Sunday, September 30, 2012

Worship in Quiche

This morning, I went to Quiche for worship.  When I first moved to Guatemala, this is where I always attended.  They have two services on Sunday and it is very close to where I was living at that time.  The morning service, use to be very small but it is growing!  In the past, there would be 10-12 people.  Today, there were fifty!  The afternoon service is busting out the walls and doors.  If you do not arrive early, it is very difficult to find a chair.  It is so encouraging to see the body of Christ growing.

A few months ago, I mentioned a man who had been bit by a rabid dog.  Usually, in this circumstance, the patient does not live. This man was very lucky and had services available to him.  He was sent to Guatemala City, to a big hospital, where he stayed for several weeks.  He has returned home and his hand looks very good. I know he and his family are very thankful!

This gentleman, Fransisco, preached this morning. His topic was titled, "What are you?"  The correct answer for Christians is, "I am different."  Christians should be different from the people of the world.  We have Christ and the Holy Spirit in us.  The Bible states that our body is the temple and we are one in Christ.  No matter what our circumstance is, no matter where we are......we are not alone.  What a great comfort that is, especially in this world. 

I talk about this a lot with patients in our clinics.  This world, and all of its problems is temporary.  Christians, and only Christians have the hope of eternity......hope of a new body.......hope of a new home.  We need to look forward to seeing Christ face-to-face.  How tragic, for those who do not have this hope.  We need to be strong and willing to share our faith and the love of Christ so that more people will have this hope.

Psalm 62:5-8
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and salvation; 
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depends on God!
He is my mighty rock, my refuge,
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him, 
for God is our refuge.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chuchipaca clinic

Lisa, Kemmel and I went to Santo Tomas this morning to see Cheryl before she left.  She is doing good.......well, except she has a really bad cold.  Hopefully, she will get a handle on it and feel better.  She has a lot to do before she goes to Tanzania.  We pray that she has safe travels and that she is able to serve there for a long time!

Josue and I made our way to Chuchipaca.  We had twelve patients.  There were several diabetics. There were three patients with epilepsy. These three patients are very controlled and have not had seizures for several months.

Josue drove back to the highway. He did a great job and I hope that he gets his license soon.

A quick update on the little baby that we saw in La Palma onThursday.  I called his father and he told me that the baby is doing better. I am so thankful for that! 

I will stay in Chichi for the weekend.  Tomorrow, I will worship with the church in Quiche.........

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day in the office

This morning, Cheryl and I went to the office.  This is Cheryl's last day with us and she will return to The States in the morning.

One thing, that we have been wanting to do, is paint a white-board on the wall in the office.  Josue and I sanded that area down to make it smoother.  Then we marked off the area that we would paint.

Cheryl and Josue measuring the wall and making sure it is level.

We put down two coats of latex paint and then 3 layers of the white board. It is centered in the room and it looks good.

We will see how it works.  We should be able to use it in two days.

This evening, we went to Casa del Rey for dinner with Pat's group.  It is always good to see them and to hear about the work that they are doing.  We hope that they have safe travels home and will return to see us again soon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Clinic in Panajxit

This morning, Cheryl and I made our way to Quiche.  We hopped in with Tomas and rode out to Panajxit.  Enrique lives in near where we have clinic, so he met us there.

We had a small clinic of 8 patients.  I have been out here for the last three patients so I am beginning to get to know the regular patients.

We saw one lady who found out several weeks ago that she has diabetes.  She returned today with a blood sugar of 111.  I was excited for her.

When we finished clinic, we rode to Enrique's house.  Now, yesterday, you may remember my blog saying that I felt La Palma was the prettiest place in Guatemala........but look at this view!  Today, I think Panajxit is the prettiest place in Guatemala.  How would you like to look at this view every morning, as you had your coffee? I know I could!

Last time we were here, Enrique had a new calf.  We had looked around for it but it had hid in the cornfield.  Today, it was out where we could see it!

The neighbor also had a new calf at the same time.  They are going to remain best of friends.  Cheryl laughed at me as I waited for them to pose! The one on the left belongs to Enrique.

Louisa prepared for us a wonderful meal of fried chicken, rice and tortillas.

It began raining hard as we drove back to Chichi.  Tomorrow, we will spend the day in the office preparing a wall to apply a white board.  It will be great to have a large one in the office.  You will have to check out the photos.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back in the saddle.........

