Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Clinic in San Jorge

This morning, I met Nick and Andrea in front of Hotel Santo Tomas and we headed to San Jorge.  Nick is a 3rd year medical student and Andrea is an ICU Nurse.  They are here with us for a week and helping out in the clinics.

We stoppped and picked up Martina and Micaela in Sepela and then met Tomas, Enrique and Aura in Quiche.

San Jorge was as hot as usual!  We took turns running to the store across the street to buy Coke, water and Gatorade.

This is Nick with one of the patients.  She is not want to take deep breaths so her mom is on the side coaching her along.

We saw one young lady with a 6/6 heart murmur.  This is the third patient that I have run across this month with a significant murmur.  She was suppose to be seen in the capital a few years ago but never went.  We talked about posibilities, so we will see in May what she and her family thinks.

Before we left the clinic, I noticed that a tire was looking low. I was told the closest place was about 15 minutes back toward Quiche.  We just drove slow and made it there without any problem.  We could not find a reason for the leak so the guy told me that probably someone had played with the stem and let the air out. I guess that is a I gave him the dollar that he wanted and we were on the road again!

As soon as we got back on the road, Micaela passed out.  I think that Aura and Martina just worked her too hard! At least she had a soft shoulder to lay on.

Nick and Andrea will fly back to The States tomorrow.  We pray that they have safe travels and will return for another visit!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Clinic in Chutzurob

We had clinic today in Chutzurob.............and what a clinic it was!

When we arrived, there were 17 patients waiting.  That is a very manageable number so I was not rushing at all.  When I finished with the 17, I had no idea that 10 more patients had arrived..........because of that, my time management skills were very poor today.

We have a new diabetic patient that is only 28 years old.  She was not aware that she has diabetes and had lost 35 pounds since January.  Last month was her first visit with us and her blood sugar was 304 but today it was 112.  I was so excited for her! She has gained a couple of pounds and feels much better!

We had two pregnant ladies that came for check-ups today.  I was a little nervous that one might deliver during the clinic, but whew............she did not :)  She is due in a day or two so she will probably have her new baby with her in May.

This mother brought her baby to clinic today........

They do not get much cuter than this.........

After clinic, we went to Lemoa to unload the truck.  As we arrived in Chichi, we got so excited to see that the pavement was slightly damp!  It had rained a little.  It is something that we need very badly. It smelled so good and the heat was steaming off the pavement.

Tomorrow, I will be in San Jorge.  Sarah will be going to Guatemala City so I will do her clinic :)  We will have a good day and I hope that we have a lot of patients.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Enjoying a Sunday

This morning, I hopped a bus to go to Quiche for worship.  There were close to 50 people in the morning service. 

It is really an encouragement because when I first moved here in 2007, there were only 10-15 people for the morning worship.  In the afternoon, you need to arrive early to be sure to have a seat as it fills up quickly.  They have now purchased land and are planing on rebuilding.  This is always a good problem to have to deal with.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Class and Funeral

This morning, I met with a group at the Chichi Church of Christ to talk to them about English Classes.  Some of the children are struggling with their English Class in school.  So, we are looking at studying once or twice a month to help them improve their grades.

There were 17 students and they were very interested.  They had questions and participated. They will bring their homework and books from school so we will have some direction on what they need to study. It is always a challenge to get the more timid students to talk in class but they all did well.

Yesterday, Lisa told me that Micaela from Mactzul I had died. Lisa had been following her for quite a long time. This afternoon, Kemmel called and told me what time the burial would be so I headed up to Chichi.

When I got to the main road, the family was driving by so they allowed me to ride with them to the cemetery.  There were at least 200 people there.  They had several pickups and a bus.

This is the family of Micaela as they are preparing to enter the cemetery. 

Sebastian from Mactzul V shared some thoughts before the burial.  It was very difficult to hear him since there were 5 ice cream vendors and they were all ringing their bell.  It was very hot so the ice cream sold quickly. 

As Sebastian talked, I thought of.....

Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It is interesting to think of that crowd of witnesses.......the people who are cheering us on to victory. When we first think of it, it may just be a crowd of people with faces unknown to us.  But as we continue through life, those unknown individuals begin to take on a face of someone that we have loved.

