Sunday, April 29, 2012

Karen's visit to Chichicastenango

This morning, I went to Quiche for worship.  I was saddened to hear that the building was broken in to and their computer and PA system was stolen.  This also recently happened in Josue's community.  How sad........

When we finished, I went to Santo Tomas to meet Karen. Below is the scarf that she brought me.  It was made by the ladies in Chuchipaca.  They have the ability to coordinate colors and their workmanship is very good.

Karen wanted to visit the Utz Batz, the local Fair Trade Store here in Chichi.  They had a lot of pretty things.

We walked around Chichi a little and then it was time for lunch.  We sat outside at Santo Tomas and ordered something to drink as we waited for the food to be served.  I ordered a Diet Coke and for some reason, a couple of bees loved my drink. They were diving for the glass and this is unusual for Diet Coke.  I threatened one of the bees and told him that his life was going to be short if he did not leave me alone.  Then, the waiter told us the food was ready.

When we returned to the table, we began to eat.  I was eating my vegetables and was loving them.  They have great salads and veges at the hotel. Well, something was real crunchy and had an ODD flavor and then it STUNG my gum.............I am sure I do not need to tell you what I was eating!  I tried to discreetly place the remains in my napkin and then Karen noticed something was not quite right. I kept my promise to him..........I shortened his life :)

The waiter was nice and brought me some ice and that helped. Later I took some IBU but my mouth was tender for the rest of the evening.  Another day.......another adventure!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Manuel, Gaspar and I went to Chuchipaca today.  We had a small clinic but had some good results.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned a 38 year-old lady that has had seizures for 18 years.  She had never been seen nor has ever tried medicine.  Well, she came back today and during this two weeks, she has only had two seizures!!  She said that these two were very mild compared to the ones that she use to have almost every day.  How exciting is this??

One lady returned and I am afraid that she has some type of cancer growth on her nose.  She has had it for over a year and it is continuing to grow.  She will go and see the surgeon in Chichi that we use.  Maybe she will have a biopsy done and I will be wrong.  I hope that for her!

In the afternoon, Karen came to visit us.  Karen is here in Guatemala and is working with the ladies in Chuchipaca.  Today, she had a meeting with them so she came by the clinic.  She was real pleased with the products that the ladies made.  I love the scarf that she had so tomorrow, she is coming to visit me in Chichi and she will bring the scarf to me.  I will post a photo so you can see the colors. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Diabetic Class and organizing in Lemoa

This morning, we went to Lemoa to have the first diabetic class and continue to organize the clinic.  Last week, Kemmel and the guys went to Guatemala City and purchased things that had been stored in a warehouse.  He was able to get a lot of things that will be very helpful in the additional rooms of the clinic.

Kemmel helping Martina, Maria and Maury clean and organize.  This is the area that Sandra and Maria will be working in.

This is the area that Gaspar and Tomas will be doing dental cleanings in.  Before the addition, they either did the cleanings in the lab or outside on the porch.

Gaspar and I had nine students for the diabetic class.  In this class, we discuss what diabetes is, who can have it and how if affects your body.  I always like to emphasis that this is not an illness that will go away.  Taking one bag of medicine will not cure you.  There were a lot of questions and discussion.

One man shared the story that when he talked to Lisa about the medicine, he asked her how long he would have to take the medicine.  He told us that Lisa responded with, "You will need to take the medicine until Jesus returns for us."    Her response left quite an impression with him and he continues to come to clinic every month.  Thank you, Lisa!

There were also questions about the use of insulin.  This is exactly what this class is for.  When there are 30 patients waiting to be seen, it is difficult to give sufficient time to each patient.  This gives them an opportunity to have all of their questions answered and to clarify things that they hear about this illness.  The education is so important to these patients.

Tomorrow, Manuel, Gaspar and I will go to Chuchipaca for clinic.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gospel Seminar in Chuguexa

The other day when we had clinic in Chuguexa, there was some serious preparation going on the the three days of meeting that the church was going to have.  Today, we saw it in action and it was a wonderful day!!

All of the local Churches of Christs were invited to attend.  Today, was our usual day of classes for the promoters so we cancelled our class.  During lunch, Tomas and Gaspar estimated that there were 800 people in attendance.

In the morning, there were two speakers and the topic was on doctrine.  A responsibility that we have, and a very serious one, is to only teach the Bible.  There are a lot of ideas and thoughts that are not Bible-based.  We have a responsibility to teach and only stand for truth but to do it with love and compassion.

Most of the activity was going on inside but not everyone could comfortably fit inside.

People had set up stands to sell fruits, flavored ice, drinks, chips, ice cream and snacks.

This is the kitchen area with people in line for food.  For breakfast, they served boiled eggs, beans, tamalitos and coffee.  For lunch, soup was served with tamalitos.

This is a group of ladies from the Paxot II area.

Kemmel made a few contacts through the day.  We found two areas that might be areas for future clinics. This is the daughter of one of the ministers, who is interested in a clinic in his community.

