Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clinic in Xepol

Today Lisa, Juan and I headed off to Xepol for clinic.  Xepol is about 1 hour + from Chichicastenango towards Guatemala City.   Once there you would never think it but it is only about 15 minutes off the highway provided there is no mud around.  Today we gained a new respect for Sheri as this is normally her clinic and the roads are shall we say "less than good".  At least on one occasion they had to hike in to the church building due to the muddy, slippery hills.   So today we decided we will remind ourselves each month to prepare some backbacks of medicine just in case we or Sheri and team has to walk.  The walk is about 1 mile but not so easy when slippery and muddy and carrying medicine boxes, etc.  Kudos Sheri!!!

Church building in Xepol.

Maybe hard to see but this is the back of the church where the mudslide is after they cleaned it out. There is a hole that goes back about 4 feet with roots and such still handing on. The road is not far above that. :(

This is above the church on top of where the hole is looking over the roof of the church - great view of the valley and mountains.

While stateside we got a laugh or actually a few laughs out of highway signs that say "bump" or "primitive road" as we went over the bump and thought, "was that a bump??"  We get our own daily exercise on the bumps we go over, but it is fun and an adventure most of the time.  As one student said once, "you have the best job, as you get to do what you do and 4 wheel everyday!".

So back to Xepol.  Today, gracias a Dios, the roads were mostly clear, minus the obstacles, but no mud, so easy going.  We were met by one of the leaders of the church and local promotor / translator, Tomas Salvador and he immediatley showed us where a mudslide took out a wall of the church and was proud that they already fixed the wall, but are pretty concerned about how to prevent future problems.  The land that this church sits on was carved out of the mountain by shovels, pics and hoes, so no small feat.  Not sure they have much hope without a bunch of rock and cement to create a retaining wall and I am not convinced that would work, but took some pictures to show some others and see what they think. 

This is a community that we started last year and it has been slow going; however, as we see the need and as Tomas is excited about having this ministry in his church and he annoucnes each time, we are finding it hard to let it go.  Plus, we have had some great contacts in this clinic.  We have had a number of patients whose lives have been changed forever in this clinic, including a boy with seizure disorders that Sheri has written about -

We have had days with 15 or so patients, but most of the time we have less than 10 and today was no different, we had 6 patients; however, this was after Tomas announced on 3 different occasions, at church, on the radio and at a community meeting.  We noticed upon entering that a large group of people was gathering around the center of the town for some meeting, so that could have affected us today.  The benefit of a small clinic is the time we and the local church members get to spend with each patient.  Today Lisa and Tomas spent about 20-30 minutes with each patient reviewing their physical complaints but also discussing their lives and praying with them. 

Todays theme in clinic surrounded the results of bad human interpretation of how we should serve God and others.  Some of the patients today were from another local congregation not demonstrating the kind of love and care God would want us to provide.  By charging members of their own church body for prayers, pushing them to fast while they are sick, and refusing as an eldership to pray with sick people in their homes, these patients were not seeing the results they expected and were beginning to lose hope.  The church health promoter Tomas was diplomatic and encouraging as he offered his services and those of his church to pray and council with the family free of charge.  He also encouraged the patients to resume a healthy diet and leave the fasting to fellow brethern.

We were also entertained today by 3 cute kids - Tomas, Ofelia and Sheena (with Hermalinda on her back).

All photos today taken with my computer since we forgot the camera - in a pinch works great.

Between noon and 1pm as no more patients were waiting around and as we were down the side of a mountain with "primitive roads", that could get ugly, Tomas was ready to go home and call it a day.  As there were no more patients and the sky started to look like it was going to rain with hurricaine Paula lurking in the carribean, we headed back to Chichi.  Gracias a Dios, it still is not raining, so maybe God is blessing the area with no more rain for now.

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