Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fair trade with Karen and the ladies in Chuchipaca

A couple of years ago when Kemmel, Lisa, Fran and I were in Panajachel, I met Karen. Well, Karen remembered me from my blog site and said, "Aren't you Sheri?" Well, of course the answer was, "Yes." Since that time we have maintained some contact.

Karen has been working in Guatemala for 6 years with different ladies groups with Fair Trade. She comes down several times a year and primarily works in areas of Lake Atitlan and now she is looking for some different areas to work with.

Today we met with some ladies in Chuchipaca, primarily widows. Kemmel and Juan were also there to give support and help with translation. We first had a wonderful lunch in the home of Juan's mother-in-law. The had the best melon drink and tamalitos.

Before the meeting started, Juan then showed Karen some of the materials that the ladies make in Chuchipaca. She could tell how much time went into the materials due to the embordering. Then the ladies arrived, close to 11 and most being widows. Karen noticed right away the different colors that they use in their weaving.

This is Karen before we started the day.

As the ladies talked and explained things to us, Karen continued to notice the colors and the quality of the material. Juan and Kemmel listened to the ladies and translated.

In most things that we deal with, there are cultural differences and hurdles to jump. Today, it was obvious that the ladies do now know how many hours it takes to create something. They want to tell you in days. "Yes, this takes six days to makes." When we tried to get an answer in hours, well, it will just take some time to get there.

Some of the prettiest pieces, I think, were the ones the ladies were carrying and did not specifically bring to show Karen. The colors were bright and beautiful.

At first the ladies seemed a little nervous about displaying their materials but then everyone wanted in the show.

Karen will return in July and meet with the ladies again. If her board has an interest in the types of things they make, an order will be placed for these items.

I talked to several of the ladies afterward, as did Kemmel and they are excited at the prospect of their work being bought at an "honest" price. It is a wonderful opportunity for them. We will see how things go. As we say, "poco a poco."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Clinic at the coast-Montellano

Yesterday, Kemmel, Lisa and I came down to Montellano to do a post-op clinic. These patients had surgery the week of April 10th and return for a post-op consult.

This was the list of the patients. Each night, when the staff came together for a devotional period, they prayed for each person by name. Prayer is powerful. God answered those prayers because each patient that Lisa and Davis saw today was doing well. Gracias a Dios.

When the patients entered the gates, we had a short devotional. David talked about the hope that we are provided with Christ's death. They may be feeling better physically after their surgery but we also need to think about our spiritual health.

After the devotional, it was time to organize and get things moving. Can you find Kemmel in the middle, taking names of the patients?

David looks for patients that he sent to Sonya, his wife, to get them organized.

Lisa and David saw 78 patients. Kemmel maintained the pharmacy. I had patients ready as Lisa went between two rooms.

It was a wonderful day. I enjoy doing new things. The patients were very appreciative and thankful.

After clinic, we went for an early dinner. McDonalds, has never tasted so good! When it is not an option in Chichi, it is nice.

We spent a few more hours looking at the calander. We will be having a lot of changes coming up and we want to be prepared. I am excited about the educational piece, as well as the clinic aspects. Let's continue to move forward in service!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let's begin Semana Santa!

Let's begin the week of Semana Santa and all of the festivities! This is the big holy week for Guatemala so there will be lots of food, activities, fiestas, fireworks, parades and did I mention food? It will be a fun week.

Today, Kemmel, Lisa, Maury and I held the clinic in Lemoa and we had 16 patients. The day went well. Maury, checked the people in and then I took their vital signs. Lisa did the consult and then Kemmel finished with them in the pharmacy. Sounds like a well-oiled machine, correct??

When Maury and I caught up, we started counting some pills. Maury had some helpers.......

This little girl wanted to show me her toothless brought pain to me........

Tomorrow morning, I will head to the coast with Lisa and Kemmel. Several months ago at one of our meetings, we offered to work the post-op clinic so the HTI staff could have the day off due to the holiday. So, all of the patients who had surgery last week, should be coming for their post-op visit. I heard there will be 82! It will be good..........and as you have heard me say before, it will be HOT! But that is ok.....we can deal with it for a couple of days :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Clinic in La Estancia

Today I went to La Estancia with Manuel and Tomas. This is usually one of Josefina's clinics but she needed to go to the city today.

Usually, the clinic is held in a home that is also a bakery. Because we are entering Semana Santa, we held the clinic across the street. Well, there were no patients when we arrived so we waited for about an hour and then I just had to go and buy some bread.

I wish I had taken my camera because it was very interesting. The guys who usually hang out during clinic were dressed in their baking garb. There was piles and piles of flour and bags of broken egg shells. There were many levels of bread that lined the wall. I walked back to the guys with the bread.

Well, the bread was awesome. Very soft in the middle and crunchy with a little sweetness on top. The guys and I ate about half of the loaf and took the rest home with us.

