I was expecting parades today so it was Sunday that surprised me! When I left my house, the streets were full of people sitting, waiting, buying, drinking, eating and talking........sounds like my English Class on "verbs in action." They may be waiting but the vendors are in action!!
I jumped into the Despensa real quick and I liked it!! There was only one other customer and myself shopping. I could tell the employees were bored :)
When I came out, the parade was slowly, slowly moving down the street.
When I saw this group, I hoped that they had not inflated all of these balloons without a tank. There were hundreds of them!
It was also easy to see that the teachers were having more fun than the students!
Then we had some students dressed as Traditional Guatemalan Dancers.
Every parade needs some twirlers!
I took this photo for my brother, Mike. These are the Guatemalan Firemen. My brother works for the Fire Service of North Carolina.
It was a nice day for a walk up to Chichi and back home....................and today should end all of the festivities until the election on the 25th of October.
When I left my house this morning, I did not expect to see all of the activity in the streets. I know what to expect on the 14th and 15th but the celebration had started early!
I got in a minivan and fully expected to make it to Chichi but after 3 blocks, I had to jump off, walk a couple of blocks and then take a tuk tuk up to the hotel. The road was blocked off due to a parade that would start soon.
Everyone had some place to go!
I went to the hotel to get Linda and Sandra. The parade had started but was very slow in movement! We were able to duck into some stores and then catch up with the parade.
It is nice out patriotic most Guatemalans are. Many still remember and talk about the civil war that spanned from 1960 to 1996. They do not take for granted their independence which was declared in 1821 from Spain.
We left the parade to jump into a bank to get some money.........
and then caught up with the children who were doing a hula-hoop routine.
These are some of the huge kites that fly on November 1st or The Day of the Dead. In Sumpango, they fly kites that range in 2-20 meters in size. It is a huge day of activity and celebration in Guatemala. These are some of the smaller ones but very colorful.
Every parade needs some princesses.
When we had enough of the parade and crowds, we stopped in the vegetable market to get a photo.
It was soon time for lunch and then worship with the Chichi congregation.
Linda and Sandra will be leaving at 0630 in the morning for Guatemala City. They will have the day to rest there and then fly back to The States on Tuesday. It was good to have them come and visit and to see the work here in The Highlands. We pray for their safe travel and look forward to their next visit.............which will be in Febuary for plastic surgery :)
It has been a busy week but a great one!! Things have calmed down a little after the elections and we will see what happens on October 25th, when the second election occurs. On Wednesday, we had a full clinic in Chuguexa.
On Thursday, I went down to Montellano to meet up with Linda and Sandra. Linda has made 11 trips to Guatemala to help in the surgical clinic but this is the first time she will travel to Chichicastenango. Sandra is her sister and this is her second trip to Guatemala.
On Friday evening, we had dinner with Lisa and Kemmel. It is always good to catch up with them. They will be heading to Guatemala City tomorrow, in search of some things that we need.
Our clinic today was in Chuchipaca. I had some specific patients that I was looking for but they did not come to visit us.
This is Sandra, with a daughter of one of the patients. She is also Cecy's niece.
One quick photo after we loaded the truck.......Sandra, Manuel, Cecy and Linda.
After we finished, I told Cecy that we would like to visit her grandmother. Her grandmother is the lady who was baptized a few weeks ago. She has been very sick and not able to get out of bed. The lack of mobility is hard and causes more problems. We prayed with her before we left and then returned to Chichi.
We had lunch at Casa San Juan........we thought a late lunch of burgers was in order. Then we went out to Lemoa to visit the clinic. I knew we were having some work done at Caris but was surprised at the amount of people there. I learned there was going to be a community meeting about the water so that explained the number of people.
Then we went to visit the Mayan Sacrificial area below the cemetery. I like to take people to visit places and to see the market.
We finished later in the evening and it was time to rest a little...........tomorrow we will do the market, make a lot of purchases, have lunch and then worship with the Chichi congregation.
Guatemalteco headed to vote on Sunday. The streets were crowded but the actual markets in Chichi and Quiche were small. This is only one area in Chichi, where people were allowed to vote.
Jimmy Morales won the first round but he did not win by 50% so there will be a second election.
Jimmy is a comedian, with no political experience. He is weighing heavily on, "not a thief, not corrupt."
On October 25th, he will run against Sandra Torrees. She is the ex-wife of a former president. While he was in office, they divorced so she could run for an office of political power. People divorce for many reasons and I guess that this is just as good of an excuse as many.
People are concerned that neither of these two candidates will move the country in the direction that it needs to go. One voter was quoted for saying, "It does not matter which one will win. Whoever wins will rob the counry."
Today was Samantha's last clinic with us. She went with Lisa and the others to Mactzul I. She has been with us for about a month and in the morning, Mario and Sara will driver her to the coast. She will join a surgical team there for a week before she heads back to The States
Mario and Sara hosted a meal for us this afternoon and it was soooooo good. Mario grilled steaks and they had great flavor. It is not very often that you can eat steak this good!
So this is the group of Health Talents as it is now. I think back to the day when it was just Kemmel, Lisa and Gaspar.
So from left to right: Petronila (student), Maury (administration), Aura (dentist), Manuel (health promoter), Mario (volunteers with HTI), Cesar (works with ABC Program), Tomas is kneeling (health promoter), Enrique (health promoter), Kemmel (director), Lisa (MD), Cecy (health promoter), Martina (dental assistant), Samantha (PA student), Maria (dental assistant), Sandra (dentist), and Sara (MD). That is our family!
Samantha and I before I left. I had contacted someone that wanted to buy another water filter so I left a few minutes early.
Tomorrow, we will have another English Class in Chichi.
The presidential elections will be on Sunday. There are 14 candidates and there will be a secondary election if one does not receive more than 50% of the votes. We will see what happens.
Sandra, Cecy, Manuel and I traveled today to Xepocol for clinic.
We had a few patients and safe travels.
There was some extra time today so Cecy was able to take advantage of it. Cecy went from promoter to patient. She needed a cavity filled and there was opportunity. Maria changed her role as a dental assistant to dentist and Sandra went from dentist to teacher.
The only down-side of having a filling done before lunch, is that it is difficult to eat. We were served a wonderful chicken soup and Cecy was able to eat the soft vegetables.
Later, we packed the trucks and headed to Lemoa to unload some equipment.
When we passed through Sepela, there was a huge political campaign! There were 5 police/ transportation people to direct traffic. It was amazing the number of trucks and people there!
As I have mentioned before, we are in the middle of hug political problems. On September the 6th, they will elect a new president. Usually, there are two elections and I am ready for this to be over with. People are nervous, roads have been closed and people are not sure what will happen next.
I am Sheri Kretzschmar and I am serving in Guatemala with Health Talents International. I am a nurse from Winston-Salem, NC and currently live in Chichicastenango. We are working with the local Churches of Christ as we conduct mobile medical clinics in the surrounding communities. It is our prayer that we will share the love of God and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus.