Thursday, February 26, 2009

First ABC Clininc in Xejox

Today we all met in Santa Cruz and took two trucks to Xejox. It is a two hour drive and straight up to 6,300 feet. Kemmel pointed to the mountain and told Camilo and Lindsey that we were going to the top........and then we began the climb!

Our first clinic here was in October 2007 with the South Fork Church of Christ. Today was our first ABC Clinic in the area and 27 of the 32 students were present.

When we first arrived there was no one from the local church to help get things Kemmel and Manuel figured who belonged to which family and who was who.........not the easiest thing to do when each person has four names.

Manuel welcomed everyone and explained to them the ABC Program. He then prayed and we started the clinic.

After we had seen everyone, Manuel then explained all of the food and how it would be distributed. Each household receives pasta, beans, soap, toothpaste, Corn Flakes, shampoo, protein drink and toilet paper.

This little girl is in the ABC Program and waited her turn to be seen.
These boys had a lot of energy and wanted several photos taken.

This mother had both of her little girls in baseball caps from New York. I wanted a photo of them in their caps but the mother took the caps off and smoothed down their hair.

This little girl posed for me a couple of times and each time she bent her head down. I could tell she had practiced this pose before.

After all of the children were seen, it was time for them to receive their food products. Each of the children grabbed an empty box for their family and waited in line.

Juan was not able to go with us today. Lisa had clinic in Lemoa so he stayed and helped her but his mother was very kind and packed lunch for us. His mom, Juana, packed beans, rice, steak and salsa. It was great to have lunch before we left and then we headed down the mountain on our way home.

When I arrived back in Santa Cruz, Kemmel dropped me off in park and I got a photo made and purchased a stamp. Tomorrow morning, I will go to the health department with everyone and try to get my health card. Please wish me the best of luck because it may be a little tricky, depending on the mood of the office staff.

Today completes two years in Guatemala!! It has been a great experience and I am very thankful to The South Fork Church of Christ for helping me........Thank you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Second clinic in Mactzul III

I would love to tell you that today got off to a great start but my mother taught me not to lie.......I will spare you the details but eventually we ALL made it to Mactzul for our second clinic there.

As we were preparing the areas for consult, exam and dental cleaning, Camilo and Gaspar were practicing some K'iche'. I think Juan was checking his phone for new text messages from his girlfriends. I tease him about this all of the time............and he takes it well.

We had a smaller clinic this time with only 15 medical consults and 2 dental cleaning. We are not exactly sure why it was smaller but we will keep our ears open and encourage the church members to announce the clinic. We will be returning with the Pepperdine Students on March 5th and we want enough patients to keep them busy.

This young lady wanted her photo taken as she was waiting for her name to be called.

This little boy got restless during his wait so the mother took him for a walk to distract him.
This lady was precious and came to the clinic because her eyes were bothering her.

These little boys were trying to watch Gaspar clean teeth. They were standing on a wooden bench a peeking through the boarded window. Can you see the mischief in their eyes?

The most interesting patient I had today presented with acute hepatitis. Hopefully, she will get some lab work done and return with the results on March 5th. She has been very sick and I hope we can help her.
Update: Tomas' wife delivered their baby and now they have a little girl!
Tomorrow morning we are headed to Xejox for the first ABC Clinic. The ABC program is new in this area and it will be an exciting time for them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Luck?? Chance?? or the provision of God??

You have read about my sweet, little neighbor that I visit from time to time. About two months ago I was in her home drinking some milk and eating bread with her. Kemmel called me for a minute and asked me what I was up to. I told him and also shared with him that my friend had fallen a few times. He said, "Ask her if she would like a cane." Well, I was a little hesitant to ask because I know some people do not want to use assistance. Before I left her house that day, I gathered enough nerve and asked her. Her response was an enthusiastic, "Si!!"

So.......the search of a cane started but I could not find one.

Last week when I was at Clinica Ezell, I worked the night shift. On Wednesday night, we were all sitting around the nurses station and I was telling Ann and the others about my friend and her wanting a cane. In about 20 minutes, I got up to go check on the patients............and there behind me, leaning against the wall.......was a cane. I almost lost my breath..........I had not seen it. I had worked other shifts and it had not been there. It did not belong to anyone and no one had been seen using it. Even the staff at the clinic told me they had never seen it before.

Today I took it to my friend and her eyes were moist when I gave it to her. Here she is with her cane an a banana that she gave me.

Luck, chance or the provision of God? I have NO doubt which one it is!

How long has that appendicitis been going on?????