After returning to civilization and back in Chichi, I am now back in the saddle.  Kemmel was kind and gave us Monday to rest after the weekend.  On Tuesday, we did a small clinic in Patzite and today we are in La Palma.

I think La Palma is one of the prettiest areas in Guatemala.  But then again, any area I am in, at that moment, I think it is the prettiest. Makes me sound a little fickle, doesn't it??  ha ha ha

So, this is the view from where we have clinic in La Palma.  This is the view behind the clinic.

This is the view in front of the clinic.

We saw 12 patients today.

We had a very sick child in the clinic with really bad pneumonia. The mother had taken him about 5 days ago to the health department and received an antibiotic.  I was so thankful that the mother brought the bad of medicines with her.  This is unusual, and again, I was so thankful. 

This baby had been given an antibiotic, double the strength and for 6 days! The baby weighs only 14 pounds and is a year old.  This baby had no muscle for the injection. The baby was also receiving two different bottles of cough syrup that is the same medicine. We changed the medicine around and the mother knows if the baby is not better in just two days, she needs to take him to the hospital.  She said that she and her husband had already agreed on this.  I will call them in a few days and see how the baby is.

When we finished clinic, we went to visit a lady in her home that is not able to get out of bed.  She has been in bed for almost two weeks. Her lungs are clear, no cough nor any problems with her throat or ears.  She has had fever, pain on urination, is really dehydrated and her heart is beating really hard.  We prayed with her and her family and left her medicine.  Hopefully, she will be feeling better in a few days.

We continued down the road and ate lunch in the road.  A couple of ladies were very kind and made us some chicken soup and some tortillas.

We walked down to where the church meets on Sunday.  We want to talk to the congregation about the classes that we will be having in the near future on sex education.  I presented it as a class for the whole family........everyone should be involved.  The information was received well and positive comments were made. 

This is a new concept here in Guatemala.  When Lisa asked the health promoters if any of their parents had talked to them about how their bodies were changing or what to expect as they matured, not one promoter had parents who talked to them.  It is part of our educational program to help parents be able to talk to their children hygiene, balanced diet, good health and now sexual education.  No mater the topic, is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children.........and we are wanting to help with this.

Education is slow but we are starting the process.

Tomorrow, we head to Panajxit.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back on the rader and the return to civilizationn

We were up about 0600 and prepared the room for clinic.  We enjoyed breakfast this morning and had a few minutes to spare before we started clinic.

Cheryl and I walked down the road to take a few pictures.  These two bulls watched us, as we watched them!

These were the pigs at the house that we ate breakfast at yesterday.  They also watched us, as we watched them.

We started clinic at 0800, knowing that we had many patients to see.  We talked last night about setting a limit so we would not cause problems in the community.  It just makes it very difficult when medical teams go into a community and do see all of the patients.

We saw over 85 patients before we left.  We handed out 85 numbers but each person had a few children or a spouse with them.  It was a repeat of yesterday.........many under weight children, people with worm symptoms, adults with general aches and pains.

Gaspar and Jeff sitting with patients and we get ready to leave for the day.

When we were packing up, dental still had a lot of patients to see.  This group will return to Guatemala City, as we return to Chichicastenango.

The dental team posing with great energy!!  

This is a photo of our whole team before we left.

We had another good drive home.  This area of the land-slide is just phenomenal. It is huge!

With the van in the road, you can see how deep the road is cut.

It was a beautiful drive.

We returned to Santa Cruz about 6pm.  We dropped Josefina off and then took Gaspar to Chichi so he could get a truck home. 

It was a really great weekend!  We are thankful for safe travels. I enjoyed our time together and it is always nice to meet new people and see new parts of Guatemala.  I am hoping that we will be able to go back at some point and do some education in this area.  It is so important.  I love being in the areas that are poorer.  There are no churches in this area......there is so little here and so much work to be done! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Off the map and radar in Guatemala........

OK, who needs sleep???  Last night the guys who patrolled the area kept us awake with their talking.  When I finally was asleep, I barely heard the other group arrive.  I was told that they arrived around 2:00 AM.  We are thankful that everyone arrived safely!!

Josefina, Sandra and her mom Sandra.  I love the cap that Sandra slept in since it is very cool here.  Sandra's mom, Sandra is giving me a "wake-up" stretch.

The cots are very comfortable so it was a good night......just not enough sleep.

We now have Sandra's mom, sister Gaby, Randy her brother-in-law and several friends that went with her to dental school.  Our team is complete and ready!!

