Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Made the Excape on Sunday and Returned Today

Yesterday, Chichi was beginning to fill up and I wanted to make a quick trip out of town.  I took a tuk-tuk up to Chichi and then changed to a van. The van took us to Los Encountros and then a school bus  to the lake.  It was sunny and a warm afternoon for a boat ride across the lake. This is when we first arrived on San Pedro.  I walked to town and found a tuk-tuk to take me to my hotel, Cha-Yi. It was a pretty drive.
When I got to the resort, I was met by Lillian who manages the grounds. She asked me if I could do the steps amd I told her, sure!  There were 88 steps down to where my cabin was.  The cabins are arranged where you are not sure if they is anyone around.  It is very quiet and secluded.

It was early enough to step out and look for the town.  There are two resturant that I am interested in eating at.  This is the big Baptist Church, which has a great view from the top.  I could not find anyone to let me in so I will have to return.
This was a colorful painting with diferent communities on it.......................The majority of Guatemalan coffee is exported......here is mentioned San Pedro, Atitlan, Antigua, Coban, Huehue and San Marcos.

I have found my next place to live. It is peacful and calm.....what more do I need?  I should have called to see how much they wanted to rent the house boat for a month :)

I  usually wake up slowly and think about things that I need to do and how I will apccomplish them.  So, as I was thinking, I saw a furry, little friend on my pillow...........grrrr!  I think that was the fastest that I have ever jumped out of bed!

It was a good couple of days to get away and have different thoughts.

The Church of Christ will have have their meeings starting tomorrow afternoon and also on Thursday and Friday. I am looking at getting many things accomplished!

Happy Semana Santa!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Busy Week..........

This week has flown by!  It is hard to believe all that has happened.  We had busy days in Lemoa, with 31 patients on Thursday.  We had a typical diabetic clinic in Chuguexa with 21 patients.  The clinic in Mactzul I is growing and that is encouraging.  Today, we finished in Chuchipaca with 16 patients.

We will not be having clinic next week due to Semana Santa. It will be a busy week for many reasons.  The annual conference for the Churches of Christ will be held here in Chichicastenango.  I was told that they are expecting 10,000 people.

One of our sisters lost her battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday morning.  While she lost her physical battle, she has gained her crown in heaven.  She was a sweet lady in the Chichi congregation that Lisa and I had been visiting. She will be missed but I am thankful that she no longer is in pain.

When we visited their home yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk to her oldest son. While we no longer need to pray for Tomasa, please remember her son.  Mateo is not a Christian and has never accepted Christ.  I hope that during this time, he will reevaluate his life and make some changes if he sees the need.

I went by the cemetery on my way home today and talked to several members from different congregations. It was good to see people and to give a few a ride up to the market!

Let the events of Semana Santa begin...................as I make a quick get-a-way OUT of Chichi!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Quick Weekend in Antigua

It was time for me to get to Antigua and get the 90 day stamp for my passport.  I was approaching the date but there has not been much time to do it.  Jose, who helps me with my passport told me that there were 1.5 million people in Antigua today..........and I believed it.  This was the first time ever that I have seen port-a-johns brought into Antigua.

The parks were full, the restaurants were packed, the processions had started and alfombras were on all of the streets. About 6 weeks ago, Jose fell and broke his ankle and tibia.  He is healing slow and feels bad that he is not able to get out and help as he wants to.

The alfombras are made a different materials.  Common materials are colored sawdust, dried flowers, fruit, and pine needles. A huge frame is secured on the cobble street and the art-work begins. It can take several hours to make one.  When it is finished, periodically, it is sprayed with water to prevent the sawdust from blowing again and the flowers looking fresh.

This is one of the longest ones I saw today, in front of Jose's house.  When he told me the number of people that they expected today, all at once it felt as if there was not enough oxygen to breath.  hahaha.  It was very crowded.

This was a very interesting alfombra..........with a sculpture of bread at the bottom.  The colors are always bright and fresh!

This one was getting started.  They had just secured the frame to the street and put down the natural sawdust.

Then they slowly fill in in with teaspoons of colored saw dust..........and them slowly remove the frame.

This is the main cross in front of La Merced.  I wanted to go in to see if they have the usually fruit and vegetable display but it was so crowded that I could not enter.

This is only the beginning.  The real celebration does not begin until next week to if you are there, watch our pocket and pay attention to those around you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How long does it take to get there?

Today, several of us headed to Lemoa and several went to Chichi to do an ABC Clinic.

I worked with Dr. Neil today.  We saw several patients that were diabetic, a recently married couple, several people with gastric issues and one patient who had had an increase in his seizures.  I was really sad about hearing this so we will see what happens.

