Saturday, March 30, 2013

Semana Santa Continues in Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango was full of tourists today.  There was a lot of shopping and celebrating going on. 

This is one of the alfombras or carpets that was below the Catholic Church.  They are made with colored sawdust, flowers and pine needles.  They are sprayed at intervals with water to prevent them from drying and blowing away.  Then the procession or parade walks over them............and then they are cleaned up.  That is the life-cycle of an alfombra!

It was a beautiful day to be outside and wait for the activities to begin.

One of the restaurants, displaying their decorations.

As I had mentioned before, it is common to see mannequins hanging that represent Judas.  Someone had propped this "guy" up to watch the activities. 

Never lose an opportunity to make some money.

Anyone for some cotton candy??

It was a very warm day, so I am sure the ice cream vendors had a profitable day.

After tomorrow, things will be back to normal.  Chichi will be calm again :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Parades in Chichicastenango

Today, there were a lot of different activities and parades in Chichi. It was a pretty day, as you can tell by the beautiful Carolina Blue sky.

The streets were packed as the procession came down the street and entered the Santo Tomas Catholic Church.  This is a "float" or carga, that took 30 people to carry.

Then, they carried it up the steps of the Catholic Church.  It was very obvious that it was difficult to carry up and get inside.  They must have made three attempts before they finally entered.

During Semana Santa, it is common for people to hang people over telephone wires or above doors that represent Judas.  This was hanging above the door.  The large man represents Judas and the child on his back, represents his son.

When I walked home in the afternoon, I talked to the shepherdess ladies and unfortunately, the baby lamb died.  They are very sad and I can understand because there was nothing that we could do.

Tomorrow, there will be more activities.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Not a butcher but a shepherdess!

For those who have been down to Guatemala, you know that I want to be a shepherdess.  For those of you who read my blog the other day, you know I do NOT want to be a butcher.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on my porch and drinking a Dr. Pepper in the sun.  The weather was just right to have one........very warm and sunny.

As I was enjoying the afternoon, I heard my two shepherdess ladies pass by my house with their flock.  I remembered some medicine that I brought back from The States for the oldest lady since she has problems with her knees.  I ran inside to get the medicine and then went into the field across the street to give it to her.

In the meantime, one of the baby lambs had fallen down and could not stand up.  They told me that he was dehydrated since the sun was so hot today and the fields are dry.  She carried it over to wall that provided just a couple of feet of shade.

I went back to my house to get the lamb some water and stopped by the store to get two bottles of water for the ladies.

When I got back, she had made a pillow for it's head with the cloth that they carry on their back.  She gently put water in it's mouth and dampened it's face.  She talked to him the whole time.  If she stopped talking to him, he became restless. He was gasping but at least was swallowing the water.

I sat with them for a few minutes and then finally returned back to my house. I looked for them today but did not find them.  I am sure I will see them in a few days and see what happened with the lamb.

I know there are a lot of references in the Bible about shepherds and sheep.  These ladies have about 25 sheep in their flock but when this one lamb was sick, they did not think about any of the others.  This one, was the most important at the time.  The sheep knew the lady's voice.  When she stopped talking to him, he became restless.  He was aware that she was caring for him. I felt bad for the lamb but also sad for the ladies.

Yes, I could be a shepherdess!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What NOT to be........a butcher!

Today, I accomplished a few things.  I cleaned my house a little, worked on some projects, visited Magda in Quiche, went to see what was happening in Chichi and picked up my turkey.

This is the large Catholic Church, as they are preparing for three days of celebration.  The parades will start tomorrow and the crowds have already started to gather.  I can not tell you how many containers of honey they are selling in the streets.  I will have to get some more photos tomorrow.

I have been wanting to buy turkey for a long time but it is just not an easy thing to do.  So, the other day, I walked through the market asking where to buy one.  One lady offered to sell me one but it would be alive.  Well, I do not have the interest in killing and plucking it myself so, I asked her to do it for me.

When I went to pick it up today, I was not prepared when I opened the bag. I had not thought about all of the extra parts!!

I cut the head off, cleaned in inside out, put the feet in a bag and carried them to my neighbor lady.  I knew she would know what to do with the "extras!"

I know I do not want to be a butcher in my next life!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday in Antigua

Things are much calmer today than yesterday.  There is only one small parade tonight.  People are resting after yesterday and getting ready for the rest of the week.

This is the arch street.

The security is greatly increased in Antigua this week.  There are armed police every couple of blocks. There are several large groups of military men walking through the streets.

This is the only parade of the day. It started at 6pm and passed by the park about 8pm.  These people started the procession.  Not wanting people to know who they are since they are going to be arresting Jesus.

The police and military watch as the parade continues.

This is the procession as it rounded the corner.  It takes 30 people to carry this cargo.  The largest one will need 100 men to carry it.  There are also some that children and women carry. It is an honor to help carry one and people pay to participate in the processions.

They rock the cargo from side to side to make it easier to carry.  It finally made the turn.

At the end of the processions, there is always the clean-up crew.  They carry shovels and brooms to clean up the mess left behind by the people in the streets.

Antigua will be busting even more later during the week.  This is just the start of the week-long celebration.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Travel to Antigua

Well, it is time to get my passport stamped again.  It seems like I just returned from The States but it is time for another stamp.  Kemmel, Lisa and Sandra were going to Guatemala City so I rode to Chimaltenango with them and then got on a minivan to complete the trip.  Everything went real well.

Antigua is packed with people from all over the world.  Semana Santa draws enormous crowds of tourists and television crews wanting to film or write about the events. 

There was one parade today and it was a small one.  As the week continues, the parades will grow.

This is one of the enactments that are happening all week.  This is Christ talking to people in the market.

As Jesus was talking, this lady was crawling to reach Him.  He reaches down to heal her but the problem is, it is the Sabbeth.  The man is very upset by it.

The man wants nothing more to do with Jesus. Jesus goes on to talk to him, as we read about in the Bible.  

Later, Jesus asks that the children come to Him.

He continues to draw crowds as He teaches.

The people follow Him and want to learn more.

The whole week is full of these enactments......they will continue with the arrest, freeing of Barnabas, the crucifixion and the resurrection. 

This is the inside of La Merced. The women are at the tomb and Christ, no longer is inside.

There is always a presentation of fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants on an afombra or carpet made of sawdust and flower petals.

The parks are full of venders.  Yes, it looks like a carnival.

I always wonder if it was the same way at the actual time of the crucifixion.  People out to make some money off the crowds as they gather.  People have not changed.

I will be in Antigua for two nights and then return to Chichi.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Clinic in San Jorge

We had the clinic in San Jorge today.  Lisa called me this morning with a slight change in plans and we rolled with it.  Enrique, Cecibel and I left Quiche about 8am and we headed for San Jorge, which is always warmer than Chichi.

When we arrived, people were waiting for us and that is a welcomed site.

Two weeks ago, we had the clinic in the church building and today it is in Anna's house.  It is always very kind of her to open her home to us to have clinic.

This was the prize patient of the day.  She came to see us two weeks ago since she wanted her tooth pulled.  Her son came with her to clinic, as she can not talk but she is able to hear.  When the promoters asked about her medical history, they were told that she is diabetic. They checked her blood sugar and it was 523 and her blood pressure was 170/90.  Marcos opted not to pull her tooth and so she came across the room for a consult.

We talked about medicine and her diet.  She seemed to understand well and her son was very helpful.

Today, Maricela's blood pressure was 120/70 and her blood sugar was 144!  She felt much better and hopefully, can get that tooth taken care of.

After all of the patients were seen, we sat on the porch and talked to Pedro.  He is a member of the church there and always helps with the clinics.

As we were talking, they delivered some feed for the animals.  It came in huge bundles that needed to be taken off the the truck and stored on the side of the house.  I had always wanted to see if I could carry one, so we jumped up to help!  Enrique, Cecibel and I all grabbed a bundle and carried them.  They are not heavy at all.  Now, I know that I can carry one in the future when I am a shepherdess! I wish that I had taken some photos.

As we continued to sit and talk, we had some visitors.  It is the dry part of the year right now and there is not a lot of water. The tubs on the pila is rain water that they have collected to use at times as this.  Well, this cow came around the corner to see what we were doing.

In the pink and white container was cilantro.  The cow slowly ate the cilantro and we watched.  It was like no one really knew what to do.

For lunch, we had wonderful fried chicken, beans, salad and tortillas.  It is unusual to be served a lettuce salad but it was great!  During lunch, I said to Cesibel, "I wonder why we do not have cilantro on the salad?" is our secret :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Best of luck to Ruben and Sandra!!

This afternoon, we all met at Caris to wish Ruben the best as he continues on.  He has been with us for a very quick two years and now it is time for him and Sandra to return to Nicaragua. We wish them the best of luck as they continue to study medicine!

Gaspar presented a gift to Ruben and thanked him for his work and service in the communities.

Manuel wishing the best to Ruben.

