Tuesday, March 31, 2009
We did have ten medical patients and one dental patients. I enjoyed the day because most of the patients but did not have a place of worship or they were listed as costumbre. These are opportunities that we need to take advantage of. When people are sick or hurting, it is a time that Christians can bolding proclaim the love of Christ and God's desire for a relationship with them. We invited many of the patients to worship with The Church in Chutzurob and the members there will continue to pray and extend their hand of love.
After the patients were seen, some of us hiked to a small store for something to drink........as you can see, the store sold several Cokes.
Tonight Kemmel, Lisa and I will have dinner with Jane who started Evelyn's Baskets of Love and Life. She arrived in Guatemala yesterday and has already connected with some babies that have needs. Her photo and email is on the front of the blog if you are interested in contacting her. She brings baskets for babies who are born with cleft lips and palates. She educates the mothers on the needs of these children so they can get the proper nutrition that they need for surgery.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Well what you do say when you have been smack dab in the center of God's work? It is just amazing!!!! For those of you who were thinking of me and praying for me while I was in Guatemala, I am eternally grateful. Everyone on the team and the patients felt your prayers. We were able to do about 40 surgical cases - about 1/3 kids plastic surgery (cleft lips and palates) and the rest gynecological surgery (hysterectomys etc). With this being my second time there, this trip wasn't as "shocking" as my first, but yet more heart wrenching. I love these people. Even though I am back here physically, my heart is still there. And I find myself trying to manipulate schedules to get back there quickly.
1. God is just as busy in Hendersonville as He is in Guatemala! I am just too distracted when I am home to see it!!!
2. Guatamala is all four seasons in one place, you just need to drive around a little.
3. God is bigger than a blood bank! We had a bit of a scare with a patient that had some post-operative bleeding. She probably lost half her blood volume. I remember thinking, "Good Lord, we don't have access to ANY blood products!" Well that same Good Lord made it possible to give her back 300 ml of her own blood and miraculously provided us with some albumin to give her. The patient did exceptionally well. It was a total God-thing.
4. Mission trips are even more fun with a dear friend. Thank you Lorie for being a good roomate, travel buddy, precious friend, and sister in the Lord.
5. DOLOR is pain in spanish. DOLAR is money. Big difference! I know those sweet patients think I am such a goober with my country accent spanish as I go around inadvertently asking for money while trying to assess for postoperative pain in the recovery area!
6. I have now come in contact with some of the most grateful humans on the planet. I was putting a spinal block in one of my patients this week and when I laid her back down, she was crying. The spinal had gone right in, so I was shocked to see her reaction. "Perdone, Senoirita, no tiengo meida …" In my poor broken spanish, I told her I was so sorry for hurting her. She said that she was not crying tears of pain but tears of joy because she was so thankful for all of us and what we were doing for her. WOW.
7. Latex grows on trees. It's not man -made, but I am sure that you already knew that.
8. I am the most selfish person I know! This sobering realization is all over me as I drive down the road in my car with my seat warmer on and drinking a smoothie. My patients are back there with a dirt floor, tarp roof, no running water, and possibly hungry. Yet they are very, very happy.
9. God's love and peace truly does surpass all understanding. And, it transcends all language and land barriers.
10. Take a mission trip - "you'll live right for one week out of the year, so you can live better the other 51." (not my quote, but Scott's- isn't that good?).
Thursday, March 26, 2009
This is Emily and Brittany before we started the clinic. The view was not as clear as it was last time but it is still pretty and very peaceful. We began with a short devotional led by Fransisco, Anastacia and Tomas that went with us.
Fransisco translated K'iche' for me while Anastacia and Tomas prayed with the patients and shared scriptures with them.
I want you to meet two friends that Josefina made today........Maria and Maria.
After we had seen all of the patients, they wanted us to visit a nearby spring. The owner of the land paid Q205 about 25 years ago for several acres. Someone is wanting to buy the land from him now and is offing him Q250,00. He says that he will not sell. He says the spring provides sufficient water to five homes who are Christians. The two black lines on the right side of the photo are hoses that carry the water to these houses and are held down by the rock..........amazing. The owner of the land wanted us to thank God providing this area with water.....something that they realize is a great blessing. A prayer of thanksgiving was offered.
You have heard my stories about mounting the P.A. system on the trucks and wiring them to the car battery to announce our clinics. Today, a car battery provided power to the P.A. system in the church building or the house of prayer.
