Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maria leaves as in patient at Clinica Maxeña

Friends and family,
Yesterday, we sent Maria, our 15 yr old patient with AIDS, to a home in her same community. She will be cared for by the president of Pastoral Social of our Parish, a single woman who lives with her aging parents.
Pastoral Social of our parish also will look for a solution for housing for this family and construct a simple home in another area than their present, unsafe, inadequate dwelling. Maria was smiling and content when she left the mission. She is excited with her ability to embroider and she quickly does the small projects we have provided. It is incredible how she mastered this art having never before embroidered. We hope to find her and instructor as we feel she could earn some income for herself through embroidery. Her mother and sister and other cousins are from the same community, but a short distance away. She will have frequent contact with them. She will return to the Clinic to be taken to her medical appointent and the AIDS CLINIC. She continues to receive psychological support from the Mayan Psychologist, Angel, who frequently assists us in these cases. The clinic will supply basic foods for the family caring for her. Thank you for helping us care for MARIA and other patients afflicted with AIDS. The state of Suchitepequez, where the clinic is located, is third in 22 states for incidence of AIDS.

The Catholic Church is very involved in accompaniement with compassion for persons living with AIDS. Two of our auxiliar nurses, Maria and Mari Elena, receive classes on AIDS monthly,
for a year and will be given a certificate from the University providing these courses, through Pastoral of Health of the Catholic Church. Lyncho, our Laboratory technician, represents the Pastoral health of the Diocese in a red of Institutions working to accompany and and find solutions and report statistics and problems for care and medicine from the Ministry of Health, for persons living with AIDS.

Yesterday, a woman from our parish, was transferred to Guatemala City Hospital, suffering complications of AIDS, while pregnant. Her husband recently returned from the US with this disease and passed it on to his wife; he then went back to the US. The babe died in utero before she could safely give birth by Caesarean. We will follow up with her care for AIDS when she returns home.

Health Care in this country is inadequate for the POOR and they do turn to the church for accompaniement. Thank YOU for walking and caring with us for these needs. You can donate on line to HELP US!!
Donate at Mention that it is for the CLINICA MAXEÑA.

Attatched are a photo of Maria, her mom, and younger sister, talking with the psychologist, ANGEL before she was discharged from the clinic in patient ward.

Also a photo of our laboratory Technician, Lyncho, our representative for AIDS. Lynch worked 25 years in the Hospital Laboratory and we feel blessed to have his committment and knowledge in the Clinica Maxeña. This photo shows the new microscope and microcentrifuge donated to the Clinica Maxeña Lab by a grant from the Diocese of Helena.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Learning from Others, and Sharing our Knowledge

Friends and Family,

Days slip by. The seasons here are at a different time of Year. This is the Rainy season, considered our winter. Rains have been heavy and travel very difficult. Life goes on and here in the Clinica Maxeña workers travel mostly by bus to different workshop to learn new ideas and share information. Our Medicinal Plant Clinic hosts groups from other clinics and communities to share their experience. The Medicinal Garden and Clinic, project of the Clinica Maxeña was founded over 15 years ago, and has over 100 Medicinal Plants and twenty Nutritive Plants.

Yesterday four from Clinic shared in our General Meeting their knowledge from A THREE DAY WORKSHOP entitled FIELD WORKER TO FIELD WORKER. It was in the fields of a very knowlegeable FARMER and the topic was Sustainable AGRICULTURE. The reality that most of the mountain people do have small plots of unused land, even if minimal. Food crops, to feed their families, must happen to fight the HUNGER that exists in Guatemala! This farm worker proudly shared his knowledge of the importance of organic crops, and animals and how one not only has for his family, but to exchange or sell in the market. His children work in the fields when they are not in school.

These Clinic Workers have proposed starting an Association for CLINIC WORKERS for Sustainable Agriculture. Several workers signed up for chickens, rabbits, or food crops. the Clinic will facilitate some finances for this Association as most our workers are on minimal wage and the Clinic cannot raise salaries as we wish possible.
These four workers will go to two more three day workshops to continue to learn new ideas to share with their fellow companions.

Enclosed is a photo in our Medicinal Plant garden and Juan sharing his expertise with visitors from another community and parish.
Also a photo taken in Clinic meeting with Miguel, Manuel, Sebastian and Miguel, sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge on sustainable agriculture.

You can donate to help us serve the Poor in the Clinica Maxeña at:

Thank You for Prayers and Support!

Friday, August 13, 2010


An update on Maria, our 15 year old gal Living with AIDS but positively. She smiles more frequently, responds to questions, her weight is increasing, she embroiders, colors, and watches Disney DVD´s. This weekend I will not be in the Mission so we decided to send her home with her mom. She has been a month as an in patient. She will return Sunday to the Clinic so to go to her appointment with the AIDs Clinic on Monday and we hope will start antiviral medication.

