patients, we were able to put the HTI logo on the newest truck. I encouraged Marcos, Juan and Aora as they struggled with it.....
And then they had a finished product that looks very professional!
This is the newest addition to the family that lives near where we have clinic. This calf is only two months old.
For lunch we walked to Pedro's house and had a very fulfilling lunch of chicken, rice, vegetables, tortillas and fruit drink. The photo below is of Pedro's daughter with a new baby of only 11 months.
Today I had one of those episodes where you just turn your head and ignore what you just witnessed. A patient complained of a sore throat so I wanted to examine her throat. As I asked her to open her mouth, stick out her tongue and say, "ahhhh".......her top denture plate fell down! I saw what I needed to see and just turned away. It was one of those funny moments.

One little boy had a tooth pulled and he was holding his mouth and hurting. His mother then showed me his ankle that had a huge rope burn with some skin tears on it. He had been walking a cow and the rope wrapped around ankle and injured his ankle. There are many people who are missing thumbs and parts of hands because the rope of their animal wrapped around a limb and then they were injured. I cleaned his ankle and gave him some antibiotic cream.

After lunch we had several more patients before we started cleaning up for the day. We ended up with 17 medical patients and 24 dental patients. It was a wonderful clinic.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day of study

Today was another day to accomplish things. I submitted my first assignments to my Bible Class and started the next session. Tonight, I will begin K'iche' classes.

The children above me woke up not in the best of moods today. This is becoming a habit which I was hoping was going to be short-term. I am beginning to wonder. One of the boys chased his mother's motorcycle down the street yelling this morning and then continued screaming, I guess until he fell asleep. His mother came home for lunch and the episode of screaming repeated I took a walk.

The circus is leaving town! It is unbelievable that they have stayed this long. Today is the first time I have seen the monkey. Where has he been hiding all of this time??

I am sorry that I had to add to Kemmel's woes. The truck that we use started making an odd noise on Friday evening. I called Marcos and asked him if he would drive tomorrow and he said sure. Kemmel will be in the area on Thursday and hopefully we will be able to trade trucks.

OK, I am in for the night. K'iche' class was fun! I really enjoyed it. The last time I tried to take it, it was earlier in the evening and the timing was not good. Sometimes I arrived in Santa Cruz after the class had already started. These classes are on Monday and Tuesday nights which are perfect and the class is all adults. The last class was 10 children and me :( So, tomorrow I will take my homework and practice with the guys. I always tease them about us speaking 3 languages...........

good night
buenas noches
xok aq'ab'

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Clinic in Chuchipaca

I met up with the guys in Chichi this morning and Juan's brother, Gabriel, wanted to go with us to clinic! Great! I had hopes of us having a great turn out for teeth cleaning since Gaspar had talked to the people at the last clinic.

Gaspar wanted to try his hands on the wheel today so when we turned off the main road he started driving. He was very slow, careful and excellent at keeping the truck in the center of the road. He drove for a few miles and then we approached a hill and he had some trouble. I encouraged him to continue to try again but a truck came from behind and he decided that was enough for today.

We all guessed at how many patients we would have and we were all optimistic.....unfortunately, too optimistic. There were 14 medical patients but none wanted their teeth cleaned :( I still have hopes of people learning the importance and the patient population improving.

We drove back to Lemoa and unloaded the dental equipment so Josefina's team could get it for they next clinic. Then I took Gaspar, Juan and Gabriel back to Chichi. Saturdays are our Fridays so I wished them a good weekend and will see them on Tuesday for clinic in Xesic.

I walked around Santa Cruz and it looked like it was going to rain at anytime. A few drops fell but nothing substantial. There was a band playing in the park so I listened for a few minutes, as I enjoyed some icecream :) I saw David and Sonya from Montellano and we talked for a few minutes. I was heading home, I felt this pull toward the language school and before I knew it, I had signed up for a K'iche' classes. I had no plans of doing it, it just happened. I found that this semester the classes are a little later which will be easier with our clinic schedule. It is frustrating not to be able to communicate with patients the way I want to so hopefully, this will help. The class will be for two nights a week for two months.

Buenas noches......good night!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Clinic in Choacaman IV

I just finished reading Lisa and Kemmel's blog and hate that they are having more woes........sometimes things are frustrating and not a lot you can do about it.

My woe today was a small clinic in Choacaman IV. For me, it is a heavy woe because it is two clinics in a row that we did not have many patients and I do not understand. Last clinic they said it was because of a festival and today they said it was because there was a baptism and the community went to participate in that event. They told us that they are continuing to announce the clinis so we will have to wait and see what happens in two weeks.

So, to pass the time......and wait for more patients, I studied and then Martin started asking me about learning some English. I wrote out two pages of notes for him and we reviewed it several times. I really enjoy teaching and when the students are excited about learning, it makes it even more fun.

Aura went with us today instead of Juan. She has asked me a few times if I would teach her how to drive and my response was, "Sure!" So after we returned to Quiche, I took her to a road close to my house and let her practice starting and stopping. Then we progressed down the road a little. I just wanted to make sure she was going to remain calm and not get scared and accelerate! She did very good and we will continue to practice. I drove her home when we finished.

So it was basically a quiet, uneventful day. Tonight I walked around Santa Cruz a little and then came home to study. Last night it rained very hard and it has started again tonight. I think we have entered the rainy season and we do need it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Back in Santa Cruz

It seems like I have been gone forever but it only has been 3 nights. A lot of good things have happened and a lot of planning has been done.

Josefina, Marcos and I headed for The City on Monday afternoon and had dinner with Lisa and Kemmel. Lisa looks wonderful and is surviving her LAST few months in the hospital! It will be great to have them back with us and doing clinics again.

Our meeting was all day Tuesday and for a few hours on Wednesday. I feel that God has richly blessed the work of Health Talents and I think it is because the focus and the glory is His.....not ours. We are only the tools being used to reach the people.

One quick photo of some people before we started another session.

Rick had a activity for us and then we talked about how we could relate it to our work as being supervisors and also in our daily walk with God. Below is Rosario, Jessica and Marcos when they realized they were going to participate.
Josefina blindfolded Rosario and Jessica blindfolded Marcos. Josefina and Jessica shouted directions to Rosario and Marcos as they walked through a maze. They were not allowed to touch obstacles that had been placed in the way or touch the rope as they crossed the finish line.
Then we discussed the key learning points which included how important communication is. We need to intently listen to the person who is giving us direction. Hearing is not the same as listening. Others may try to help or hinder us and listening to more than one person may negatively affect the outcome. Sometimes it is beneficial to repeat directions to properly and efficiently complete a task.

After the meeting was finished, a van dropped me off in Antigua and I spent the night there. I visited Mary who fell a few weeks ago. She is now able to take short walks and she is slowly regaining her strength. I am checking into places to stay in Oct. when I will have an opportunity to return to language school for a few weeks. Antigua is expensive but I have some time to look around. It is an opportunity that I am looking forward to.