We carried all of the clots to another room and set up for clinic.  Then we walked down the road for breakfast.  We were invited into the home of man in the community that is known for his witch-craft.  He puts spells on people, performs magic and they pay him for his services.  He and his family are very nice and we enjoyed a breakfast of beans, a slice of grilled beef, tortillas and coffee.

We walked back to the school to begin the clinic.  Jeff talking to the patients before we begin the day.

Patients waiting for the dental and medical clinic to begin.

Cheryl, talking with a family and Sonia translates into the Poqomchi'.  It sounds like K'iche', with many similar words. The difference here is that they speak a purer form of the Poqomchi' language.  In the communities that we work, Kiche' and Spanish are combined.  Here, I hear very few Spanish words.  This tells us that the people in this community do not travel or have businesses in other areas.  They are very isolated.

Gaspar praying with a family after the consult.

Josefina, teaching a family.

We did not have a pharmacist, so we bagged out own medicines after the consult.  Then we returned to give instructions on the medicine.

It was a busy day but a wonderful day!!  The guy that organized the patients did a superb job.  We saw over 160 patients today!

The health of this community is very poor.  There is a great need for hygiene classes.  I can not tell you how many families had scabies.  Guatemala is known chronic malnutrition, but here there are many acute cases.  Many children are several pounds underweight, with worms. Many children are without shoes and have distended abdomens.  

Dental also stayed very busy with 90 extractions, 30 dental cleanings and 50 fluoride treatment.  I am very excited for this community!  To have 30 dental cleanings is quite and accomplishment for a new community!  The dental group stayed very busy.

The dental team had problems with the generator toward the end of the day.  The community did not want to cancel the clinic for Sunday morning, so they went out in search for another generator.  They were able to find one, so the dental clinic will continue!

When we finished, it was dark so we ate by candle light again. We had eggs with hotdogs, beans, tortillas and coffee.

We were all pretty tired tonight since last night we did not get much sleep................back in the flannels and sleeping bags...................good night!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Off the Coban and San Cristobal

Sandra, our dentist asked a few of us to accompany her and a group to San Cristóbal for a couple days of clinic.  The success of any medical/dental group is the planning.  Kemmel, prepared his Pathfinder for us to drive and we really appreciated this.  Cheryl, Sandra, Josefina, Gaspar and I headed out about 9am for our trip. We would meet the rest of the group there.

Sandra, our dentist, during our travels.

Josefina, who many of you will remember.  Since I was driving, my camera was still packed in my backpack.  I "borrowed" Cheryl's photos.     You can check out her blog for more photos and more of the story!       

The drive was beautiful and we had good weather for the travel.

The area is very mountainous.

We were even able to catch a glimpse of a rainbow.

Then, we came upon an area where there had been a big mudslide.  There area is still a total wreck.

Some areas were difficult to pass through.  This child is trying to "patch" the road with his shovel.

We saw one machine but no one was working.......but of course, they charged us to pass through.  We had to pay 25 Q to pass and then when we returned, we had to pay again.

We finally arrived and it was dark.  There is no electricity or running water here.  We will hold the dental and medical clinics in a school.  They have cots for us and sleeping bags. We set up the room when we, Sonia, Cheryl, Josefina, Sandra and Gaspar.  Gaspar and the guys stayed in another room, where the dental clinic will be held.

It was about 6pm and the men from the community had prepared dinner for us.  As I mentioned, we had no electricity so we ate by candles.  The dinner was very good.  The remainder of the group would arrive a few hours later.

With no lights and not a whole lot to do, we decided to go to bed was about 8pm.  We wanted to be ready bright and early for the many patients that would arrive.  We have been told there will be between 300-400 for 1.5 days of clinic!

It is nice sleeping weather and I am glad that I brought my flannels!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Clinic in Chichi and preparing for Coban

This morning, I am continuing to do Ruben's clinics since he is still in Nicaragua. Tomas, Enrique and I unloaded the truck.  We had a busy clinic today with 19 patients, with many of them being diabetics.

All of the diabetics were out of control.  Only one was below 200, with the others being above 300.

For lunch, we walked across the street to a small diner.  We were served a good lunch.  The lady from the church told me that she usually prepares the lunch for the clinic but that today she did not have time.  I asked her what she usually likes to prepare.  She responded as a good wife would, "I prepare what my husband tells me to prepare."

After we went back to finish the clinic, we had a patient that was real concerning.  I think he has tuberculosis.  He has a hard cough with grey sputum, he has night sweats and has lost 20 pounds in less than two months.  He told me that he would go to the health department tomorrow.  I sure hope that he does.