We only had four patients for the day. That was kind of sad but we expected the number to be low.

We had more barn yard activity than we had patients.

There was a lot of squawking going here and I could not tell if she liked it or was trying to get away from it.

This rooster kept adding his few cents.....and he sure was loud for being so small.

None of the noise bothered her..........

It was a good day. But I will let you know.......I tried to eat the bread later and it was just NASTY! It has to be eaten fresh out of the oven or you can play hockey with it! This is just the truth.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Finishing the Diabetic Class II

Today, I worked at home and finished the Diabetic II Class. I met with Maury the other day and she helped me with some Spanish and we also changed the Power Point a little. I am really excited about the classes and the next one in Chuchipaca will be April 30.

I was looking back at the different countries that read the blog and I really appreciate it! In the last two weeks there have been readers from Nigeria, Colombia, Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, Pakistan, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan, Australia and France. Now, this is not to say that they spend hours reading the blog but they have returned more than once. Thank you to everyone that checks in. Please feel free to leave comments.

I mentioned the other day that we had a 2 day seminar by Klay and he presented some very good ideas and a lot of things to think about.

He talked about "being right." It is not always important to be right. There is a good chance that we push people away by having the attitude of always being right. Just think, we might learn something from someone else. It was not right, in any way, that Jesus, a perfect man, died for us. Not only the physical pain but the emotional torture as well. As the people He loved turned their backs, God also turned.

It is only because of this we have the hope of salvation.

I have mentioned in the past the work that is being done in India. Recently they had a meeting in another place and 8 people received the gospel and were baptized........just as in Acts when the church was established.

I wanted to share these photos with you.

Thank you for continuing to read and encouraging the work here in Guatemala.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Clinic in Chuguexa

Today the guys and I headed for Chuguexa. We had no problems during our travel and we are always thankful for that!

When we arrived, there were a few patients wating. In this clinic, people arrive slowly so this gave us hope that a few more would arrive.

When we stepped out of the truck and climbed the embankment to the clinic, the dust was several inches thick......and that is no exageration! When I reached the top, I stopped to knock the dust off my shoes. The dust flew!

I do not know why but I thought of Jesus teaching the disciples. He told them that when they went somewhere where they were not welcomed or their words were not welcomed, to shake the dust off their feet. I am glad this was not our case today. We are always welcomed here.

We had eight patients so it was a short day.

I asked Juan if he wanted to drive us home. He hesitated at first but with some encouragement, decided he would. I sat in the back seat and relaxed. Driving on the highway gives him more confidence and he is doing very well.

When I returned to Santa Cruz, I walked to town to buy a few things. On the way home, I stopped for a blackberry frozen ice cream and listened to Curtis Stigers. Half way home the moon came out to smile on me................... is very good!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More water filters in Xejox

With a view as this, what more in life would you want? Well, you would like clean water for you and your family. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, the water system does not deliver water suitable to drink. Sometimes, hoses are put in streams or in springs and whatever comes through the hose is your water. If you are lucky enough to have water.

Today, Manuel, Tomas, Josefina, Maury and I went to Xejox to continue to deliver water filters. It was a hot day and at times you would like a drink of cool water, until you you see it. This is the water from the first house that we went to.

We explained the system to each family and showed them how to maintain it.

This is the family of Damiel Cog Calachij. He was in school when we visited his home.

The second home was Maria Gomez Aqui. She is on the left of the photo. She is 14 years old and is in the 5th grade. Her brother, Santigao Gomez Aqui was not at home but we found him at the next home.

The boy in the red shirt lives in this home and his name is Santiago Gomez Gomez. He is 9 years old and is in the second grade. The boy in the green is Santiago Gomez Aqui from the earlier house.

This house belongs to Casmiro Mendez Coj. He is in the striped shirt and he is in the fifth grade.

The family asked us to sit for a few minutes. At first it is uncomfortable sitting on someone's bed but then you realize everything is in that room. So, Tomas and I sat near each other and then I looked down, and saw this hen laying on her eggs. In the same room were 3 other brooding hens!

This is the house of Transitio Mendez Barrera and Vitalino Mendez Barrera. They were not there because one family member was sick in a different house.

Their father has a small stash of tomatoes and different things to sell. Tomas bought 6 pounds of small green tomatoes.

This is the last home we visited for the day and we also ate lunch here. We had wonderful chicken soup and tortillas.

This young man is Marvin Geovany Calachj Toy. He is 7 years old and enjoys school.

It was a tiring day but a good one. We stopped on the way home and bought some ice cream. That always makes the long drive more a little better.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Klay and Lisa from Arkansas

Lisa and Klay are here from Arkansas. They will be here with us tor two days and presenting a seminar on how to counsel others. These two days will be opened to the leaders of the surrounding congregations. Klay will be discussing techniques on counseling family issues and also problems within the church.