In the afternoon, the lesson was on the crisis of the offering. The speaker was very energetic and had some excellent thoughts.

It was a good day and everyone enjoyed our time together.  There is nothing like Guatemalan was a blessing to be able to participate in the day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

HTI Board Meeting in Antigua

Kemmel, Lisa and I headed down to Antigua to prepare for the HTI Board Meetings that will be this weekend.

It was good to see everyone again, since it has been two years since the board meeting was here in Guatemala.  It is exciting to see all of the work that is being done in the coastal area and here in the highlands. 

We are very thankful to be led by a board that is truly dedicated to the work and assure that the work is done by Christian principles.  While we have seen accomplishments, we are aware that there is still much work to be done.  We will strive to better and improve the work, while remembering the glory is His.

Harriet and Cynthia called the meeting to order.  Cynthia translated for Harriet, since there are many in the group that do not speak English.

Julie translated for David during his presentation.  David presented the activities of the clinics in the coastal area.  It was very exciting to hear of the teachings and baptisms that have occured near Montellano.

A true joy was hearing of how David's wife, Sonya, was recently baptized.  For those who have spent any time in Montellano during a surgical clinic, you will remember Marta, who places the IVs in the patients before their surgery.  She also was recently baptized.  These two ladies have heard the Christian teachings and also wanted to obey the gospel.  I know the angles rejoice with us.

Lisa presented the medical activities of the highlands.  She then introduced Ruben and Sandra, his wife.  Ruben spoke for a few minutes on the differences he has seen between Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Kemmel, ran the presentations and made sure we did not have any glitches.

These are a few of the Guatemalan HTI Board Members.

We heard presentations about the ABC Program and how it is growing. The changes that have taken place at Clinica Ezell and the additions on to Clinica Caris.

It was a long day but a good day.  Tomorrow morning, we will worship together and then later return to Chichi.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clinic in Lemoa

Today, we had a great day in Lemoa. We had 22 medical patients, with a wide variety of illnesses.

Lisa had one patient return with xrays and we scheduled her an appointment with Jennifer. Jennifer, is a physical therapist and has been helping in our clinic. She is able to educate patients on exercises and treatments that will help their illness.

We had several diabetics and most of them plan on attending the next diabetic class. The family that lives behind the clinic has had family members from New York and New Jersey visiting for a two weeks. One of the ladies came to the clinic to get some medicine before she travels home. She told me that she is a diabetic and when she is in New York, she has no problem controlling her blood sugar. When I asked her how it has been since she has been here, she just laughed and said, "Way too high! They eat so much rice here!"

After all of the patients were seen, we had a staff meeting. There are so many things that we need to talk about as the ministry grows and needs arise. It takes a lot of planning to keep things going and Kemmel does a great job of keeping us organized.

This weekend the HTI Board will be meeting in Antigua. Some of us will be going to Antigua tomorrow and preparing for the meetings on Saturday and Sunday, while others will arrive on Saturday morning. Please remember us in your prayers as we all travel to Antigua. We will be presenting information on the medical and dental clinics in the highlands. We will also present information on the educational programs that we have and how it has impacted the communities.

I know the board members would appreciate your prayers as they make decisions on how to better serve the communities and congregations that we are involved in. Health Talents is very much respected here in Guatemala and we always want to remember our share the love of Christ and to support the local congregations in their ministry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I think brakes are over rated :)

Today, Josue, Gaspar and I went to Chuguexa for clinic. We had a wonderful clinic with eleven patients. Of the eleven patients, eight were diabetics.

As Gaspar was taking one patient's blood pressure he said good morning to me. I turned and spoke to him and I remembered his voice from past clinics. I looked at this gentleman three times, trying to remember how I know him. Well, he is one of our diabetic patients that use to come on a monthly basis but has not been to the clinic for one year. He has lost 46 pounds and for this reason, I did not recognize him. My heart sunk.

His sons practically carried him to clinic since he now is unable to walk alone. He came to clinic today because he is always thirsty. He said that he has just been to busy to come to see us during this year. How sad. I am afraid that next month he will not be able to come to clinic. We asked where he lives because if he is not able to come, I hope that we will be able to visit him in his house.

Another lady, who is also a diabetic, has developed a sore on her ankle and it is very infected. She also has not been to the clinic in one year. We gave her some medicine, talked about the diet and encouraged her to come and see us in Lemoa if her leg is not better in 10 days. I am concerned that her leg will not heal well.

We had one lady that is pregnant but can not remember how many months along she is. Her midwife told her that he baby is not developing well so she is very scared. She thinks she is almost nine months but can not remember exactly. I was able to find the fetal heart beat right away and the baby is moving well. We offered to take her to the hospital or for an ultrasound but she wanted to return to her home. This is her 10th pregnancy and she delivered the others in her home without any problem.

Please continue to pray for our patients. So many have struggles that are very difficult and do not have many resources. I hope that when we return next month, the diabetics return and this lady will bring a healthy newborn for us to see. One thing is for sure, we will begin another round of diabetic classes in this community. The classes help increase awareness and remind patients of how severe this illness is.

