"The $400 collected (by Loyola students) will significantly change the lives of these two boys!! Thank you! The things we take for granted in our lives and the good we can do with some forethought and effort is amazing." - Rich
Last Day of Clinic
Today we went to Totalya. There are three communities that are all together- built after the communities were destroyed after flooding and mud slides from hurricane Stan. Two communities came from fincas (coffee plantations) and the other was a pueblo. They were all built next to each other but maintain their separate identities. We went out with a group of PA's from Utah. We all did clinic together. We saw about 65 patients today including one house call.
There were several touching stories today. Rich saw a 4 year old boy who has a heart murmur from a hole in his heart. The family has been told that he needs surgery, but they can't afford the transportation or surgery. Gaby and I saw a 58 year old man who got caught up in the mud slide here 8 years ago. His ear got cut off in the rocks and debris from the houses as he was being swept down the mountain. He had a lot of trauma to his chest and other areas. He was in the hospital for 4 years. It's a miracle he survived. We understand on one level that we are fortunate that we haven't had to endure such adversity. At times though I find it's difficult to remember this and truly realize this.
Mary and Mackenzie were keeping the pharmacy completely organized (I was able to sneak back behind the pharmacy table once). Carissa was checking blood sugars, helping with knee injections and pitching in anywhere else she was needed. Emily was checking in patients and getting a chance to use her Spanish more. Rich continues to be the leader in clinic and the "go to" person for any issues that come up. Gaby and Bridget continue to do a stellar job of translating including words like sneeze (esturnodar) and other esoteric gastroenterology terms that I was trying to get them to translate.
We packed up to leave for Antigua tomorrow. We went out for drinks at the Toliman restaurant and talked about our experiences for the week.
Emily is totally hot for Juan Carlos.
Clinic yesterday was great. The location was good for a bigger group of providers and staff. The people came who had significant issues and it was wonderful to see our team truly care for each one as an individual. We were able to adjust our clinic to work with the PA group and show them some of the things we have learn from so many good ideas previous groups have come up with to make our clinic run more smoothly. I particularly enjoyed today due to the multiple Obstetric patients I got to see (as well as a couple of well child checks). The patients loved to hear their baby's heartbeat with the Doppler we brought.
There was a lull midday and there happened to be a soccer field across the street (with grass) and we got to play a game with the kids. Mackenzie, Emily and myself as well as Dr Moco himself-Jesus Antonio played. He was laughing and running like a school boy! I could have played all day.
Bridget worked with Jesus Antonio to arrange for the money collected by the Loyola high school throughout Lent to help two children who need surgery. The first Pat talked about above the second was a boy I saw the second day with recurrent left ear infections and drainage. On exam, he had a fairly large ear drum perforation. This is easily fixed in the States but here getting to and from Guatemala City costs $100 and the consultation is $100. That amount is insurmountable for the families here. Fortunately, once they are evaluated the surgery is free. The $400 collected will significantly change the lives of these two boys!! Thank you! The things we take for granted in our lives and the good we can do with some forethought and effort is amazing.
I could see on this trip the Parrish has made strides to help with accountability and all the communities were prepared for our visits. So the preparation of MDP and Bridget really made a difference in our trip and therefore in the lives of those we served.
We will spend the day in Antigua today. Unfortunately, the drive has been cloudy and so we did not get to see the majestic views of the volcanos that surround the town. I'm sure we will enjoy it just the same.
Thank you for your love and prayers,
We went up the mountain today to a beautiful village named San Gabriel. It was very picturesque. The area of the village had a level area with a great deal of crops - corn, coffee and an unknown tree with a yellow/orange fruit. The clinic had two rooms and an el baño. People were lined up when we arrived. They wore the classic weepil Mayan outfits (more than the other towns). The women were proud to talk about the weaving they had done.
We saw about 40 patients but many cases were more complicated. The translators had to really work for their “pay” today with a lot of translation into Cakchiquiel (the Mayan language). When discussing depression or abdominal pain it can be confusing, but is so important to get right. Bridget and Gabby's brains were near exploding!
Our two nurses – Carissa and Mackenzie along with Emily went on a house call to treat a whole family for Lice. They went a long way into town to a home of a family with a clay house. It had a tin roof and ducks as pets. The Mom was developmentally challenged. The grandparents cared for the family. It left a lasting impression on those who went.
Tonight we will dine at the Hotel Toliman. It has great food and the best Tortilla soup this side of the international time line. Yes we are roughing it.
Our team has formed into a well-oiled machine and we have allowed our individual personalities to come out and have been laughing and teasing each other about almost everything. It has been fun to see near strangers with a common cause become good friends in such a short time. It shows what God can do when we allow Him to work with and through us.
Thank you to all of you at home who are praying for us and supporting us!!!
Hola desde Guatemala! Today's blog is brought to you by Mackenzie, Gaby and Carissa, so we apologize in advance.
Today we took a day off from clinic for a little down time and to enjoy the people of Guatemala. We gathered together for an all-Spanish morning mass at 7:30. (So early!) The music was amazing, with a choir and live band!
After enjoying breakfast with the new medical group from Utah, we got into a boat on Lago de Atitlan and off we went to San Antonio de Palapo and the surrounding villages . This particular village was situated on the side of the mountain. We walked up the steep streets in a zig zag fashion and encountered many street vendors, where Gaby's gullibility was taken advantage of over and over again. After Mary bought something from every person in the village, and Mackenzie tried out a hairstyle popular with the locals (and demanded they remove it immediately), we then headed off to Santa Catarina.