Cesibel, also wished her best.

As Kemmel mentioned, this is probably the only photo that we have of all of us together.  As we have grown, so have our schedules and responsibilities.

It was emotional for all of us as Ruben has become part of our team.  We wish them the best as he begins a residency in orthopedics and Sandra begins her residency in anesthesiolgy.  I remember the day that we received word that they had passed their entrance exams.

Best of luck and many blessings!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunday in Chichi

Yesterday, Sandra and I went to worship together in Quiche.  The morning congregation continues to grow and that is encouraging.

The message was very good and on how the Bible can change your life.  He opened his message with the question, "Are there some people that the Bible will not change?"  If you answer quickly, without thinking much about it, you think, "No, the Bible changes everyone."  The correct answer is the opposite.

The Bible will only change and affect people if they allow it to. God created man, with the ability to think.  Man has ability to make choices.  Some people have made the choice that they do not want to believe in God or trust in His word.

The Word is powerful and does change people, if they know what the scriptures teach and let it lead their life.  He talked about people who read the Bible and apply it in their life.  How much time do we actually spend in meditating on the Bible?  Reading and meditating are two different things.

Even under the Old Law, people were instructed to meditate.
Joshua 1:8---- This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

How much more today, we should want to understand the teachings of Christ.

So, which Bible looks like my Bible?

To be able to meditate, think or apply it.......we need to read it.

 Again, just something for us to think or meditate on.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

ABC Education in Mactzul I

This morning, Cesibel, Cesar and I went to Mactzul I for a day of ABC Education.  If you have been able to read our blogs, you will know that we have begun the sexual education classes in our communities.  The classes have gone real well and we have had good attendance.

Cesibel translated for me today and she did a wonderful job!  I had no doubt in her ability but I knew that she was nervous.  She did great!  We had between 17 and 25 people in each of our classes.

At the end of the first session, the young girls get the opportunity to color.  Cesibel with two of the girls.

Even the mothers want to color.  When we finished, all of the girls brought me their papers to look at.........and even the mothers did too!

Two more girls enjoying their time.

I slipped over to see the guys and Cesar was getting ready to finish his first session.

 I always encourage questions in our classes.  Sometimes, people have questions and sometimes not.  There were a couple today but not a lot.  The mothers did verbalize their appreciation for these classes since they know that this is a topic not addressed by many parents.

It was a beautiful day!  The skies were a beautiful Carolina blue!

We enjoyed lunch together and then headed back to Chichi.  I took advantage of the nice afternoon and did laundry.

In the morning, Sandra and I will go to Quiche for morning worship.  I think it will be a restful weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Harding meets Mactzul II

We did a few clinics today.  Our group went to Mactzul I and we did an ABC Clinic.  We had a full day and I was disappointed that I did not get more photos.

This is Chibuzo, taking a temperature on one of the ABC Children.

This is Manuel.  He translated for us this week.  It is good to have access to him, since he is able to speak English, Spanish and K'iche'!

This was the Harding PA group before they left.  We pray that they all have safe flights!

Tomorrow, we will have education in Lemoa with all of the health care promoters. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Harding meets Xepol

Today, we had 5 was a busy day for Health Talents.

I took just a few people to Xepol for clinic.  When Arianne and Christal jumped in the truck, I left it was deja vu from yesterday.  I teased them about this being punishment that they had to put with me two days in a row.

We started our way to Xepol and we picked up Cesibel on our way.

We had patients waiting and that was a good sign.  Our first patient was a regular patient with diabetes.  Her blood sugar was a little better.  Here, she is with her grand daughter and Christal.

Victor and his family came to clinic today.  This was his little brother sleeping as Victor and his mom had their consults.

The new church building is making progress.  I do not think that the windows were finished the last time that I was here.  It is coming along good and the members are so excited it has been almost three years since their church building was destroyed.

Tomas always helps us with the clinic.  His parents came to clinic today and it was nice to meet him.

We wanted to get a photo of Arianne, Tomas and Christal.  Of course the girls smiled and Tomas gave us a Guatemalan look.

When the girls saw the photo, they wanted to give a Guatemalan look and that is when Tomas decided that he wanted to smile.

We stopped in Los Encuentros and ate our lunch.  Yesterday we bought pineapples for each group and also some avocados.  We enjoyed those with our chicken. 

When we got back to Chichi, I went and bought some watermelons and papaya for the clinics that we will have tomorrow. 

Tomorrow will be our last clinic with Harding.  It has been a great week and I look forward to tomorrow.