Sandra took some photos the other day as we drove to Chuicaca.  Now, for those of you who have been here before, one of the common questions is, "How long does it take to get there?"  And I usually respond with, "Well, it depends on what is in the road."  Most people think that I am trying to be fiunny but it is the hones truth.

So, I want to show you what some of our challenges were today.

That is Manuel ahead in the Nissan.  He had decent luck in getting around the shepherdess and her flock and herd.

I, on the other hand struggled.
The little lady strolled along with her sheep and cows.  Eventually, and I mean e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y   I made it though and around...........

It was a fun drive and I look forward to doing it again!

The Oklahoma Christian University headed to Antigua this morning.  We pray that they have safe travels and will want to return again in the future.

A special thanks to Dave and Susan for helping with the teams.  Also a special thanks to Kemmel, who always spends a lot of time preparing for teams and being sure that we have everything we need to make the clinics successful.

And as always, to God we give the glory!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Okalahoma meets Chuicaca

When a group of us arrived in Chuicaca, we did not have many patients waiting for us.  We quickly cleaned the building and set up clinic.

Not too long after we arrived, our friend came to visit us.  He was with us last month.  Manuel went with him outside to prevent him from taking our equipment when we were not looking.  I just love Manuel's smile in this photo. 

We saw about 8 patients in the morning and then had a little break.  Some of us walked to market to invite people to come down and see us.

We met one lady that was near her store.  She told me that she had to work but wanted to come for an eye exam..........I told her to come on down and we would see her right away.  She looked back at the people in her store, waved her hand high at them and yelled, "See you later!  I am going to the clinic!"  And off we went!

We had a sign for the clinic but wanted to attach it to the building.  Manuel went to buy some big screws to mount the sign with.  The ladder he borrowed was not tall enough so I offered to back the truck up and use that to reach above the door.

Manuel getting set up........

Getting into position..........

Tomasa jumped up and helped hold the ladder to stabilize Manuel.

The sideline coaching team!!  I joked with Cecy, Maury, Sandra and Maria on how with the road workers, you always see one man working and seven others just standing or sitting around and not doing much of anything!   ha ha ha   I am so glad that they do not mind my sense of humor.  These ladies work very hard and I enjoy working with them.

About 1:30, we walked up to where we have lunch.  It was wonderful as always!  Our main connection for this clinic talked to Manuel and I about children in the school that need a consult.  We wants us to see 25 of them next month.  We are more than happy to do this!  What made it even more special, was the man gave us enough money to pay for all of the consults!!  They are booked and will be seen in April.

I also talked to him about doing an IVAA/ Pap class for the ladies.  I asked several people about how many members they have here and the number varied between 200 and 350........so, we are looking at doing a class from 9am to 10am and then doing the regular clinic.  If we can get enough interest stirred, we will return and do the special clinic for them.  I am really excited about this opportunity.

When we were walking back to clinic after lunch, we saw a huge pig scratching his back on a wall.  Manuel decided that he would lend him a hand and the pig did not mind it at all!

Students spending some time with the children.  I think that this clinic will continue to grow and do well.  People in the community are interested and want to see it succeed.

We saw several patients that need surgery.  One gentleman has cataracts but needs to wait a little before we can schedule surgery.  One patient has a hernia and is thinking about having that removed.   One lady has three small masses in her uterus and wants to talk to a surgeon about her options. We scheduled two patients for IVAA in Lemoa.

Every day there is something to learn and I enjoy it very much!

Tomorrow, our clinics will be closer to town.......one in Chichi and one in Lemoa.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Busy Clinic in Chutzurop

Today, we had a very day in Chutzurop, with some very sick patients.

I look forward to following up with a lady who had a large abdominal mass and another one with a severe urinary infection.

Everyone made it back to the hotel in the late afternoon and we enjoyed a good meal together.

Today was Dr. Neil's birthday so the group of students surprised him with a birthday cake!  When the waiter asked how many candles we wanted, Susan suggested three.  Her thought process was one for the past, one for the present and one for the future!  It worked well!

Lisa told Neil that we would not push his face into the cake, which is more-or-less a Guatemalan tradition.  The kinder version is for the birthday person to take a bite of the cake........Neil was a good sport and played along!

Tomorrow, we will head out in three different directions.  Each one of them will be quite a drive but it will give everyone an opportunity to see more of Guatemala :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

OCC meets Mactzul V

 Last week, we had a group of Harding PA students.  This week we have a large group from Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, Oklahoma.  They will be doing clinics with us during the week.

Several of us headed out to Mactzul V today to do another ABC Clinic.  We stayed very busy and had a great day.

This is Laura checking in one of the first students.  Laura was part of the MET Program last year and lived with a family Mactzul V for a couple of weeks.

This is Debbie, Tomasa and Mario working with a dental patient.

Lisa, with a family in consult.

Aura and her patient.

After we had seen all of the patients in the morning, we set out to deliver some more water filters,  Lisa, Kemmel and I drove the trucks out into the community and delivered about 15 more water filters.

In the afternoon, the rest of the ABC children arrived. 

This is Tomas's son, Everaldo and Juana, his wife.  Everaldo is sponsored by Teresa, who is a friend of mine.  Every time I see Juana, she asks about Teresa. Everaldo has really grown a lot since he has been in the program.

It was a long day but it was good to see all of the children and patients.

Tomorrow, we will head out again into three different communities.........we will be in Xepocol, Saquilla and Chutzurop.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ABC Clinic in Mactzul I with Harding

Several of us headed out to Mactzul I to do an ABC Clinic.  We were encouraged that all of the children were doing well.  No one was below their expected weight.

After we saw all of the children in the morning, we divided into three groups and delivered some water filters to homes.  This is one truck packed up and ready to go.

This truck was also ready to visit some homes.

This is Brian and he visited in the afternoon with this little girl.  The story is, that Brian had made a house-call just days after she was born in her home in 2009.

This is Brian on March 2, 2009, making a new-born visit.

After clinic, we had a safe return to Chichi.............

The group will leave early in the morning to go to Antigua.  They will enjoy the day there and then fly back to the states on Saturday.  They have been a great group to work with and they have done a wonderful job.  Thank you and we hope that you will want to return for another visit!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Clinic in Xepol

Garpar, Kaitlyn and I went Xepol.  We had a decent day and ended up with nine medical patients.  The congregation had recently had an event and the building was still decorated with pine needles and they smelled good.

We sat and talked before the first patients arrived and then we had a steady stream.  Kaitlyn would start with the vital signs and then bring them over for the consult.

The one patient that concerned us the most was a lady that had gone to a national hospital for an infected tooth. She said that they never pulled it.  She lost a lot of blood and found out that she was pregnant.  She ended up severely anemic and received some blood.  After they took out her iv line, and she went home, the arm got red, hot and she developed celulitis. The day that she went home she also started bleeding.  She needs labs, ultrasound, IV antibiotic treatment.  We will see what happens with her.

Tomorrow, we will have two clinics.  One will be in Caris and the otherr one will be in Chichi.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ABC Clinic in Mactzul II

We took several trucks out to Mactzul II.  This is one of my favorite communities. I use to do a ladies class once a month here.  I wish that we could get it going again.

I want to introduce you to some ABC Children that we have known for several years.  This is Maria and is sponsored by my friend, Sally.  Maria started study to be a nurse but eventually decided to change curriculum's. Now she is studying office management and sees to really enjoy it.  She told me that she has two more years left to study.

This is Nelson and he is sponsored by Andrew and Mary.  They come down to Chichicastanango every year and help us with clinics.

This is the lead instructor, Gary, checking out a student's ears.  If I remember correctly, this is Gary's eighth time to Guatemala to help the Harding P.A. Students.

We took a quick break for lunch and had fried chicken with rice and tortillas.  Lunch conversation is always interesting.  Students told  us their  horror stories of when they did their psych rotations in school.

Tomorrow, we will head out in three different dirretions.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Clinics in Chuchuca and Xejox

Well, all of the Harding Group has finally arrived but not all of the luggage has arrived.  They had delays in travel due to weather and then that resulted in lost luggage.  They still seem to be in good spirits and ready for a busy week.

Kemmel and Lisa picked me up at 0530 and we left the hotel close to 0600.  Most of us drove up to the same area and split at the school. My truck stopped and jumped out for a quick photo.

This is Sandra, Kaitlyn, Kelsi, Meredith and Megan.  Sandra will translate for us today and the others are P.A. Students at Harding University.

A few people had time to get their hair braided...........Sandra was designated to do the job.  Having as many sisters as she does, it comes very easy for her.

I think we saw all of the ABC Children in this community.  We also saw a child that is not part of the program but we noticed a bad cough and he had a temperature of 103.7.  We got him started on some medicine before he left the building.

We were treated to an awesome lunch!  We had the greatest fried chicken, there was a plate of grilled steak, radishes, cucumbers, tortillas and papaya.

Kemmel said, "They are really treating us like kings!"

Outside of the building, this was the first time I have ever seen this done.  They took plastic drink bottles and covered the end of the wood so it would not rot.  If it does not stay wet from the rain, the wood will last and not have to be replaced as often. What a great idea.