We found more trinkets to buy even if we didn't really want them. Rich, aka Ricard, used some quick thinking to get out of buying something he didn't want, by using Carissa as his stand-in wife and saying he must follow her. We then enjoyed a delicious meal at the beautiful Hotel Santa Catarina. After lunch we again got into the boat and were ready to head off to Santiago when we discovered we were missing a member of our team. Our group leader, Bridget, was late because she was haggling for a good art deal.
In Santiago we saw the place where Father Stanley Rother was martyred. Emily, the animal lover, learned a very important lesson today: do NOT pet feral dogs. This was our last stop and it was good to see that the friendship between Dr. Ricard and Dr. Patricio continued. The two were so caught up in their conversation, they forgot their package in a store and had to run up together to get it. We returned home to our hotel after a 40 minute boat ride and were able to relax for a bit.
We are having a fabulous time here and we have been blessed with a great group. Along with being able to work as a cohesive team during clinic, we have been able to spend some great time together laughing, playing card games, and having a few cervezas. The weather is beautiful here in San Lucas and we don't want to leave, but it will be great to sleep in our own beds. We will be home safe and sound in a few short days, as long as Carissa survives her scabies.
On our first day of clinic we were able to make a few house calls. I always enjoy the opportunity to go into the homes of the people. It is very special. This time we were asked by a young man to come and check on his mother. The house was a shack made up of tin walls and a dirt floor. There were no windows, one bed, a wood burning stove, one pot, one cup.....the elderly woman was so weak that she couldn't' move very well. Dr. Pat was able to give her some meds and some electrolytes to get her re-hydrated. Before she took her medicine she slipped out of bed, onto the floor. I was startled. Then I saw her make the sign of the cross, say a prayer, and take her medicine. "The meek shall inherit the earth."
Yesterday we held a clinic in San Andreas Nuevo. This small community is so cool. The clinic was full of Mayan women and their children. Most of them were speaking in Caquikel and many of them shared the same last names! Dr.'s Pat and Rich were busy all day and we didn't stop for lunch. Our friend and leader Jesus Antonio was able to identify people in the community with special needs and it was a very successful day.
Today we had a clinic in Qixaya. We were in a small building made up of four separate rooms. The people from the pueblo came and waited patiently in line for their turn to see a doctor. It was very hot and humid out and no air was moving in the building but everyone remained positive and worked hard to serve the people who came to us.
After about 24 hours of travel, we arrived safely yesterday afternoon to San Lucas Toliman, a town of about 27,000 people in Guatemala's Western Highlands. San Lucas is located on Lake Atitlan, largely considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. We were delighted to discover that our accommodations, the Hotel Iquiatiu, overlooks this massive body of water, and mountains and volcanos surround us. Our drive from the capital of Guatemala City gave us a wonderful introduction to the landscape, colors, industry and general way of life here. The three-hour drive and initial arrival into San Lucas was nothing short of breathtaking.
After getting settled in, we reconvened at the San Lucas Mission, the Catholic church and school affiliated with the New Ulm Diocese. At the mission we will eat our meals and gather for reflection and fellowship. There are a few long- term volunteers here that gave us an overview of the inner workings of the mission. We also enjoyed a delicious meal of meatloaf and roasted potatoes. A few of the veteran volunteers were lucky enough to see some friends both old and new, and exchange stories of the work they've done in hopes of bettering the lives of the local population. It was generally an early night to bed for all. Many of us operated on only five hours of sleep and so hit the hay around 8pm. There were some barking perros and a rainstorm during the night that woke a few of us, but for the most part it was incredibly restorative sleep.
We were early to rise this morning and met on the roof of our hotel at 7:30 to say a prayer and make our plans for the day. We ate a breakfast of eggs and beans at the Mission and then all piled in the back of a Ford pickup truck with our medical supplies. After a few quick stops to pick up more meds, we arrived in San Juan Mirador, a small village about 1/2 hour from San Lucas. We set up shop and quickly found our groove. Getting a system down and learning how one another work took some time, but what we discovered will only help us run more efficiently in the days to come. We saw about 57 individuals, mostly women and children, but several men too. We gave out several pairs of eyeglasses and distributed medication for gastritis, aches and pains, and administered antibiotics. Some of us were also welcomed into homes to see patients' family members that we unable to come to the clinic. Our providers described it as humbling and saw it as a privilege to be invited into these local homes. The people were patient and friendly as we aimed to give the best quality care. We closed up the clinic around 4, having seen everyone in line.
We grabbed an ice cream treat at Parma dairy factory afterwards and headed back to San Lucas for a quick rest and a chicken and baked potato dinner at the mission. We were able to decompress and reflect on our day, and offer suggestions as to how we can make a great clinic day an even better one tomorrow!
The April 2013 MDP Team will be leaving for Guatemala early tomorrow morning. We will arrive in Guatemala City, God willing, tomorrow afternoon and make our way along the coast, up the mountain to Lake Atitlan and the village of San Lucas Toliman. Our friends at the parish have organized clinics for us in the villages that surround San Lucas and we are eager to serve. We are a smaller team of 8 but I am confident that we are up to the challenge! Please keep us in prayer this week as we seek to serve the people of Guatemala. Thanks to all of you, who through your generous donations, have made this trip possible.
Moved to Serve!