We know that Micaela is among that crowd now.  She was a faithful Christian lady who taught her children the importance of Christ in their life. What a reunion we all will have some day!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The School That is No More

Well........this is where the school USE to be!  Today was the second time this week that there has been some serious changes.  I pulled up to the area, looked at the people in the truck and we wondered what was missing.

This is a photo that I "stole" from Lisa and Kemmel's blog.  This is the old school that had been standing here for years.

And after many years, this now is how it lies.

This is a photo of the side of the new school, when we joked about it being the junior high parking lot.

Now, all that is parked here is the tile from the old school building.

We had a good clinic today but it was a small one.

The sky is full smoke from several fires in the area.  We can definitely see four separate fires in the distance.  We are hoping that we get some rain soon.

One of Lisa's patients came that needs surgery.  She will be followed in Chichi for one of her surgeries on Sunday  For the second surgery, she will travel to Antigua.

As I was waiting for more patients this afternoon, I watched this man carry his firewood up the hill.  You can see how dry the fields are. What a struggle for this man.

When I talked to Lisa today, she told me that one of her patients died either yesterday or this morning.  She had been seeing her for several months and from time-to-time we would take medicine to her home. She is a Christian and had suffered a long time. I know that her family is sorrowful but Micaela is now at peace.  Please pray for this family as they deal with their loss.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

IVAA/ Pap Clinic in Patzibal

This afternoon, we had an IVAA/ Pap Class in Patzibal.  Sally, a friend of mine lives there and she has a clinic once a week.  She enjoys working with pregnant ladies and teaching the midwifes.

Today was exciting for me because Sandra translated for us into K'iche'.  She was in the ABC program and then continued to study to be a teacher.  She will soon have her teaching license and be able to work as a teacher.  She is also interested in continuing to study to be a dentist.

There were about 16 ladies in the class and before we finished, 11 had signed up for the clinic.  We will look at doing the clinic in August, after Sally and Erv return from visiting their family in The States.

I do not have a photo of us today but this is a photo of Sandra and I last October.  She has done very well and am so proud of her!

Sally and Erv, thank you for the invitation!  Have a great time with your family and when you return, we will sechdule the clinic.  Stay safe on your travels!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Encouraging Clinic in Chuguexa

The clinic area was full when we arrived!! 

Enrique, Cecy and I quickly set up and started seeing patients.  This is the clinic that we have a large population of diabetic patients.  We saw 29 patients and 9 were diabetics.  What is so encouraging is that 11 of those patients were new to the clinic.  The word continues to spread...........

I was very pleased with the blood sugars.  One new patient was 491 last month and today she was 208.  Yes, she needs to improve some more but this is a good start for her.  One patient started a few months ago with a blood sugar of over 500 and today was 97.

We also had another new patient today that has been using a foley catheter for 3 years.  He goes once a month to Solola to have it changed.  He needs to have prostate surgery but the doctor in Solola told him that he is not healthy enough and would die if they attempted surgery.  This is not the best way to live but he is more comfortable. 

This was one of the little girls that we saw.  She did not mind the exam too much but she was ready to go when we finished :)

Tomorrow, we will have an IVAA/Pap class in Patzibal.  Sally, a friend of mine, has a clinic there and she has invited us to present this class. We will see how many ladies sign up for the clinic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Clinic in Mactzul II

Today, I had the opportunity to do clinic in Mactzul II for Sarah.

Sarah is in Santa Cruz today with Maury, Cecy and Enrique doing IVAA/ Pap exams for the ladies there.  They have 30 ladies scheduled and will provide care today for half and then the remainder on next Tuesday.

This morning, I went to Zepela to meet Micaela.  Her sister, Martina, usually works with Aura but today Micaela will fill those shoes.  It is a great opportunity for her, as she wants to continue her education and study to be a dentist.

When we arrived in Mactzul II, we thought that someone had STOLEN the church building!!  When we made the turn and found the barren lot, I just stopped the truck!

Well, first thoughts are not always correct..........and we found out that they tore the building down and plan on rebuilding in June. It will be a 3-4 year project........slow but sure.

This photo was taken in 2013 when we had another clinic here.

We had a good clinic and stayed busy.  There were 11 medical patients and 12 dental patients.

For lunch, we took a short break and enjoyed chow mein, tortillas, chili and lemonade. Kemmel would have LOVED the chili........sorry, I ate your portion!