We arrived back in Santa Cruz about 5pm and it was a good day. Tomorrow Emily and Brittany will return to Antigua with Lisa and Kemmel and then return to The States on Saturday. We enjoyed having them with us for what seemed to be a very fast week. We wish them the best in their studies and hope they will return to visit again.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Brittany offered to take vital signs so she is checking this lady in before her consult.
These ladies prepared our lunch. We walked over to visit and I took them some photos that I had printed for them. Our lunch consisted of fried chicken, salad, rice, tortillas and a lemon drink.
Emily has some new friends. Francisca is the older girl and the students from ACU will remember her. Her face continues to heal and she seems much happier.
You can't find any child more precious.
Tomorrow we will leave Chichi at 0530 to arrive in Chuisiquel around 0830. We will take two trucks and some church members from this area. We should have a great clinic.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
We started the morning with Juan leading some singing and Gaspar reading some verses from Isaiah. We had a special prayer for a previous MET student, Brett, who returned 2 weeks ago with ACU. His brother is now in the hospital and we wanted to offer a special prayer for his healing and for the comfort of his family members.
Josefina started by talking about the different food groups and having a balanced diet.
She then divided the class into three sections and each group had several photos of foods. They needed to identify the food and then classify it as fruit, vegetable, protein or carbohydrate. We just needed to make sure the class understood the differences in food groups. We found out that this discussion was very important for them to have.
This is one group discussing their photos.
Here is another group debating over what are fruits and what are vegetables.
This group seemed to have a better understanding and they moved through their photos quickly.
Monday, March 23, 2009
On Saturday we had clinic in Mactzul I with 21 medical patients and 2 patients for dental cleaning. Lindsey and Camilo helped and unfortunately it was their last clinic with us......and ironically, Mactzul was their first clinic with us.
After we had loaded the truck, there was one chair left. Camillo tossed it up on the truck and then had a fantasy that he was a sea captain........this little boy also wanted to drive the ship so Camilo shared the helm.
This mother wanted her photo taken with her child at the clinic......and I actually got a small smile from her.
The Semana Santa activities are continuing in Antigua. This is one of the alfombras they were preparing for the afternoon parades. When I passed through the first time, they had just cleaned the street and were laying down the stencils. They then fill it with colored sawdust and pine needles and sometimes use flowers and fruits for decoration. The man on the far end is misting it with water to help it stay in place and not dry out.
Monday was a day off so I went to the apartment and cleaned. Camilo and Lindsey visited for a few minutes.........good luck with school you guys!! Linsey will soon finish the PA program at Harding and Camilo will be studying architecture.
Lisa called and invited me for dinner tonight. We had a delicious soup and bread. After dinner, they took the girls back to the hotel and then Lisa made a house call to see a sick child.
Tomorrow Emily and Britany will be in Chichi with Dr. Tom, the surgeon that we refer patients to. He recently completed his Guatemalan service in Guatemala City. I will be in Lemoa with Josefina and it will be one of our educational days with the promoters. It will be a great day for everyone and we pray that Lisa and Kemmel have safe travel to The City.
Friday, March 20, 2009
About noon I wanted to Chichi to get a few things....batteries, soap, cereal.......nothing real exciting. On the way I checked out a laundry service that is new in the area. They charge by the basket and not by the pound as they do in Antigua. It is something that might come in handy. I also checked out another place that the Dunham's told me about. He sells something like frozen juice on a stick. I know there is a proper name for them but.........ok, so it is fruit juice on a stick. He only had pineapple and it was real good. Later in the year he will have other flavors.
I want to introduce you to Katie..............up close and personal.
Katie needs to check out my luggage before I am allowed to unpack :)
So far, so good..........tomorrow we have clinic in Mactzul I. I have photos to take to them and I think they will enjoy them.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Everyone was great and helped me move today after their clinics. It took 4 truck loads and now it is all here.........Lisa posted a photo on their blog site.
I have become a dog owner and we are getting to know each other. Her name is Katie and I will post some photos of her when I find my camera.
Today, I found out that I will be attending a Community Health Evangelism (CHE) seminar in NC in May. I am really excited about this and I believe it will open more doors for education on physical matters but even more important are the spiritual aspects.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I visited Mary, a friend that lives in Antigua. She is storing a piece of luggage for me before my next trip to The States. In the evening I watched a parade which is the beginning of the Semana Santa festivities.
This photo of the large cathedral near the park.
Some flowers had been placed on the fountain in the park.
For a beautiful night photo, please see http://www.kemmelandlisa.blogspot.com/. Lisa has a spectacular night photo of Chichi on the March 14th blog
When we arrived back in Chichi, I found out I will be soon moving into the house near the Dunham's. They have a return flight on Thursday so I will move on Saturday. It will be a good move, closer to the clinics, less driving and parking will be easier.