The guys and I headed for Lemoa after we were finished with clinic. Kemmel wanted us to help with a few things at the clinic. As were were approaching Chichi, the brakes on the truck did not function. It caught me off guard........and I thought, "This surely is not happening!" I began to pump the brakes, geared down and was ready to pull the emergency brake right when the truck started slowing down. Gaspar had grabbed dashboard and the handle above the door, while Josue, in the back seat, just froze in position. The brakes slowly returned and I called Kemmel.

I felt bad for Kemmel since he always gets the calls of bad news about the trucks.......or about anything, really. We took the truck to our favorite mechanic or I should stay that we are his favorite customers since we give him so much business. But all is well and the truck should be fixed tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we will have clinic in Lemoa.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Clinic in Chuchipaca

Today, Manuel, Josue and I went to Chuchipaca for clinic. For a few different reasons, it was an exciting day for me. Manuel drove separate since he needed to go to Guatemala City from the clinic. Josue and I rode together and it gave us time to practice English. He is wanting to learn English really bad so we are tackling that with full force. I enjoy teaching English and it is exciting when you see progress. He is very bright and will learn quickly!

We had a good clinic of twelve patients. This is a good number to prevent you from being bored but also not feel rushed with each patient.

There was a wide variety of patients today. One young lady, 38 years old, came that has had seizures for 18 years but does not take any medicine. Her mother said she has them frequently but has never been to a doctor. We had another gentleman that has been coming to the clinic for medicine and he has not had a seizure for 2 years. I hope we have the same positive result in the young lady.

One lady came that is almost 34 weeks pregnant. She was able to listen to her baby's heart with the doppler and she was excited. I am concerned with her weight. She has only gained 2 pounds since her first visit. We talked about foods that were good for her to eat, and needing to remember that she is eating for both herself and the baby. I hope she will return in May for a follow-up visit

One community called me interested in beginning a Bible study for the ladies in that congregation. I look forward to hearing from them again.

After clinic, I delivered the wedding album that I made for Julia and Carlos. I took it to Sandra's home and we had fun looking at the photos. She and her sister liked the book so I told them that when they are married, I will also do the same for them.

This is the newest lamb at our clinic in Lemoa. I think it has the most interesting color combination.

It is now time to rest for the weekend. We have extra activities planned for next week and I will update you on those as we move along!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back to clinics...........

We are returned to clinics after having our Semana Santa holiday here in Guatemala.

Yesterday, we were in Mactzul VI . We had a small clinic but were told that the government had done a free program the day before and that the medicine was, that explains why we did not have many patients.

Today, we had clinic in Lemoa and it was a great clinic. We had 28 medical patients.

We had a patient come today that was referred to us by ASELSI, a clinic close to us. Cathy called me the other day and said a baby had been born with a cleft lip and palate and she told them to come see us. When I talked to Cathy, the baby still did not have a name but today she did. Her name is Jennifer.

Jennifer is only 4 days old and needs to grow quite a bit before we go to Montellano for surgery. If all goes well, Jennifer and her parents will travel with us in February 2013, to have her first surgery done at Clinica Ezell.

Yesterday, when we were in Mactzul VI, a patient needed glasses. She went through all of our glasses but could not find a pair that she liked. Well, she saw mine and told me how much she like I let her have them. Then I went through the box and found some that would work for me.

Well, today one of the children like my glasses so she wanted to try them on! They look better on her but I needed them to finish seeing patients the rest of the day.

Gaspar was with us most of the day and then he went to visit a patient in the hospital. He has been doing a lot of visitation in different homes and communities. Tomorrow, he has been invited back for a second visit. I think this is exciting.

We had many diabetic patients today and most of their blood sugars were very elevated. One new diabetic had a blood sugar of 365. We announced today when the next series of classes will begin and I think we will have a good response to them.

I invited several of the ladies to come to Chichi when we begin a new lady's Bible Study in May. I am hoping that some of the patients will enjoy attending that. The first class will be in May and that will be about good health in general. Then we will begin a study on discipleship. I am hoping that it will be an encouragement to new Christians and also an opportunity for the ladies to invite their neighbors.

Tomorrow, the guys and I will head to Choacaman IV for clinic.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A faithful patient

Today was my last clinic before Semana Santa begins. This week is huge in Guatemala so it prevents people from participating in other activities. I will enjoy a few days in Panajachel and Antigua........just relaxing.

I want to introduce you to Maria. She probably is one of the first patients that Lisa and Kemmel had when they moved to this area. She continues to come to the clinic and loves it. She lives several hours away but after being seen by Lisa, thinks the travel is well worth it! She and her son travel part of the way, spend the night and then finish the travel in the morning.

It is always good to have happy patients!

No Gaspar..........

This morning I went to the clinic and looked for Gaspar..........and he was not there. I told him that I was afraid he would change his mind and not come to see us. I know, Lisa has told me many times that I can not be a mother to the patients. I can not force patients to do things they do not want to do. I understand that but it does not take the hurt away.