Today we had class in Clinic Carris and there were 26 of us. It was a good day and Lisa taught the class about problems of the eye and abdominal exams. Problems of the eye included trauma, when the pupils are not the same size and if a person is vomiting. She wanted them to understand that vitamin injections, which are so common, are not the treatment of choice.

Juan is hiding behind the poster board of the abdomen. Lisa talked about different organs and how many of each a person has.........that if a person comes to the clinic complaining of pain in the left side of his/ her abdomen, it probably is not an appendicitis........nor is it acute if it has been hurting for 6 years. As they say here, "poco a poco".........little by little. The guys will learn it but it will take repeating it and discussing it many, many times. It is the same process for me trying to learn Spanish and K'iche'.

We then divided into three groups and practiced exams. The questions are interesting but most of the guys do not have any basic health education........but they are really interested in learning. While I was talking with my group, a group of lambs passed by that were eating and basking in the sun.

Tomorrow Lisa and I will head to Mactzul III. It will be our second clinic there. Lindsey and Camilo will also join us.

An update on Tomas and his wife that we visited on Saturday......she is still waiting and the baby has not been delivered yet......I will keep you posted.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Introducing Glenn and Neva Berkey

I want to introduce you to Glenn and Neva Berkey. They are nurses from Missouri and will shortly join us here in Guatemala. They will arrive on March 3 and spend a few months studying Spanish in Antigua. Please pray for them and their family as they begin their exciting adventure here. We look forward to their working with us.

Their blog site is

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday in Mactzul I

Today we had our second clinic in Mactzul I and it was great. This photo is of Tomas and his son. Tomas translated K'iche' for me today. He later told Lisa that his wife was pregnant and would deliver at any time. After lunch, while Gaspar had two some more dental cleanings, Lisa, Lindsey and I walked to Tomas' house to see his wife. She is doing well.......but soon, Tomas' son will have a playmate.

Speaking of Lindsey...........let me introduce to you Lindsey and her husband, Camilo. Lindsey was here in 2006 for six weeks during the Medical Evangelism Training Program. During this time, the students live with families, participate in clinics and learn the culture. Lindsey now is returning as a PA Student and will be here for six weeks. Currently, they are living in Paxot with Juan and his family. Camilo is a great asset as he speaks Spanish, plays with the children and repairs their soccer balls.

This little girl wanted her photo taken. Right before I took the photo, her father placed her arms in this position behind her back. She is a beautiful little girl.

Today was the first dental cleaning offered by Gaspar in this area. He had eight cleanings and taught the ladies how to brush and floss.

After Lisa, Lindsey and I walked to Tomas' house to check on his wife, he wanted to buy a Coke for us. This was a first for me.........coke-in-a bag.

We had a total of 21 medical patients and 8 dental cleanings. It is good to be back in the cool highlands and back in our clinics.

Friday morning............returning to The States

Everyone had breakfast, loaded the suit cases, took their last photos, gave their last hugs and hopped on the bus.

Martha was taking a photo of everyone on the bus and accidentally left Roy out............well, I did not want his feelings hurt :) Susan is in the 4th seat back and laughing at the attention he is getting. If you get a chance, ask Susan about Crazy Corn.........I am sure she would love to prepare it and have you over for dinner :):):)

During the week, one sang keep going through my mind. It was written by Fanny J. Crosby, a famous poetess who wrote over 8,000 hymns. I kept thinking.........To God be the glory........for all that has happened this week, for all that has been accomplished, for our safety, for the renewing of spirits and for God being our God.

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done. AMEN and AMEN

Thursday in Montellano

The surgeries have been completed for the is a little time for rest......Lorie from TN enjoys her book in the court yard.

OK, I am personally trying to keep Sarita's in Chicacao in business. Every afternoon I took a different group for ice cream. We would walk around the small town and buy watermelons, bread, cookies..........whatever looked good.

On our last evening, there were 19 people that wanted to go and get ice cream. I knew we would have to take the van for that many people so I said I was going to ask for permission. Marjorie told me the keys were in it so we could take one will argue with Marjorie :) Little did we know, it had NO diesel!! Carlos gave me money........with the diesel light on and the gauge not moving at all..........we prayed our way to Chicacao.

Martha and Mary Ann enjoying the ice cream.

It takes awhile to dip out 19 servings of ice cream. Our little lady has been serving us every afternoon and was sad to know this would be our last trip. I told her I would return in May with another group.

We finished the evening with our devotional by the water fountain in the court yard. People shared their thoughts about the week. For those who were first-timers, many thanked the people who suggested, encourged and practically forced them to come..........all in good fun and very thankful that they were here this week. I am sure many will return next year and probably bring someone with them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday in Montellano

This is Yony and this is his second clinic with us. He is having his cleft palate repaired and he did real well.