I went and talked to my neighbor tonight and told her that I would be moving. She was not feeling very good and it was sad. She said she has been having some problems with her heart and feels like she is going to die. I asked her if she needed anything or if there was anything I could do. She said she would like some honey so I went to the store and got her some. I told her I would visit again next week. I have also talked to the people I rent from. They have also been kind to me.
Tomorrow Josefina and I have clinic in Lemoa. It will be a procedure clinic and then we will also finish taking photos for a nutritional class.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I called Kemmel to let him know what was going on. He felt it was better just to hold off. We might be able to get to Choacaman but might not be able to get back in to Santa Cruz. They had already started blocking the roads.
I returned to the house and made a list of things I could do today to make it a productive one...........finally clean my house, order flight tickets, finish a Spanish class, start to pack, catch up on email and get some photos made for a nutrition class. I grabbed my backpack and started out the door thinking that my neighbors television was loud with no one home and then I realized it was not the television but the demonstration in the street.
To the left of my house, the roads were blocked. The vans and buses were all stopped with policemen, firemen and other city workers blocking the side streets. I turned and walked the other way. Things like this make me a little nervous and it is better not to be in the center of it. As I walked a few blocks I realized nothing, nothing was opened. Sirens and horns were blasting and all of the businesses were closed. The streets were empty and there were no vendors. No one was selling chicken, ice cream or phone cards. The park was empty. The vans and buses were not running.......it did not look like Santa Cruz.
I decided to walk home and get out of the streets. One my way, I met the demonstration marchers. They were walking behind police cars with blasting megaphones and signs. There were hundreds of people marching.........they filled five full blocks. I wanted a photo but thought it was better not to pull my camera out of my backpack.
Most of their signs were about the injustice or unfair treatment of the indigenous people. Prices have really increased in the last year and transportation has been a main concern. It was a peaceful march but there was still uneasiness about it. The men motioned for those watching to join. Many of the women who were walking were also weaving.............marching for their cause was not going to stop them from doing some work. Many of the mothers carried their babies and were breastfeeding as they walked. Last time this happened they burned tires in the streets to stop the traffice but I did not see any of this today.
I think things will be back to normal tomorrow. I will go to Chuchipaca with Lisa and the guys.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
One of my favorite parts of the day is when we welcome the patients to the clinic and pray with them before we begin. Manuel spoke for a few minutes about the services that are available and then we prayed. This is the last clinic for the ACU team and the week has gone very quickly.
Conner and Kelli worked the pharmacy area.........explaining the medicines and collecting the money. It can get a little difficult because widows and ABC children do not pay and no one pays more than Q25. If a patient can not pay at all and the members of the church verify it, then it is written off as a gift.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
As we were driving along the way, I saw a building in the far distance and mentioned that they were putting a new roof on it. Little did I know, it was Mactzul VI, where we were headed. As you can tell, they have torn the whole roof off because their old roof was beginning to rot. They were breaking by hand the concrete and adobe wall and still had a lot of work to do on it.
Kelli, Brittany, Brenda and Stacy are standing in the area that we usually have clinic.......but as you can see, we needed to come up with a different plan today.
The guys wanted to help tear down the rest of the wall......it was about 2.5-3 feet thick. I was going to translate but we changed things around so the guys could help. This is Brenda when she found out that she was translating again.........then I would work in the pharmacy and the guys could crack the concrete.
The dust was very think and hard to work in. Kemmel is spraying water to keep the dust down as they move the rubble. Dan, Brett and Chase are in the background.
Kemmel and Brett are back on the wall for more action.
Chase in action!
We had a busy clinic with 28 medical patients and 29 dental patients. We only had a few more patients after lunch and then it was time to pack the trucks.
One last photo before hitting the road.
It is hard to believe the week is almost over. It seems as if the students just arrived yesterday. Tomorrow will be their last clinic with us and then they will spend the night in Antigua before flying home.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We had clinic in our usual area and the view was as beautiful as usual. Here Dan, Georgia, Kayla, Lauren, Shevaun and Brett stand behind the clinic. This is also the area that Brett stayed in when he was a MET student last year.
We got the patients checked in and then the clinic began. We had about 13 medical patients and 16 dental patients. This was the dental area..........unfortunately, Gaspar only had one dental cleaning.
Shevaun and I worked in the pharmacy. During some down-time we had some visitors :)
Some necklaces were made for the children out of beads. Each color had a different representation. Dan told me what each color represented, I translated to Manuel and then he translated into K'iche' for the patients. The children really liked the necklaces and appreciated them. Manuel gave a quiz at the end to see how much they had paid attention and they did very well!
