We are in Antigua this morning surrounded by beautiful blooming flowers and the sound of the fountain in the courtyard. By tonight we will be back in chilly Minnesota. We had a nice day in Antigua yesterday and a wonderful dinner at Santo Domingo last night.
On our last clinic day our team had the opportunity to meet Dr. Paul Wise. When MDP was being formed he was instrumental in helping me be prepared for what to expect down in Guatemala and how to best prepare our teams. He is still closely involved with the health promoters down here. You can see his passion for his work immediately when you meet him. We were lucky to have the opportunity.
While I am sure we are all anxious to see our families again, it is hard to leave the beautiful people of Guatemala. I feel so blessed to have served the people here and to have worked with this incredible team. The friendships that have been established are an additional blessing. I will try to post more pictures soon.
Today we headed up to San Marteen for our last day of clinic. It was a shorter day, we stopped about 2:30 but were able to see all the patients the health promoters had set up for us. We saw lots of pregnant women in this community and made a few house calls. We talked this evening about how intimate it is to have the guatemalan people welcome you into their homes. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to serve them and see up close how they live. The health promoters seem to really have a connection with those in the communities and were ready for us to come. It is nice to see how this program is progressing.
Yesterday we went to San Juan Mirador. It was a well paced clinic. We saw about 40 patients. We needed two interpreters in San Juan because almost all the patients spoke Kat'chaquel. The team works fabulously together and as usual by the end we operate like a well oiled machine. I have been honored to work with this group....and now some pictures.
Today was our free day and we spent it on the lake. We went to Santiago first, saw the church where Father Stan was murdered back in 1981. Hard to believe the violence these people suffered such a short time ago. We had a great lunch on a rooftop and then did some souvenir shopping. We left Santiago and went to San Antonio de Palopal for a short visit. This communtiy is still recovering from the devastating mudslides and there was evidence of new construction around along with many tents from people who lost their homes.
Yesterday was a fabulous day! We held clinic in a communtiy called Cerro de Orros. It is a communtiy the parish had never visited. The people of the communtiy all spoke their native tongue which is Tzsututil. It was fascinating to listen to. The communtiy was really well prepared for us and each station had its own tzsututil interpreter. We saw everyone they needed us to. We saw lots of children with different developmental disabilities and unfortunately one child who was 2 years 8 months old and only weighed 10lbs. Sometimes the things we see are heartbreaking and more so when we can really do nothing to help. Many people here we were able to help and they were so grateful! I explained the medicine to them in spanish and then the interpreter explained it in their native tongue. They laughed and smiled a lot, I am sure partly at my spanish!! The team is running like a well oiled machine. We are working hard together and having fun too. Last night we went to the Toliman and enjoyed a great dinner. We will have clinic tomorrow and Saturday. I will try to check in again. Keep us in your prayers.
Today we went to Provenir. After meeting with Jesus and visiting the Bodega and a local pharmacy it was close to 10:30 before we got there. We had patients waiting and were busy all day. We stopped clinic at 3:30 and we had seen 58 patients in that time. The people of the village were sick, lots of pneumonia, giarrdia, upper respiratory infections and then of course many general aches and pains from all the physical labor. Nancy injected two patients with joint pain and that always give them such relief. All of our team members are hard working and always willing to help out however they can. One of the many joys of leading teams down here is watching how a group of people really pull together and work hard to serve the people. It is inspiring. I did a lot of work in the pharmacy today and really used my spansih. It is tiring to be thinking in both languages!! God Bless our interpreters!!! Two long term volunteers came with us today and helped with interpreting. It was really awesome! Tomorrow we have been told the village we are going to has 70 patients waiting for us. It is great to be busy and that the villages are prepared to see us. Please check in again.
We took the tour today and this is a group shot from up at the Women's Center. It was nice to see the progress that has been made in the various parish projects. This afternoon we held a short clinic in Pampojila and all went well. Tonight we will do some medicine packing and organizing. We are looking forward to a full day clinic tomorrow in Porvenir.
We made it all the way to San Lucas Toliman today. We escaped the first Minnesota snowstorm and have arrived in the land of eternal springtime. I had the opportunity to reestablish my friendly relationship with the customs officials at the airport and with the red stamp it was smooth sailing. We enjoyed our ride out, the view of the sugarcane reminded Bob of the feathery tops of the pampas grasses back home, and the sunset was beautiful. Caer de sol is how Julio our driver says sunset. In the dark we caught glimpses of the devastation brought to many small pueblos by tropical storm Agatha. The car sized boulders lined the edges of newly formed road. It gave us all a sense of how powerful mother nature can be. We are staying in Casa Molina where I stayed 2 years ago. We all seem to be settling in well. Tomorrow we will take the tour and hopefully have a half day clinic….we will see. Thanks for all the prayers back home. Keep it up and check back…more to come.
We are busy preparing for our departure this Sunday to San Lucas Toliman. Our team met on Sunday and packed up our medicines and supplies. We have a great team going...they include Dr. Bob Christensen, Dr. Aaron Johnson, Nancy Linder, NP, Colette Meidinger, Mary Brummer, Julia Smith, David Foss, Lia Price and me. I am anxious to return to San Lucas Toliman. They were devastated by Tropical Storm Agatha last spring. Many people lost their homes and many their lives. Hopefully we can provide some much needed medicine and support to the people.