Monday, May 30, 2016

Gringo Day

Well, it's that time of year again, folks.  Gringo Day is a longstanding tradition among MET students here in Guatemala.  We start off the day with the students running up to town to get our last minute groceries, giving them a chance to enjoy a tuctuc ride up to the plaza.  The funny part today, is I forgot to tell them the name of our colonia so they could get a ride back.  So after the taxi driver took them around trying to find the right neighborhood, they decided to just walk back.  They made it!  After that, they settled in for coffee and tea and card games and movies.  We enjoyed a yummy brisket and potato salad and coleslaw lunch, with bottled soft drinks, courtesy of Sheri.  Thanks, Sheri! We sat around and told stories about family life here in Quiche country. After cookies and another movie (Emperor's New Groove and Gladiator today) we wrapped up another successful Gringo Day. Back to real life now!  We will be in clinics again tomorrow.
Getting ready for some serious cards.

"look natural"

Surrogate grandmother/granddaughter Kimmi and Roberta making potato salad

Al fresco dining

Enjoying Some Hospitality

One of Roberta's wishes while visiting here has been to meet the ABC child that she sponsors.  They got to meet each other in church last week and his mom invited us to come eat lunch with them a few days later.  We really enjoyed getting to know Pedro and Natalia and their kids Jhony (Roberta's ABC child) and Estrella.  They were more that hospitable providing soft drinks as we waited for the kids to get home from school, and then a delicious and bountiful chicken soup. We were treated like royalty and family at the same time.

Roberta and Jhony

Jhony and Estrella practicing penalty kicks in the kitchen after lunch.

Pedro, Jhony, Estrella and Roberta.

With us thrown in the mix.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Life in Guatemala

Our star team after a long day at clinic.

Life with our students is always entertaining.  They offer a fresh take on life here in our little neck of the woods.  For instance, they are thrilled when patients help them with their Kiche words or actually understand their Spanish.  They are surprised to find that there is no internet cafe in Paxot III with wifi available, after a hopeful two mile walk uphill. They took part in an birthday party/worship service for a one-year old that should have ended at lunch but went "all day".
They are enjoying being the new kid on the block in their towns, for now.  Kimmi says every evening she gets home and all the kids on her road yell out, "Kimmiiiiiii!" Morgan has become an expert in locating all the local restrooms...hope that gets better soon! Preston says the to distance to his home's bathroom is farther than going across the street to use the one at the church--just sayin'.  Justin is learning how to weave women's skirts in his spare time.
Blake is becoming a professional urine dipstick technician.  Kaitlin gave a shot to a patient who said she could barely feel it--after nervously watching me explain to Kaitlin how to place the needle. They are good sports and have been helpful in clinic and willing to tough out our long days.  Good job, guys--you are getting a real taste of missionary life! Tomorrow is "gringo day" here at our house where we will relax and talk gringo and eat the food of El Norte.
Jesus and Justin at Paxot II Iglesia de Cristo

Kimmi holding a newborn while mom gets her c-section wound checked.

Maybe no wifi, but Preston and Kaitlin did find a good view.

Blake, Preston and Justin scoping out women's skirts for the ladies back home.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Little Wiser

We took off yesterday morning "tempranito" (pretty early) as they say around here, to pick up our MET interns from language school in Xela.  The newly minted missionaries looked a little more relaxed and ready for their next adventure, than when we left them last week.  We heard stories of embarrassing moments and social faux pas during their first week in country, but also substantial gains in the language department.  We reassured them that "what happens in language school, stays in language school!"
We made our rounds in Mactzul V, showing all the students where three of the six would be staying. Then we enjoyed a delicious lunch with Tomas and Juana's family before heading to Paxot II for church and drop-off of the other three students.  Of course yesterday was also Paxot II's chosen day to celebrate Mother's Day with the church, so we all got enjoy the festivities.  Kemmel's mom, Roberta was also invited, and pickup up at the house by Manuel and his family for lunch and then church, so she wouldn't have to do the running around that we were doing in the morning.
After sharing a nightcap of coffee and pan dulce at our last dropoff, we headed home to our little house in Chichicastenango.  We were beat, to say the least, but pleased at the smooth flow of the day.
Driving the back roads to Mactzul V.
Blake with his extra tall door way at Jeronimo and Juana's house.--it's a good thing 'cause he's tall! (Sorry for the closed eyes, Blake)

The trail to Kimmi's house.