 Everyone made it back to the hotel in time for a late dinner.  It was a great clinic. We did not see any children underweight.  We saw many who have improved their dental situation.  The education is slow but we are getting there.

I talked to Sandra about what she wants to do.  Before, she never was able to tell me what she wanted to study but today, she told me that she wants to be a dentist. I am excited for her and will do anything to help make this happen for her.

Tomorrow, we will have clinic in several places.  I will be in Mactzul II helping do an ABC Clinic.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Night at Lake Atitlan

I made a quick trip to Panajachel to check out a hotel that I have been wanting to stay at.  The problem is the time is very close to Semnana Santa or the Holy Week here.  The hotel is booked and so I am still looking for a place to spend a couple of nights.

I have contacted Monterrico because I really like it there but they warned me not to come.  They told me that there will be so many parties and it will take a week to clean the place up after everyone leaves.  So, I have two other places to check out.

This was the lake and it was a very beautiful afternoon.

I ate dinner on the lake and watched the sun go down.

The weather could not have been any more perfect.

In the morning, I will head back to Chichi. The group from Harding University will be arriving and we will be gearing up for a busy week.  It is always good to have new people come and participate in the work.  We will be doing both ABC Clinics and general clinics.  I will share photos during the week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Clinic in San Jorge.......and coconuts!

Several of us headed to San Jorge this morning.  For those who have been there, you will remember how hot it is.  The climate is not at all like it is in Chichi and most of us, prefer Chichi.

Martina called me early this morning and told me that her baby was sick and had a fever.  Her sister, Micaela has worked for us a few times so she went with us to San Jorge today. 

After we met up with Tomas in Quiche, we picked up Aura and Enrique.

We ended up with 10 medical patients and 8 dental patients.

When we had finished seeing most of the patients, I walked to the store to get us some Cokes and something to eat.  The morning had gone by very quickly.

As we were loading the trucks up, I thought I heard Aura say, "Sheri es loca!"  (Sheri is crazy!)  I did not hear her correctly............because she said, "Sheri, hay coco!"  (Sheri, there are coconuts!)  One small coconut had fallen to the ground.  We were just thankful that no one had been standing under the tree when it fell!  We would not want any patients with neurological problems :)

Aura with her coconut.  We tried to break it open but we were not able.  Aura took it home so she will be able to enjoy the milk.

We ended up with 10 medical patients and 8 dental patients.

There is a lot of road construction going on and we did not have good luck.  Twice today, we had to stop in the road to wait for them to reopen.......45 minute wait each time.

Tomorrow, we will have an ABC Clinic in Pacaja Xesic.  It is the community that Aura lives in and it will be a good clinic :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Clinic in Chutzurob and Jessica

As we left Kemmel and Lisa's home this morning, Kemmel gave us a mission to find a certain make of a plastic stapler.  We are beginning to put together the folders for the ABC clinics that will start soon.  Well, I found the right brand but it was metal........so, I opted for a different brand but a plastic one.  We will see how long it lasts.  It may be the last time that Kemmel sends me shopping :)

Things are really gearing up for the next few weeks.  During this time we will host two teams, have one intern visiting and then head into the Semana Santa or Holy Week. One group will be from Harding University and the other will be from Oklahoma Christian College. The students from those schools will go with us to clinics everyday and apply what they have learned thus far.  It will be a busy two weeks but a good two weeks.

We headed out this morning for Chutzurop.  The first week of February, Katy was down and she wanted to get a gift to her ABC Child.  Her name is Jessica and she is sweet.  Katy and I have been friends for several years and she has visited the Highlands a few times.

This is Jessica and her new backpack.  She and her mother were very excited.

We saw 12 medical patients and there was a variety of illnesses.

All of the diabetics were well controlled. We had one pregnant lady who is doing well.  Several children had coughs and cold symptoms.  One lady has had Bell's Palsy since December and she is still seeing some improvement.

When we finished clinic, we headed for Chichi...................it was time to have a late lunch or early dinner.

Tomorrow, I will be in San Jorge and hope that there will be several patients.

Monday, March 2, 2015

More babies post-op

We had a great clinic today.

The last two babies came for their post-up visit.

This is Eber and he had his palate repaired.  His mom told me that he is eating and doing well. He has not had any fever and he looked good.

This is Kenia.  This was her second time to have her lip repaired.  She is having problems again so we will cover her with an antibiotic and hope for the best.  Her mother is very sad about this, as we all are.  We will see what happens.

Please remember these babies in your prayers. 

One of Lisa's patients returned today.  He is having prostate problems but he is feeling better. 

Most of the diabetics looked good.  A few had really lowered their blood sugar and I hope that they continue.

Tomorrow, we will have clinic in Chutzurob.