As you can see, he loves the camera.

This photo is of Diego and his mother before they left the clinic. The parents are taking good care of Diego and learning how to keep his surgical site clean. Diego has seen some of us snap our fingers and he tries the best to do it too. He has really warmed up to the staff this week and is enjoying his new friends.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday in Montellano

The internet was really slow this week so you will see some discrepancy between the dates and days. It was very difficult to post photos and so I am behind.

This is the photo of the goiter I mentioned in yesterdays blog. It measured 10cm X12 cm and the patient has had it for 40 years. Plans are being made to help this lady during another surgical week.

All of the surgeries have gone well. We are thankful for this.

One evening we walked to the little store by the clinic for some cokes. These children were playing on the porch. The more photos we took of them, the happier they were.

We always had rounds between shifts with all of the nurses, nursing students and nursing assistants. We had three nursing students from Harding helping us and they were great! Hannah, Laura and Janelle really helped the unit and worked all three of the shifts. They will graduate soon and we wish them the best on the NCLEX Exam!

Monday at Rio Bravo

This morning I headed out with Dr. Quinton, Dr. Katy Ferrell and many other people. We had a clinic in Rio Bravo with medical and dental patients. We did not have a long drive and the clinic was held in a Church of Christ that was attached to a family home.

The local minster welcomed the patients and talked to them about The Bible. He talked to them about the people in the New Testament that heard the teachings of Jesus, confessed their faith and then were baptized. They began a relationship with God that He continues to want to have with people today as well.

Dr. Jessica and Evelyn set up the dental clinic under a tarp in the back yard of the family.

This little girl was the daughter of the family. She entertained us and was very content as we ran around her home.

Ellen, Ann and Katy stand by a lime tree in the yard. This is Ellen's first trip but I think she will return next year. Ann has been visiting Guatemala for many years. Last year Katy returned to Santa Cruz and did two weeks of clinics with us. I keep telling her I am going to pack her in my suitcase and prevent her from returning to The States for a couple of weeks.

Ellen is here to paint Guatemala. Her paintings are beautiful as she is capturing the culture on canvas.

The little boy of the house was also entertaining. He keep petting the stomach of the pig and the pig loved the attention. Well, Katy wanted to try her hand at it........let's just hope she washed her hands before her next consult!

The clinic was great. Tomorrow I will post the goiter we found that a lady has had for 40 years. Steps are already being taken to help this lady as soon as possible.

We had 39 medical patients and 59 dental patients. We had safe travels and we are thankful. We pray that the clinic strengthens The Church and the patients there will think about the things they saw and heard.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Update on Diego

Some of you will remember Diego. He is a baby that Jane, from Evelyn's Baskets of Love and Life has helped and also the Morganton Church of Christ. This was a photo of Diego before his first surgery last year. He was only a few months old in this photo. He was born with a double cleft lip and palate.

This photo was in August 2008, one week after his first surgery. He had some infection around the surgical site but was doing well.

Diego's second surgery was done Sunday afternoon. Some of us had gone to Chicacao for iecream and when we returned, his parents were pacing in the driveway. We stopped and answered their questions and prayed with them..........knowing that Diego has great doctors and nurses doing the surgery and that God was with them.

The surgery went well and this photo was taken 15 minutes after the surgery in the recovery area.
Diego is full of energy and ready to play again! This photo was taken Tuesday afternoon.

Diego and his parents will return home on Wednesday afternoon. The parents have been helping clean the surgical site to help prevent infection. He will be seen next week in Lemoa of a follow-up consult.

Let the Clinics Begin!

We arrived in Montellano without any problems. We walked across the street for worship and it was great to see so many returning people and then there are also some new faces.

This is Lousie from TN and she has been associated with Health Talents for many years. She was here in the 1980's before Clinica Ezell was built. It 1986, she trained Rosario's dad in lab procedures. This is Louise and Rosario in our lab now.

These ladies took time out between patients to enjoy some time on the porch. The temperature is much different here than in The Highlands. This is Susan (MS), Rita (TN) and Susan (MS). This is Susan and Rita's first visit and Susan's (to the right) third visit.

Mary Anne was chatting with a little lady before her surgery.

Some of you will remember Diego from August. He had his second surgery today and I will post some photos of him later. He did real well and his parents are very thankful. His father held him after surgery while his mother, Josefina, cried on my shoulder.