Josefina began translating for Klay and then Kemmel helped. The translating was difficult at times. Come concepts or terminology do not translate equally and so you must be creative in how you do so.

Thoughts from the seminar included that we must not forget the grace that which we are saved by. Klay talked about how come cultures have lost the act of "sharing" and we must return to it. When Christ died for us He was being being submissive and we must model Christ. Satan has always wanted to divide.......God's plan is unity. We must not always be "correct." When we have a relationship with is the entity that is between or the relationship that is more important than the two people.

These are just a few thoughts from the two days. They are by no means the most important or in order. A lot of Christian principles that I think many people have forgotten.

For lunch, we were served at two large tables. We were served chicken pepian.

With the pepian came rice, potatoes and salad. It was delicious.

I know that people left with many thoughts and ideas. Good seed was planted. We need more unity. Isn't that what Christ prayed for? I hope that more classes like this are offered in the future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The unnamed congregation

Today we had 15 medical patients. It was a busy day but not over-whelming.

One of the health-promotors from Mactzul II was at the clinic wanting to learn. He sat in during the consults, which the majority were diabetics. He saw how difficult it was to teach the patients. He finally ask if he could try to explain and I was eager to have him do so. I wanted to see if he could explain it in an easier manner and if the patient understood better hearing it in K'iche'.

When he finished with his explanation, he nodded to me and then I asked a question or two. The patient was not able answer and he said to me in frustration, "Sheri, I told him that! I explained that to him!" I assured him that it was not his teaching but that the patient needs to hear it over and over again and we need to have more patience with the patient. Yes, I was talking to myself as much as I was to him.

When I came home after clinic, I had an email waiting for me from the brother in India. I have blogged a few times about him and the work he is doing there. He had been asked to preach in a near-by town that had a congregation that worshiped God but did not have a name. They are confused on what they should call themselves and which doctrine they should follow but they know that they need to worship God. They have called themselves the unnamed congregation.

When I received the photo and the email from Raju, I thought of the story in Acts 17, where Paul is addressing the people over their unnamed god. In this chapter, Paul had a perfect opportunity to teach them about the true God........the only God.

Raju has the same opportunity today as odd as it may seem. Raju is in a place where there is not a church chuilding on every corner nor a telephone book that has listing after listing. There is a group of people here that only want to hear of the true God. They do not want to worship or serve a god that their family serves but they want to study The Bible. I am excited for him over this wonderful opportunity.

Is it easy for us to worship where our family worships and not know why we do things the way we do? Maybe we have done them a certain way for so long we do not have a Bibical reason for the way we do them. Just something to think about.

I will keep you posted on Raju and how things go between him and the "unnamed congregation."

Tomorrow and Friday, we will have Klay and Lisa Bartee here from Arkansas. He will be teaching a seminar on how to counsel people to the church leaders from different communities.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend in Antigua

I had a great time in Antigua over the weekend. I had hopes of watching UNC win a few more games than they did but sometimes, that is just how it goes. I was hoping that Kentucky would go on to win but I had double disappointment.

There were a lot of activities in Antigua as they prepare for Semana Santa. This lady is placing more flowers down before the parade walks over it. The afromba take a lot of work but do not last very long in the street.

This float is carried by 100 men and it is huge. As they walk, they do so in a manner that lifts the float off of their shoulder for a second of rest.

This is the float as it got closer and turned into La Merced, a huge Catholic Cathedral.

This is one of the other end of the float as it made it's entrance.

This is one of the three volcanoes near Antigua. A large Catholic Cathedral is to the left and to the right is some of the governmental buildings and the park.

It was great to have lunch with Mary, Neva and Glenn on Sunday afternoon. My passport is taken care of for three months so that is nice to know. It is almost time to return to Chichi and get back to work.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gettin' things done!!

For two days I have been working on the next diabetic class. It is exciting but it also takes a lot of time and preparation. This will be the most difficult class in the series to teach because the idea of planing a diet is foreign to many people. Sometimes it is difficult for people to understand something if they have never been exposed to it before.

I have an example from the other day when the guys and I went to Xepol. I had a fear that the gas gauge was not working properly. The gauge registered full, yet I was able to put 300 of diesel in the tank. I thought the guys understood but I was wrong. As we were pulling out of the gas station, Juan asked me which gauge was for diesel and I showed him. They then started asking if the gauge should move and which way. I then realized, that they did not understand the principle of the gas gauge. They are very smart guys but they have never had to be concerned with how much diesel a truck had in it.

So, we will see how this class goes. It will probably be a large class so there will not be a lot of time for individual meal planning. This will be the downside of the class.

As I was eating dinner, Nakko poked his head in the door and thought that he was going to get some food. This is a lot of slurrpin' going on.

Tomorrow, we will have clinic in Lemoa. Almost another week is gone.......