I went with Maria and her mom to their home this afternoon. I wanted to see what her home environment was so we could look to the future. I was sad as we walked through coffee and banana bushes to a small isolated shack. Her two little sisters ran up to greet Maria and their mom. In the home there is only one bed, made with boards, in a dark environment with no ventilation. There is no electricity, a dirt floor, open fire on the ground for cooking, no shelves with food. There exists no man of the house. I understood how Maria and her younger sister were raped, by an unidentified man, when home alone. MARIA and her mother remain silent on any details of the crime; they are afraid to say.

I brought food for the two days she will be home, THANK GOD; milk, beans, corn, protein supplement, sugar and a little cash. Chico will return to pick them up on Sunday to return Maria and her Mom to the clinic. We are looking for a family to care for Maria, in a nearby village, when she has better health. This will allow the Mom to work in the coffee harvest, which she has expressed interest and also allow Maria a more healthy environment to continue to heal. There are family members and neighbors who care for her other children while the mom is with Maria.

Thank You for walking with us in our Mission of Care for the most Needy. I don´t think I am as aware as need be to the extreme poverty and injustice that these people live with daily.
Thank You for your PRAYERS and financial assistance for our work in the Clinica Maxeña!

You can donate on line at: NOTE that donation is for CLinica Maxeña

I include three photos.
Maria and her Mom in the door of the clinic.
Maria´s mom inside the home
Maria, Mom and her sisters and other children near their home

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An adopted Child


Yesterday, Micaela and Francisco, in charge of our Program for malnourished infants and small children, made some home visits in a nearby mountain community.

Juan Otoniel is 3 months of age. He is an adopted child from a distant family member; the mother had rejected him at birth. His adopted mother Antonia, 30 years of age with three small children of her own, chose to adopt him when she heard the mother did not want the baby. Antonia and her young husband are extremely poor. They rent the small mud brick home from a neighbor for 30 Quetzales a month, equivalent to four dollars. They have no personal land and Max, her husband, works in the fields for four dollars a day, when he can find work. Their kitchen is of dirt floor and Antonia cooks over an open fire on the floor. When the baby was one month Antonia came to the clinic for assistance, as she has no breast milk. The infant was admitted to our nutrition program and receives formula and health care. Today when Micaela and Francisco made the home visit Antonia told them the baby developed jaundice or yellow pigment and very dark urine the last few days. This is a serious health symptom and she promised to bring the baby to consult at the clinic tomorrow.
When Micaela asked the mom why did she have the infant dressed as if a baby girl with the typical skirt; she smiled and said, I have no clothes for the baby so I cut off a piece of my skirt to wrap around the baby.

After this home visit the decision to give this family a donated ONIL stove was made. We will deliver and install the stove as soon as possible. This saves fire wood and eliminates smoke in the home.

Enclosed a picture of Antonia outside her home with the baby and also an older daughter, Manuela. The other photo is in her kitchen with her infant son, Juan Otoniel, near her cooking area over open fire on the ground.

THANK YOU to all who have donated $100. and make it possible to donate an ONIL STOVE to a poor family!

Donations can be sent to Clinica Maxeña STOVE PROJECT:

blessings Sheila

Friday, August 6, 2010

ASECSA: Organization of Promoters of Health

Friends and Family,

Today I am reminded of the reality how we all need one another and how working together can change the world. In 1978,the Clinica Maxeña was one of five founding members of ASECSA. ASECSA stands for Association of Community Health Services. Today there are over 60 Health organizational members, representing Health Programs from all 22 states of Guatemala. ASECSA provides workshops in Nutrition, Medicinal Plants, agriculture, basic medications, midwife training and a variety of other topics. Two clinic employees, Francisco and Micaela, represent the Clinica Maxeña in bi-annual Assemblies of ASECSA.

This weekend four of our workers are going to a three day work shop presented by ASECSA. The title is "CAMPESINO A CAMPESINO", which translated is field worker to field worker. More than 95% of our workers are Mayan Indigenous and live in town or the surrounding villages. All buy their vegetables on market day. It is notable that the vegetables are no longer organic but are genetically altered, and are produced using chemical fertilizers. Coffee is a main crop here and a cooperative that was initiated over forty years ago by our Mission continues to produce organically grown coffee beans. Our Medicinal and Nutritive garden also is completely organic. These workshops bring field workers together from many parts of the country to share knowledge and learn new ideas how to survive in a global network and to produce only organic food. They are presented by competent professionals who understand the Mayan culture, the needs of the people, and globalization. One topic to be presented will be how to effectively market their produce. When these workers return to the clinic they will share in a general meeting the ideas learned. Many workers are interested in having a small garden at home, or to produce chickens or pigs as an extra income or for consumption.

Photos include: one of three of the workers going to the Workshop, Miguel G. Juan and Miguel A. and Micaela, one of our ASECSA representatives. The second photo is a poster of one of the Manifestations supported by members of ASECSA.