Because Fundenor wanted our medical teams to serve communities farther away from where we’ve been in the past years, we couldn’t stay at our home-away-from-home hotel, Bella Verapaz.  Because of my Spanish, I was the contact person between our team leader and the new hotel’s, Ram Tzul, manager Gerardo, setting up rooms assignments, water availability, storage for our medical supplies, meal and lunch arrangements, etc.  A week before departure, I sent a summary email of all our needs to Gerardo. We thought that we had everything under control. 

    Remember that our travel day starts barely after 3:00 AM to get to Cleveland Hopkins airport, then connect in Atlanta, arrive in Guatemala City, go through customs, hop on the Greyhound type bus, one rest stop before arriving at Ram Tzul around 6:00 PM (8:00 pm to us).......to find no one named Gerardo, some of the rooms not ready, no place to put our supply bags, no water to refill our bottles, etc., etc.  NOT a good start.  Found out the hard way that the young lady put in charge had never received that last summary email, and even when she took photos of the one that I had wisely copied to my iPad, she still had difficulty accomplishing some of the simple things we were asking for.

    Anyway, we somehow managed to get unpacked, organized, get some sleep, and then repacked for the next day, where we needed to bring our inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags, overnight supplies, etc., and of course, the clinic supplies, as we headed out on our 3 hr. journey to Monte Blanco, our “camping adventure.”  Once we arrived, and the torrential downpour decided what clinics were getting moved to other sites, and we actually started, things began to run more smoothly.  We had the usual general medicine, pediatrics, dental, and eye clinics, and served the average number of people we normally do.  We were at Monte Blanco for 2 days, then one day each at Rivaco, Bremen, and Eben-ezer.

    A couple, Tim and Donna, both first-timers were in charge of “day-care,” playing with the kids all day, while their moms were at the clinic, most dads were in the fields working.  Translators are always an issue, since the Mayans who choose to live high up in the mountains to maintain their culture, since the government does nothing for them, speak one of twenty-six Mayan dialects, so one needs to go from English to Spanish to Quechi or whatever, and then vice versa.  They improved each day, and besides, laughter and body language/movements are pretty international.

    Other than the different hotel experience and remoter communities requiring 1, 2 or 3 hr. rides, often in heavy fog, nothing was substantially different about this trip, thus, I’m not going into a lot of detail and creating a lot of pages.  Maybe has something to do with getting older.....

   

   

Monte Blanco is a 3 hr. drive from Eco Hotel Ram Tzul (not where we normally stay), and doable only in 4WD trucks, due to the rutted roads.  We stayed overnight on classroom floors, in order to conduct 2 days of clinics in the community that has never before been visited by medical teams.  Fundenor had hired a company to film a documentary about its work, so some of us showed up in that.  Quite an anomaly to see a camera drone in this impoverished mountain village.

other links

Attendance sheet for Mayans who don’t read or write.

Back in Ohio, two missioners created healthy habits and how to create pure water, got them printed. At check-ins, all patients received one, and then the locals translated into the village dialects.

Lice removal

Eye clinic ingenuity; I bring everything necessary to hang those E charts.

Our hotel this time

Guatemalan Day Care

LUNCH TIME!

A day and a half to regenerate in colonial Antigua; chilling out, shopping, ziplining, climbing volcano, city tour, visiting with nurse Mari & her gorgeous daughters.....