We had a variety of patients.  One young girl had a ganglion cyst on her wrist.  Several with general aches and arthritis. One girl came home from school with a 103.2 fever.  One mother brought in an ultrasound from her daughter and will follow-up with Lisa on Thursday.

This is Aura and Micaela with their last patient of the day.

Tomorrow, a few of us will head out to Chuguexa and I expect we will have a lot of diabetic patients.

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Clinic in Chuicaca

We started a clinic a few months ago in Chuicaca.  It has been slow in getting going but good things have happened!

Last month, the minister from the Church of God, asked us if we would see 22-23 children from the public school.  He told us what great need there is and that he would pay for all of the consults.  We welcomed his idea and looked forward to our clinic day.

As we were wating to get the key to open the building, here come the students and teachers!
We had 23 students come to the clinic.

I also talked to the teachers about doing an IVAA/ Pap class in the school.  They were really excited about it and will call me if we can schedule it.  All of the mothers and teachers would be invited.  How exciting is that??

This is Cecy checking in some students.

There is definately a great need in this community.  Only one child told me he has a toothbrush.  I asked the teachers about that and they told me that it is probably true. After today, the promoters talked about what a blessing our ABC Program is to children and the community. Hygiene is a problem here and we need to do a lot of education.

Maria, our dental assistant taking a little girl's temperature.

Sandra had an opportunity to talk with some families.  She is also wanting to do some dental education.

There were two students with heart murmurs.  I will follow-up with them and their parents at the next clinic.

Manuel distributing medicine to a lady that we also saw in March.  It is nice when patients and happy with their care and return the next month.

I think that good things will be happening in Chuicca!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our Friend, Sarah

Today, one of my friends was buried.

I am often asked if I miss living in the United States and usually the answer is no.........but at times like this, it is difficult.

It is a reminder of how short, fragile and unpredictable life is. Sarah was only 45 years old and died in a tragic accident.  It is a horrific circumstance that leaves her husband, Rick and her children to deal with.  Many questions are left unanswered.

While Sarah and I never had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together, the time that we shared was important and I cherish it.  She had a wonderful personality, great sense of humor, never spoke ill of anyone and would not participate in gossip.  All are qualities that I admire and respect.

Sarah told me on many occasions that she wanted to continue her studies and become a nurse. This would allow her to participate in more Medical Missions.  She had a heart of gold!

She and Rick visited Guatemala in 2010, with my parents. We had an ice cream celebration with all of our ABC Children.  This is Rick and Sarah with Paulina.

When I visited NC, Rick and Sarah were always at the dinners in Morganton and Winston-Salem.  They understood and appreciated the work of Health Talents International.

Sarah's death leaves me speechless and in shock, as it does everyone.  But knowing that she is a Christian, a baptized believer, gives me the assurance that we will spend eternity together.  Sarah loved the Lord and she would want you to know that.

This is the last photo that I have of us............taken in January before I returned to Guatemala.

The world is full of tragedy and pain but it is not our home.  I believe that Sarah is one of those people mentioned in Hebrews 12:1.  She is waiting for us and she is cheering us on!

Monday, April 13, 2015

We Need Some Rain!

Today, we had clinic in Lemoa.  It was a good day with 23 or 24 patients and I think that Enrique had about 9 dental cleanings.

It was early afternoon when we noticed the air was full of smoke.  Kemmel called and told Tomas that we needed to drive the long way home because the forest was on fire near the clinic.

By the time we finished with patients and cleaned, the traffic on the road was much heavier so Tomas offered to go and talk to the firemen. They said that it  was OK to pass so we gave it a try.

Sandra was with me so she was able to take photos as we drove through.

In some places the fire was 3-4 feet high and on both sides of the road.  I felt bad for the firemen because they do not have any equipment to work with. As we drove, we could feel the heat from the flames.

Several kilometers were burned and continued to smolder.  It is just a rough time of the year since everything is so dry and it burns quickly.  I am surprised this does not happen more than it does when farmers burn their fields to prepare for planting.

We all made it home safe and it is just another story to tell from Guatemala............

Tomorrow, we will be in Xepocol.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

OK, So I Am Not a Farm Girl!

As most people know, I was not raised on a farm, nor in a big I accept full responsibility of my last post!

It is not the first time that my dad has helped me with my animals.  Thank you, Dad!!

So the animals that are waking me up in the morning are goats and not sheep.

