Friday, June 25, 2010

World day of ENVIRONMENT

Good Evening Friends and family from Guatemala,

As I write this blog, the rain is still drizzling after a heavy rainfall. Overall the situation, following Storm Agatha, has improved. Emergency repairs to roads and highways have been achieved and also temporary bridges are in place and landslides cleared. Many people are still in shelters but food and medicine are being distributed. Unfortunately water systems continue to be a major obstacle for the majority of communities where the Mission Of the Diocese of Helena is located. We are beginning to do an evaluation of this situation, as lack of water affects greatly the health situation for the people we serve. Our parish Clinic, LA MAXEÑA, is very busy, especially our laboratory and medical consult.

Today we closed shop in the Clinic, for the afternoon, to celebrate World day of Environment. The actual day was June 5th, which was the height of the crisis of AGATHA! With our usual Music and Prayer, we opened our Pastoral Health Meeting. A banner hangs across the front of our Parish kitchen and Meeting Room. It´s message reads: "For a Peaceful Life sharing with NATURE". The theme of this year´s International Day of the Environment is: MANY SPECIES, ONE PLANET, ONE FUTURE! It is an URGENT PLEA to conserve the diversity of the LIFE on our PLANET! Millons of persons and millons of species share the same planet and only together can we enjoy a more safe and prosperous future. Together, we as the personell of the CLINICA MAXEÑA, carefully considered the actions we must take to preserve all the species living on our earth. We discussed the forests and disappearance of trees, our over use of carbon, our inadequate garbage disposals, plastic bags, unnecessary use of electricity, unsafe water supply, and much more. A video made real the effects of plastic bags and the garbage dumps on roadsides, in communities and near rivers.

Our ONIL STOVE PROJECT was discussed in detail and a committment was made to promote and make reality this project. We are very grateful for friends who have contributed one hundred dollars to provide an ONIL STOVE for a poor family. Thousands of families want this possibility, and one by one, we hope to make this REALITY!! This stove is envionmental friendly; little fire wood is necessary. It helps prevent illness, burns, eye and respiratory disease and of course it is very economical for the POOR! THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATION!!

You can donate on line to the CLINICA MAXEÑA AND TO THE STOVE PROJECT AT:



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meeting, Reflecting, Celebrating

We go from sun, to grey clouds, then rain again. The earth is becoming saturated in many parts of the country. This morning a bridge partially collapsed on the highway that takes us to the city. The highway closed and this brings stress, financial losses, and more complications for Guatemala. It is time to stay home and travel only for necessity.

Yesterday we had our monthly general meeting with Clinic Workers. A visiting professional gave a short workshop on motivation in one´s life. These conferences are of great value for the workers as these opportunities are not as frequent as should be. Also we had a short recognition and celebration for Father´s Day. The clinic gifted cups and a hankerchief to each dad, and all enjoyed delicious tostadas and music. The meeting time was short but we come together again next week in our Pastoral Health Meeting to talk and plan actions for the environment.

Pastoral Health is the focus of who we are as a Clinic. This meeting is a very important gathering as the environment is one of our main focuses in preventive Medicine for the Clinica Maxeña! World environment day was celebrated June 5th. The Clinica Maxeña, because of the emergency in the country, will celebrate on June 26 at our meeting. The ONIL STOVE PROJECT will be our focus. We are very grateful for the generous response that allows us to put many stoves in homes of the most poor. These stoves, save firewood, prevent lung and eye disease with a chimney, and save cooking time for moms, so more time with the children.

The child Cristobal, that I wrote in my last blog, is recovering and home again. The infant son of our worker Martin, had an emergency when he caught his little fingers in the spoke of a bicycle, and had to have two fingers partially amputated. I just sent a complicated pregnant patient to a specialist to Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala. She has a blood dyscrasia and has to deliver in a hospital where blood products are readily available. Unfortunately her fetus was in distress when she departed for the hospital. We are grateful the town now does have ambulance service and they are very accomodating to the Clinica Maxeña. Catarina is one of my god children so I do also ask for prayers for a safe delivery for her and the baby. Daily we are called to serve and accompany many patients with emergencies, acute and chronic illnesses, and desnutrition in children. We are blessed to have many dedicated, competent workers and the generosity of MANY! THANK YOU!!

Thank You for your interest, prayers and financial support.
You can now donate on line at:


Picture of workers after workshop on MOTIVATION.
An older child with malnutrition and anemia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Times in Guatemala have not been good. Lately, daily the paper is full of brutal violence, organized crime, narco trafficing, extorsions and assasinations. I just heard a young gang member was assasinated in our own quiet town, a few hours ago. Apparently he had returned here about two weeks ago and he was gunned down on his motor cycle, near his home. Here there is silence with such happenings. We have not been traveling to the city at all for the last few weeks. We are still picking up from the Storm Agatha and recovering from epidemics of Dengue and Typhoid. The CHURCH continues to offer prayer,supportive caring and criticism to government officials and other leaders, for the chaos that swirls around constantly in this society. When natural Disasters strike the POOR are always the victims.

