As always, every day brings "nueva venturas!" It's hard to imagine all we seem to be able to pack in each day. Yesterday, we spent the day in Pueblo Nuevo getting the clinic ready for the coming 10 days. We had a 2 hour meeting with many of the women of the community. It was truly heartening to watch them go from a silent group to a fairly animated force once they started realizing that perhaps they could have some say in what goes on in their aldea.
We try so very hard to make all the things we do not only things that the people truly want but also that they can feel was of their own making. There are so many needs in all of the areas we are addressing. When we suggested that perhaps they could offer their talents and time instead of money, they seemed shocked that we thought they had any talents. But soon we came up with many ideas about how they could participate. They are going to meet themselves and then get together with us tomorrow to talk about it.
We continue to be incredibly discouraged about the current teachers; they actually seem to be working actively to thwart any efforts at benefitting the children. It is very difficult to understand. While it goes against all we would want, it seems that anything we do will have to be separate from them.
The community is incredibly excited about the possibility of building a community center. They said that they are already seeing big leaps in the knowledge of their children from the after-school program that Mario is doing. Orfe reports that her adult literacy class has had many unforeseen benefits. It has given the women a forum to join together and exchange ideas to improve their community and to talk about their lives. At least 2 of the women were able to talk about being abused at home and now it has stopped since it has come out in the open.
We lent out 20 books on Tuesday to many eager children. They will be retuning the books tomorrow so we'll see how that goes!
We went to Daniel's house (the boy with the colostomy and the decubitus ulcer). His ulcer is healed thanks to the wound vac that Dr. Mallory was able to get us. We gave Dr's Mallory's gifts to Daniel which were the photos of the professional soccer players that he loves and the soccer shirt. He rarely has much to be joyful for and so it was a joy for us to see him smile. But I have to admit that it is hard for me to watch him. His paralyzed legs jerk and spasm causing him much discomfort and he seems so self-conscious when it happens. He had only one small pillow and a very hard mattress. I thought about all that would be available to him in the U.S. We'll certainly address those issues - I could kick myself for not thinking of it earlier!
Today we drove 5 hours to an area near Coban to visit a "bottle school". You can see it on this Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLIvW2TRsvI. One of the community leaders brought us all around and proudly described the construction of the building and what is has meant for this community. We have been in close contact with the organization that provides the technical information and education for building this and we have a very good chance of receiving a grant from them to build the same in Pueblo Nuevo!
As always, there are as many questions as answers. Being the kind of person who can't understand why things weren't done yesterday, I find it difficult to have the patience to watch this journey unfold. If I didn't believe it before, it's sorely obvious that working to repair years of neglect and absolute abuse of an entire nation will take more than good will.
Hola everyone! Just want to tell you how full and productive the trip has been so far.
Started off a little frightening when we were told that we couldn"t land in Guatemala because of bad weather so we had to go to El Salvador and site there for 4 hours. People were starting to get slightly hysterical (yes, even our own Deena!!) when they finally got smart and broke out the "snacks" that previoulsy cost $4 a pop!
Once we were no longer starving, we were able to laugh at the poor Spanish language skills of the stewardess. Even I knew she wasn't even close - and that sure says a lot!!
But we finally crawled into bed at 1 AM last night and slept well. The alarm was promptly set at 5 AM by the know-it-all doctora Ana so she could get her training run in - but alas she forgot her sneakers!!! AHHHHH!
Well, then off to a delicious breakfast.
Then Deena and I went to our meeting with the executive director from WINGS Guatemala. They have done phenomenol things in this country in regards to women's health. It was a privilege to know that they would be willing to meet with us. We learned tons from our meeting and by the end of the day, they already have us set up with a wonderful attorney who will arrange for our NGO status in Guatemala.- They are also arranging for us to meet with the physician who leads the cervical cancer and contraceptive efforts in Guatemala!!
They have 2 employed health promotors that work in the Peten and they will be joining us next week.
Then, Deena and I very, very seriously took to shopping!!! SewHope will have a huge spike in fundraising dollars when the people see the incredibly beautiful things we have bought for the next fundrasier!!! Randy spent the day enjoying Guatemalan coffee in the central square while assisting locals with their English skills. No shopping for him! Then a sumptuous dinner and lots of great conversation...much more to come!
We're leaving in the morning at 4 to get the flight to Flores so off to bed.......
Please keep us in your prayers as we get to the real tasks at hand.
Want you all to know how much each of you mean to us!!