It reminded me of Matthew 5, where the goats will sent to the left and the sheep to the right.  I can probably say, it would not be safe for me to do the seperating!   Oh well..............

My parents proof-read my blogs and I do appreciate it.  Sometimes I make some pretty funny mistakes and I would like to keep the uproar to a minimum.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Do I Really Want Sheep?

Since moving to Guatemala, I have always wanted some of my dream jobs it to become a shepherdess.  About a month ago, my neighbors brought three baby sheep home.  They were so little when they first arrived but they have grown quickly.

It use to be the cows, dogs, chickens and cats that would wake me up every morning........but now it is the sheep!  I guess I have learned to live with the cats jumping on my tin roof and hearing their nails slide around on it.  

I did not realize they could be so mischievous!  This one is pulling the clean laundry off the line!

We have restarted clinics after Semana Santa and so far, they have gone well.

It is nice to have Kemmel and Lisa back with us.  They were with the Eastside Church of Christ for a week on a mission trip. Welcome Back!

Sarah also went on a quick trip to visit her parents in El Salvador and she is also back! Welcome!

With everyone in place, we can accomplish more!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Conference Continues!

This morning, I went up to the conference to see what was happening.  The field was loaded with buses, vans and cars.  It was great to see so many people.

I heard Voces Acapella sing and they sang some of my favorite songs. I talked with several of our promoters and their families.  There are groups from the capital and coast that are here too.

The last time the conference was here, it was in 2006.  I had only lived in Guatemala for about 2 months before the conference.  At that time, I lived in Santa Cruz and it was held about half a mile from my house.  I did not know many people yet and somehow, I ended up helping cook.  I really enjoyed it and it was amazing how they prepare food to feed thousands of people. I had never used a boat oar to stir coffee with :)

This morning, many people asked to be baptized. This is the group before they left.  Someone told me that they were probably going to the pool in Sepela. It is a pool not too far from Chichi and just last week, they added a water slide.

We had a little rain in the afternoon but not much.  Maybe it will hold off until next week.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The 50th Year Church of Christ Conference Starts!

Today, begins the 50th Anniversary of the Church of Christ Conferences!  It was chosen to be in Chichicastenango this year and the preparation has been going on for several months! I was told that they expect about 10 thousand people each day from all over Guatemala. It is only a few blocks from where I live, so I will check out to see what is going on.

There are lots of activities in the town due to Semana Santa.  I had told someone that this will the be the place to buy honey.  The streets are blocked off to, there are more bees than there are vehicles.

It is amazing the containers that people use for the honey.......soft drink bottles, whiskey and wine bottles and even ones that they use for vinegar.

It is a week that really puts our diabetics over the edge.  During our last clinic in Chuchipaca, I asked all of the diabetics to please be careful this week.  We will see what happens :)

San Jorge Clinic with Nick and Andrea

This morning I picked up Nick and Andrea and we headed to Santa Cruz to meet everyone.  Nick is a 3rd year medical student and Andrea works in ICU.  They have been with us a week doing clinics and unfortunately will be returning to The States tomorrow. They are already planning their future return!

We picked up Martina and her sister Micaela in Sepela.  We met Enrique, Tomas and Aura in Santa Cruz.  We had an uneventful drive and we are always thankful for that.

Pedro and some patients were waiting for us when we arrived. We quickly set up and started seeing patients.

We had a few diabetic patients and a few with cold symptoms.

Anyone who has ever been to San Jorge knows how hot it is there.......not just warm, but hot.  We took turns walking to the store across the street buying Cokes, water and Gatorade.

This little girl did not want to breath deep so Nick could listen to her lungs.  She watched her mom and then finally got the hang of it.

We also had a young woman with a 6/6 heart murmur. She is about 20 years old and studying in school. She was told a few years ago that she needed to go to the capital for a consult but did not go. I talked to her for awhile on options that she has, so we will see next month what she ways.

Before we left clinic, one of the tires started looking pretty l-o-w.  I told there was not a place to have it looked at before about 20 minutes on the road. We made it safely there, inflated the tire and did not see anything wrong with it.  They suggested that a child had played with the stem and removed some of the air. I was just glad to be back on the road.

While there were not many medical patients, there were quite a few dental patients.  Michaela callapsed when we were on the road.  I think she passed right out! She is lucky to have the shoulder of Martina to relax on!

It was a good day.........several home to get a few things done.