"Poco a Poco" is what Ismael said today as we marveled at all the things that have happened in the last few years. Every time I return, I continue to be amazed at all that has been done in a short time and with our limited resources.
We now have 2 outstanding Guatemalan nurses who clearly function at the level of a nurse practitioner in the U.S. I find myself asking them for advice as often as they ask me. I might have a bit more training but they have the years of experience of dealing with the illnesses common to tropical places.
I fall in love with the children in our school more and more with each visit. Their eagerness to learn makes me so very happy. This week I met with three of the older students for a couple of hours to talk about ways we can improve the program and find even better means of encouraging the children to achieve.
Our agriculture program continues to grow. Tomatoes, peppers, corn, herbs, watermelons, different fruits...all thriving on our land. The children participate in the projects and benefit from the food provided. Today, we had one of the project coordinators from "Friends of Guatemala" join us to look for ways that we can collaborate in the area of agriculture.
Ismael just finished planting 150 Ramon trees which you can read about here...http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/kids/species-profiles/ramon-tree as well as 75 yucca plants which there are lots of nutritional plans for.
The cervical cancer prevention program is continuing to work so very well. All the women return for treatments and we continue to get more and more referrals from the Ministry of Health. Yesterday, I did a minor surgical procedure on a woman with carcinoma-in-situ of the cervix. Without this treatment, she would have developed a cervical cancer which is almost incurable in this country. When I finished, she was crying uncontrollably. Not knowing if she was in pain, I finally got her to calm down and she said she was crying because she was so very appreciative. She had been worrying about this condition for months and didn't know what she would do. She couldn't believe that we would come here to help and she just kept crying and hugging me. Really, how much more can you ask for in life!!
Construction will be starting in the next few weeks on our new hostal which will give our teams a safe and close place to stay and will enable some to stay for extended periods of time.