Kimmi welcomed home by Rosa and Francisco's family

Jesus, uh, I mean Justin at his new place in Mactzul V.

Enjoying some liquid refreshment at Tomas' house before lunch.

Juana frying up a mess of chicken.

Some cream gravy and biscuits would be good with that, but so was the fresh roasted chile/tomato salsa and tortillas!
Blake and Preston looking concerned as Justin ladles on the chile.

Roberta and her ABC sponsor child Jhony.  He kept eyeing her in church and signaling me that he recognized her.

Preston at Carlos and Marina's with body guard Josefa.  You laugh, but she is the one that protects the students from the yard turkeys.

Kaitlin inaugurating the newly consturcted guest house at Juan and Lucia's.

And finally, Morgan getting cozy in her warm little room at Manuel and Juana's.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Future Missionaries in Training

Our Medical Evangelism Training interns have arrived ready to soak up culture and learn about evangelism in the health care world.  We have 12 students every year from different universities around the country come together and live with families in the two regions of Guatemala where Health Talents works.  They just finished a long weekend of missiology orientation time with Roger McKown and us down at Clinica Ezell and are now in language school for a week in Quetzaltenango. They are a great bunch and look forward to getting to know them better.
Lined up according language ability.  They paired off (best with worst) to participate in a scavenger hunt around town.  

Roger giving last minute advice before heading to town.

A quick trip to the cacao farm traipsing through the jungle.

Our star team beneath the giant ceiba tree.  It was like being in the Avatar tree.

Ready for language school

And.. they're off!  See you next week.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mom's Here

We are being spoiled by having Kemmel's mom Roberta here with us.  We have been a little hectic with with clinics and getting our summer Medical Evangelism Training students.  But we did get to enjoy a few quick hours at Lake Atitlan for lunch and a walk around town on our way to Clinica Ezell to meet the students.
Kemmel's family lived here in Guatemala during the 70s and 80s so, for Roberta, it has been a fun trip down memory lane and eye opening to see the changes since she visited last. Everyone here is fascinated to meet Kemmel's mom and have been very welcoming.
We have spent the weekend and today at an orientation session for the students and will head back up to Quiche land tomorrow.

Mother and Baby!

Street market booth in Panajachel

Cool looking hammock stand.

Creepy looking mannequin on the left 

Me and my suegrita (sweet mother-in-law).  

Friday, May 13, 2016

Okies In Town

We hosted the last of this year's "spring break" teams two weeks ago.  Oklahoma Christian University brought a team of pre-healthcare students to help us finish up the last of our ABC kids' well child checkups.  This team is such a great group to have around and come very well prepared to help out on vital signs and water filter installation.  They also bring a great group of professionals with them to help us out in medical and dental clinics. This year we had Dr. Neil Roberts and his dad, pharmacist David Roberts, Dr. Zann McMahan and Dr. Jeanie Tryggestad and translator Matthew Anderson worked in the medical clinic seeing all of our kids and some regular patients as well.  On the dental front we had superduo Drs. Debbie and Owen Corwin working a frenzy of patients.  Of course none of this would have been possible without Eric Phelps to coordinate their team. We worked long days at far-away clinics and are so grateful for their help and compassionate care of all of our patients. Great job everyone and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Ryan and Jan getting the ball rolling with vital signs.

Master packers Nathan, Zann, Eric and Neil helping us rearrange gear in the trucks.

One of our new ABC kids getting his first checkup and photo op.

Enjoying dinner together after a long day out in clinics.  (Photo by Debbie Corwin)

Sheri and Kemmel making sure the right stuff get in the right trucks at the end of the day. (Photo by Debbie Corwin)

Heading to church in Chichicastenango (Photo by Debbie Corwin)

Load em' up! These girls are tough. (Photo by Debbie Corwin)

Can you spot the difference in this pic and the last one?

Our new scholarship coordinator Eugenia getting to know some of the ABC kids and their families.

Star women's health team after a day of pap smears!

Enjoying a little time in Antigua.

These two crazy kids, India and Ryan went and got engaged during their time here--romantic!