Saturday, February 6, 2016

Trips to the mountain clinics

I've been so thankful to begin working with Salud Que Transforma who has a wonderful health ministry!!!  I was thankful to be able to join them on their monthly trip to the Quiche area of Guatemala which is an 8 hour trek kinda northwest of Guatemala City!   
Unfortunately I do get car sick =(   The first day was the worse as we drove the first 6 hours through constant windy roads.   The second day we only had 2 hours to drive and about half of that was on dirt roads so we were going fairly slow.  I pray that I can continue to travel there on a regular basis and find ways to prevent the car sickness!!!

The clinic is on a working coffee farm called La Perla!  The yellow building you can see in this photo is the clinic!  Salud Que Transforma has been able to train a nurse from this village and she works in the clinic daily!  The interesting story to this coffee farm is that during the Guatemalan civil war this was a very dangerous area and one of the most violently attacked areas by the Guerrillas.  The Guatemalan Government stationed troops here at this coffee farm, in fact we stayed in what use to be their barracks!  After that, the area became safer and many people started moving in from surrounding areas.  The people who now live in the area speak a few different Guatemalan dialects. because they come from different areas!   Many of the women in this area don't know how to read, they often don't know their ages or their birthdays, and they live without electricity and with dirt floors.  

The second day we drove to a second village about 20 minutes away.  On the map that they showed me this village was straight north, however the road was anything but straight, instead it was up and down a few mountains!!!  At this village there are two nurses that have been trained by Salud Que Transforma who are able to provide some minor medical care and medications.  

Above is a photo of our group with the 2 nurses from the village.

I found out about Salud Que Transforma through my friend LyMarie who is working with them!  
It's been fun to work alongside of her!!!

This is one of the nurses helping us take care of the patients!  It's good to have nurses from the community working in the clinics!  It's hard to change beliefs and health practices in these areas because they believe what is traditional and not always willing to listen to teaching new practices.  Sometimes it helps to have somebody from their village reinforcing what we are teaching!   
It's similar with sharing the Gospel.  They have a mix of beliefs that come from their families and tradition and don't believe in the one true God.  
We pray for opportunities to talk with them about the truth during our time with them at the clinic!!!

Taking a little break to get to know some of the little kids running around the clinic! 

These red fabrics represent the typical handwoven material worn as skirts in this area.

I was also able to go on a second trip with Salud Que Transforma to a clinic in Coban, an area of Guatemala just north of Guatemala City.   This clinic is also on a coffee farm, the owners live just up the hill from the clinic and help the clinic run so that their workers and the families nearby have access to health care!
I drove my car on this trip which meant NO carsickness!!! 
This drive was about 4 hours through windy mountain roads to the turn off, and then an hour on windy dirt mountain roads!  These mountains were quite steep, but we hardly got to see our surroundings as we arrived in the dark and then the next 2 days were so rainy and cloudy that we could hardly see the beauty around us!  The rain meant that the steep roads were muddy, and we were a little concerned about my car making it up and out on the roads.  
However, with much prayer, my car made it and we didn't get stuck!!!   

We saw lots of patients while at this clinic!  I was reminded of the lack of personal space =)  There were about 100 people crowding into this area at the beginning and waiting to get checked in and then seen.  Since it was raining, everybody wanted to be under the roof.  I was having a hard time concentrating and taking blood pressures with everybody pushing in around me and talking.  There was some space and so I asked them to move back.  They looked at me funny, kinda moved back after about the 3rd time asking.  Then after lunch there was just this line of patients waiting to see the doctor.  Some people were cutting in line and so they just kept standing closer and closer together, eventually there were about 8 women all squished together just standing there waiting!  For me it would have been uncomfortable, but totally fine and normal for them!

This sweet little guy is malnourished.  He's already spent time hospitalized for malnutrition, but since discharge he hasn't been gaining much weight.  The nurses that work with this clinic were going to track him and try to do more education with the mother.  Malnutrition is a big problem in Guatemala, praying that this little guy grows and develops normally!!!

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