God´s presence in our lives and world shines through these difficult moments and times. This past weekend I had to choose LIFE for a 13 year old child who was critically ill. He had just been discharged from the National Hospital, after 6 days of hospitalization. He arrived this morning at the clinic with high fever, dehydration and pain. His body was limp. I inquired with the doctor who had cared for him in the hospital. His diagnosis was severe Pancreatitis and the parents listened to their child that he did not want to stay any longer in the hospital. Because he was older than 12 yrs, Cristobal is not considered a child; he was a patient in the men´s ward. His parents could only visit for an hour daily and for the child, this was not sufficient. They took him home less than 24 hours ago before he presented at the reception desk of the CLINICA MAXEÑA! Our doctor examined him, ordered more laboratory tests, and prescribed medications, then he left for his turn at the National Hospital and for the weekend to REST!. As the child´s condition worsened that night, I called the specialist for suggestions. He told me briefly the child´s history and that he feared an abcess could be forming. He would need another Ultra Sound. I could not let him die, so with a LEAP of Faith and Trust, I called the local ambulance and sent him to the private hospital, where the specialist was waiting. It was still the weekend. His condition improved somewhat, but we now know on Monday, that he is also suffering from Hemorrhagic Dengue; his platelets are dangerously low at 30! He is being treated with steroids and continued antibiotics for the inflammation of his pancreas. His Dengue test was negative on admittance to the clinic but this is not unusual to not show on the laboratory test the first days of infection. His father was very conscious to the reality that this was an expensive decision for the Clinica Maxeña. He promised to look for funds from his family and friends. Can YOU help CRISTOBAL with this fight for LIFE!!

send your donation to
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, MT
59601 or donate on LINE: at


I include a picture taken today of Cristobal in the private hospital with his MOM!

His father has been able to collect 300. dollars from families and friends to help with the continual need for diagnostic tests to monitor the disease. I must reach out also for this emergency. Cristobal will for sure be hospitalized more days before I can bring him to the clinic where he can be cared for until recovery.


Saturday, June 12, 2010



Today was a happy day for Maria, our 85 year old patient; she went home to her own home and as my mom would say, to her own tea kettle! she spent four months in our small patient space. She insisted she would be ok alone and for sure she has many good friends and neighbors to help out and bring her some meals. Her home is very humble, dirt floor, cracks in the ceiling and the light shining through the beams, leaky roof.

Sr. Anna stayed behind to help her settle in and lit her fire to heat her some water. We donated her a small wooden bed, walker, commode, and chair. She wears daily her bright green croc shoes, donated by Carroll campus ministry; Maria did not wear shoes previously and her deformed foot surely contributed to her fall. We will check in on her frequently.

Agrapina, the nurses aide that we hired to care for her, also leaves today. Clinic workers said farewell yesterday to her; the band serenaded her and we all paused to enjoy a sandwich, and hot pineapple drink. She has obtained a job in the city as a caregiver to a child and will come home every two weeks to visit her family. She has been a delightful companion for Maria, and also fellow worker. Blessings to her and to those who contribute to the Clinica Maxeña so we can accompany patients, like Maria, to they are well and healthy again.

Included are a photo of Agrapina and Maria; her home; and some of the children who greeted her on arrival.

Love, Sheila

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time to Celebrate and give THANKS!

Good Afternoon Friends,

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi. The sun is shining and we all give thanks for the help that is coming in for victims of Storm Agatha. There is much reconstruction and grieving of families who lost loved ones. Monday the Catholic Churches will toll their bells at 11am to remember the victims. Pastoral Health of the diocese is collecting medicines for children and basic food needs in all Churches of the Diocese and in the Clinica Maxeña. It will be distributed by the Diocesean Pastoral Health to the communities on the coast who suffered the most.

In the clinic, we paused with music of our band and a birthday cake for Ever, Physician of the Clinica Maxeña. A time of song to give THANKS and appreciate one another. These weeks have been busy and all worked together to serve many patients. We don´t have answers for the suffering but we know GOD is near. HE gives us strength and encouragement to accompany those who suffer from catastrophes of the earth and from illnesses. Thanks also our FRIENDS who respond to these needs with us.
As I write this note, the earth tremors, a common happening here. Is GOD talking to us, gently shaking us, sending a message.

Sheila from GUATEMALA

You can donate on line at to help our accompaniement of victims of AGATHA by the

Photo of Ever with his CAKE and the Band providing joy to the gathering!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Storm Agatha leaves destruction in its path!


Guatemala in the news again! The destruction left behind from Agatha has been great. The area are mission serves was spared loss of homes and deaths. Crops and water systems were devastated however, and this will bring increased malnutrition and disease from the contaminated water. Our clinic must prepare in advance for this human need. Most of the water of this area and the entire lower coast initiates in Volcano PECUL and nearby mountains.

Three major rivers originate there, River Ixtacapa, River Nahualate, and River Maza, and from here comes the springs of fresh water that flow into cement resevoir tanks. Piping is always inadequate, plastic and narrow, hanging across ravines. Most people have only one source of water in their home and often share this with a neighbor; others have none. WATER is precious here as it is in all underdeveloped nations; at home it is a commodity taken for granite and often wasted.

These rivers mentioned are the ones that caused flooding, major destruction and some deaths farther down the coast. Many of the communities affected are part of our Diocese here so we will join hands this weekend to collect food for these parish communities and neighbors with Pastoral Health. Aid, national and international, is needed to assist those suffering hunger and lack of shelter. The clinic will also donate some medication for children with infections in the areas more severely affected.

Donations to allow the Clinica Maxeña be more present to those in need can be sent to:
Guatemala Mission
Diocese of Helena
P.O. Box 1729
Helena, MT
59624 Note for the Clinica Maxeña

You can also donate on line:

Thank You for your concern!