Also, one of the ladies talked to me today about continuing the Ladies Bible Study in Chichi. I am excited about this so we will talk more on Monday.

Tomorrow, a group of us are headed to Coban with Sandra, our dentist.  She is heading up a medical/ dental group and we will have clinics for two days.  In our truck will be Cheryl, Sandra, Gaspar and Josefina.  We are told that we can make the drive in 4-5 hours..........we will see.  Sandra says there will be about 300 medical patients and I think, 400 dental patients.  Those are some big numbers!!  We are up for the adventure!

In the map below, you can see where Coban is from Chichi.  It is a little more north-west from where we live. 

There is no electricity or running water where we will be having clinic.  So, I will have to fill you in when I return.  Please pray for our safe travels and that we will have everything that we need to provide good care to the patients there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!

Mom and Dad, Happy Anniversary!

I am so excited for you guys............may you have many more years of happiness!

Thank you for all that you have done for Mike and I.......especially for a Christian home!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another clinic in Chutzurob

This morning, we made our way to Chutzurob.  It was a good day with Josue, Manuel and Cheryl.  Cheryl is a nurse, who has visited Guatemala several times.  She is here for two weeks to help us in the clinics.

We had a wide range of patients today with diarrhea, cough, fevers and muscular aches and pains.

This mother brought her son in to see us today because for two years he does not like to eat, does not enjoy school and his teachers say that he will not talk.  They denied any physical problems.  The more we talked to the mother, the more we found out.  Two years ago, her husband went to The States to work.  Also, during this time, her sister died from cancer.  These two years have been painful for Cristofer.

When I started talking to him about school, his dad and his aunt, he and his mom started to cry.   When I asked him if he was sad, his little head just bobbed up and down.  What a difficult and traumatic situation for this child.  As Cheryl and I talked on the way home, we know Cristofer is thinking that his mom is going to leave him too.

Cheryl got Cristofer to laugh for this photo.

This is Sebastian, who always helps us with the clinics.  His grandson is also names Sebastian.

On August 21st, Sebastian and I visited a young man in his home and I blogged about him that day.  Today, I found out that he has died.  His final medical report said that he died from Tuberculosis, pneumonia and stroke.  We tried so hard to get him to go to the hospital but he would not.  He was only 24 or 26 years old.  Such a sad situation...................for everyone.

Tomorrow, Josue and I will head to Xepol together and hopefully, have a lot of patients.



I hope that you have a wonderful day and we will celebrate in December!

My best friend, thank you for everything that you do for me!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Guatemala, Happy Independence Day!!

Today, Guatemala celebrates it's independence!  The freedom came on September 15, 1821 from Spain.

The activities started yesterday and continue through today.  The streets were blocked with traffic and parades.  The parades marched through the streets and finished at the soccer field.  Many schools were represented and many departments of Guatemala.................each group had a different theme and music.  This group was singing a popular Guatemalan song, including hand motions.

So, how do you decorate a truck for a parade?

Any way you can!!   Each truck carried a generator and a speaker system.  Remember, we like our music LOUD here in Guatemala!

This truck was covered with mini-pineapples.  It was hard not to snatch one off!

This school included a group of professions.

Here is the medical group........nurse, anesthetist and doctor.

This group was doing acrobatics. When their leader blew the whistle, they stopped, made their formation and waited until the whistle was blown again.

This group was very creative!  Their dresses and umbrellas  were made out of Doritos, Lays, Tortrix and Nacho bags!

Too bad they can not find a way to re-cycle more of the trash here.

If there was a prize for the most energetic person, this guy would be the winner!  His group had paired-off and were dancing.  He decided to go solo.........he was dipping and waving his hat to the audience while kicking up his heels!  He would wave his lasso to the crowds until he finally ran out of gas!

This group of youngsters were carrying their cars.  When the leader would blow the whistle, they would stop and construct their cars.

I can read these kids minds......."If I hear that whistle one more time..........If I have to put this car up again for one more parent........."     They were NOT excited at all!

FINALLY........................I can sit down and drink something!!

The more I hung out in the soccer field, the more venders congregated!  They were selling ice cream, cokes, chips, cotton candy.......and the air began to smell of fried chicken and fish.

It was time for lunch, so I found a tent that was cooking chicken.  A plate included........chicken, rice, french fries, salad, tortillas and a Coke for    $3.00!! 

I am already looking forward to September 15, 2013!!!