We were served chow-mein for lunch........who would have thought, "chow mein in Guatemala?" It was very good...........high carbs.......chow mein and tortillas!
We had a good devotional and dinner and then said goodnight. I am spending the night with Lisa and Kemmel so I will not have to wake anyone to get into the garage :) Just one of those things...............tomorrow another day and another adventure!!
Monday, March 9, 2009
This is Lauren, Georgia, Chase and Stacey and they are students at Abilene Christian University. We spent the day together in Lemoa and then announced Josefina's clinic Thursday in Xatinab I.
I taught them how to take blood pressures, check pulses, do glucometer readings, and check urine specimens for pregnancy and infection. They all learned very quickly and did well. Here Chase is practicing his technique with Lauren.
One patient that had a consult is having a lot of problems in her life. Josefina asked Gaspar to pray with her after her consult. Later, she asked me for my telephone number because she wants to attend a worship service here in Santa Cruz. I told her I would be glad to meet her and we could walk together. We never know what doors may open to teach people more about the gospel.
Tomorrow, Josefina will have her clinic in Xatinab I. She asked me if I would drive around in the community and announce the clinic...........sure!! Lauren, Stacy and Georgia also wanted to go. I told them it would be a tight fit but if they were up to it, they were welcomed.
I will keep you posted on how many patients Josefina has in Xatinab :)
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I met Juan at 0800 to go to the hospital. The family called and told him they were running behind. I knew it was another cold morning when I saw Juan in his gloves and jacket.
The hospital would only let one of us enter since it was not the regular visitation time. One of the sons went in and got his mother and then we drove to the ultrasound office. This whole process is still foreign to me but little by little, "poco a poco" I will learn to understand.
We waited for about 45 minutes as another patient had her exam and then it was Petronila's turn. She was finished in about 15 minutes. We returned to the hospital and her son walked her back in. The other son wanted to buy Juan and I a Coke so we walked to the little store near the hospital.
I visited my little neighbor this afternoon. She is having problems with circulation and had a prescription for some medicine. Today I was able to take the medicine to her. As I left, she filled my backpack with eggs, onions and tomatoes. She asked me if I cooked and I told her not much......I did not admit to her how long my tank of gas for my stove lasted. She would just laugh as me.
Well, Abilene Christian University is here and they will have clinics with us for the next week. We are thankful that they have arrived safely. We will have some clinics in areas that we do not go to regularly. Tomorrow, we will have clinic in Chinique where we once had clinic with the Pat Hile group. It was a good experience and I pray that tomorrow will be the same.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Yesterday we had clinic in Paxot II with Marcos and Martina. One patient came to the clinic with a truckload of family members.....literally. She could barely walk, very weak and obviously very ill. We saw her right away and she was as jaundice as she could be. Someone in her community told her over a month ago that she had hepatitis but had not followed up with another consult and has continued to become sicker. We talked for awhile and then the family took her to the hospital in Santa Cruz.
Today we had clinic in Mactzul V with 10 patients. It was a bright and sunny day.........pure Carolina Blue!! This is the view from where the clinic is.
Jose, helped me translate today from K'iche'. Now, I have told you about the Guatemalan look and this is it......all grins and smiles and then when they ask for a photo.......it becomes a very serious time.
We arrived right at 2pm and found the family in the parking lot. We all entered together and went to see Petronila. She is 48 years old, is a widow and has 5 children. She is a Christian but her children are not. We talk to her and her family for a few minutes and they tell us that she needs an exam but do not know what it is.
I have always been treated well at the hospital and want to keep it that way. I try to be very respectful, not pushy and not ask a lot of questions of the staff.......because as they can tell, I am not family :) So I find a nurse who looks friendly and I start talking to her. She tells me that Petronila needs an ultrasound but because it is Sunday, most of them are closed. She is very nice and tells us if we can find one open, we can take Petronila and bring her back to the hospital........so Gaspar, Juan, one of her sons and I drive around Santa Cruz looking for an open ultrasound office.
We find an ultrasound that is open but when we return to get Petronila, the nurse tells us she has eaten lunch so she will have to wait until Monday to get it done. We have 5 more minutes of visitation left and some of the local church members have also come to visit. We join around her bed and pray for her and her family as the visitation time ends.
We load up the truck and Gaspar remembers another ultrasound place so we go and check it out........it is open on Sundays!! So, tomorrow morning, Juan and I will meet the family at the hospital and take Petronila for her exam. Please pray for her and her family..........and I will keep you posted.