This week our chaplain is Craig and he is from Birmingham. He talked tonight about God never being early, never being late and on time every time. He talked about God's provision and how He always provides. He talked about our being here is a provision for the prayers of the patients. These patients have prayed for comfort and relief from pain. The parents have prayed for miracles for their children. We are here because of their prayer and God's provision. He said this thought is very humbling and it is. We continue to pray that the patients do well and that they see the love of God in our actions.

Leaving Chichi

I want to post this to ask for your prayers as we continue to travel daily and spend many hours on the road.

This morning as I was waiting for Juan, he was quite late. I was becoming somewhat agitated as the minutes passed. As many people know, I am a AAA personality when it comes to some things.

Anyway..........Juan finally arrived to the truck and I asked him if he was OK. He said he was very sad. He had been held at gun point for about 40 minutes and robbed on his way to Chichi from Paxot II. Some guys stopped the truck that he was riding in and everyone was robbed. The road situations are not safe in the evenings but usually there are no problems in the day.

I am just thankful that he and the other riders are safe. It is just a reminder that earthly issues and many of our daily concerns are not really important...........this life is very temporary......and our focus needs to be in the eternal.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wrapping up the week..........

This week has been a combination of many different events. As I have mentioned, as also Lisa and Kemmel in their blog, we are focusing on an educational plan at the community level. The program is called Community Health Evangelism or CHE. It will be a lot of work that will develop as we move along. This week I have spent some time at home studying and also have worked some clinics.

Thursday in Lemoa, I was working in the pharmacy with Gaspar. We were counting and packaging medicines when Juan went to the store and bought us some chips. There is a promotion going on and some of the bags have money in them. I did not know it and I thought Gaspar was joking with me when I found a silver package in my bag. I tossed it to Gaspar and told him it was his. He asked me if I was sure..........I said, "Sure!" He opened it up and there was 1 quetzal.........worth about 13 cents.

Today we had clinic in Choacaman IV and this seven year old came for a consult. It was a sunny day and we enjoyed sitting in the court area.

This afternoon Lisa, Josefina and I met to talk more about our direction with the education. Kemmel did some running around and worked on one of the trucks.
Juan and I will head to Montellano on Sunday for a week of surgical clinic. Please pray that the surgical team will arrive safe and that the patients do well. We hope to help them physically while giving them an opportunity to see God's love and to hear His message.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Back in Santa Cruz

It was nice to go to Panajachel for the afternoon and spend the night. Lisa and Kemmel let me use their Nisson which I have drove once before. I had a little trouble with the security code when I reached Solola and accidentally set it off........hmmmmmm, it may be the last time they offer the vehicle to me :)

This was Lake Atitlan as I was eating dinner........

and this was the lake in the morning.

OK, back to Santa Cruz to work.
Tomorrow I will be working at home. I will be reviewing materials to help us get ready to start the Community Health Evangelism Program. I think it will be exciting with a lot of possibilities for growth and education.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Clinic in Mactzul V

I was slow with the camera today so I do not have any photos to share. We finished the ABC Clinic today in Mactzul V with 40 patients. Gaspar taught a class in his community on dental hygiene so we had Juan and Manuel working with us. Tomas lives close by so he came to help for the day.

The ABC program is such as impressive program and continues to grow. With sponsors in The States, the children have opportunities that they might never have. They will remain in school, continue their education, receive medical and dental care and clothing. The whole family benefits from the program physically and spiritually.

When people visit and meet their child for the first time it can be over-whelming. You are then able to see the face and hear the child's voice that you are helping. There are many scriptures that talk about helping the poor, feeding the hungry and showing love for each other........what great opportunities we have! And yet, we always receive more than we give.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Clinic in Paxot II

We had our clinic in Paxot II today and that finished the ABC checkups. We had 21 patients with the majority of those being the ABC Children.

Have I told you how cold it is here??? Well, in case I haven' is very cold. Between patients, as we were served atole and during lunch we sat in the cooking area around the fire. I was sitting so close I had to be careful that my plastic shoes didn't melt.

The next photo is of the baby that was born on July 10th of last year with spina bifida. Juan and I went to visit the parents in the hospital that afternoon when we received the news. Kemmel spent a lot of time with them as they were traveling to The City for consults for surgery. Lisa told me today that the baby is able to move his legs some and is continuing with physical therapy. The baby is growing as you can see from the photo and is very content.

These were children that were playing outside as we were eating. They were running around in the pila area and having a good time..........probably running to stay warm.

This is the pila area below the cooking area. They were jumping from pila to pila.......

Tomorrow we are headed to Mactzul V to finish the ABC Children in that area.