Friday, November 26, 2010


Friends and family,
All of us have family members, friends who live with DIABETES! It is a serious disease but one learns to live with. THE UNITED NATIONS HAS DECLARED DIABETES A World Wide EPIDEMIC. World Day of DIABETES was November 14. The CLINICA MAXEÑA commemorated the day today. Diet, Exercise, Medication, are the keys to success and living a healthy life with this disease. Today in the clinic, 65 persons attended the forum where our Doctor EVER, himself a diabetic, presented the theme. Glucometer checks and Blood Pressure checks were also done. Four new Diabetics were diagnosed, including one of our cooks. Several known diabetics, type 2, had glucoses over 300. Our clinic also promotes medicinal plants for Diabetes. These medicinal plants are more acceptable in the MAYAN culture and important to support chemical medicine with our patients. The Ministry of Health provides no medications. The Clinica Maxeña also has a Diabetic Club. We hope in 2011 to have many new members. Our emphasis is on NUTRITION and Exercise. THANK YOU FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT. Patients with Type 1 cannot afford Insulin so most of our patients receiven this medication free of charge and also the syringes. Blood glucose in our laboratory is less than three dollars. PLEASE HELP US in our STRUGGLE TO CONTROL DIABETES. THANK YOU!!!

Enclosed are pictures of WORLD DAY OF DIABETES! including Dr Ever presenting theme.
I also include a picture of THANKSGIVING DINNER; SRS MARY AND ANNA and Father Hazy. I took the picture and our volunteer, Jake Nistler is in language School. So Belated Happy Thanksgiving Day from all of us.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Friends and Family,
Yesterday I traveled a bit around the coffee production and sales in our area. Coffee has a good price this year on exportation. Unfortunately it does not have a good harvest for most of the people about us with small plots of coffee bushes. The storm AGATHA destroyed much of the flowering of the coffee trees, resulting with fewer red coffee beans. Pickers, including small children, rise at dawn, crowd into back of local trucks, and head out to pick coffee for the larger land owners. They are paid three dollars to pick 100 pounds of the humid bean, about eight hours in the hot sun. Here in our community the biggest plantation owner, with seven plantations of coffee, is receiving 208. dollars for each 100# of coffee, dried and toasted. His coffee is loaded with chemicals. There are many middle man coffee buyers and as always the POOR are those who recieve little or no profit for all their labor. Most field workers near us would own if any a small plot that would produce only a few hundred pounds of the humid coffee.

A Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative in one of the mountain villages, was founded over forty years ago by a Montana Priest, and continues to produce and export organic coffee. We can purchase this coffee here direct from the Cooperative but we cannot export it. This preparing the coffee for export is a WOMAN´s project and the coffee carries the label "Coffee Feminina". It is indeed a success story for our MISSION!

Remember the little coffee producers in your prayer when you drink your Coffee LATTÉ

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Little Val is now an ANGEL!

Friends and Family,
I did mispell my lttle patient´s name in my last blog, if you read it. It is Valitoriano or lit´l VAL. They did not operate the second time on this infant,as mentioned. We opted to send him to city yesterday at dawn to Roosevelt Hospital and I made contact with a good friend and Chief of Pediatric surgery. His health was critical but he appeared stable. Unfortunately VAL died unexpectedly from a respiratory complication, within three hours, though surgery was anticipated.
Unfortunately retrieving him for chrisitan burial is difficult and expensive in Guatemala. It is most important in the Mayan Culture, and in any culture, to be able to bury your own.
One of our workers and the dad, who had gone in the ambulance from one hospital to the other when he went, were in the hospital when he died. Right away the process to bring him home began. We were not anticipating his death so we had not send our worker with sufficient money for this emergency but friends in city responded to our need. The problem began when they made his death, for whatever reason, a legal incident. Unfortunately also was that his final document referred to him as a female, another complication. Funeral Homes somehow got my number from the hospital and I was inudated with phone calls wanting our business. We do our own, THANK YOU! With a few more calls to friends I did get a funeral Home that helps the Pediatric Cancer Hospital at a very reasonalbe rate to help our worker with the very complicated legal process. The fact it was now a legal incident, more paper work, an autopsy, and more money were needed.
We had paid our town ambulance to meet and bring back the infants body and our workers. They finally left the city but without the body, after midnite. The mother has to go in tomorrow! The father has to provide a document that he is married to the mother, of course he was not carrying it, and also her presence required. Today I will get a document from hospital of the birth of Val in the National Hospital since the Father does not yet have a birth certificate. Tomorrow they will go in again, the parents and our worker, CHICO; and hopefully bring him home for burial. Accompanying this family until the burial of their son is important to us as CLINIC and as PASTORAL HEALTH of our church.

Reality is that for most of the people we serve, fear the hospital, especially when they are gravely ill. They prefer to die at home, and with reason. We hope we can get more of our patients to advise us when they send a family member to the hospital so we can accompany them and help them in decisions. This baby should have had emergency surgery at birth for an intestinal obstruction but the parents were
afraid to say yes and especially to send their infant to the city. We did not become aware of his condition until they brought him to the clinic nine days later in crisis.

Yesterday was my birthday! I was busy but perhaps it also made me more aware of the precisous gift of LIFE! I had a good birthday also!

Thank You for accompanying us in care of the Poor we serve in our parish clinic.

Donations to Mention for the Clinica Maxeña!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Friends and family,
I have been very busy since my return from vacation, no time to write, but for me it is important to share the lives of the people we serve.

At the moment we have a two week old infant, clinging to life. As I am writing this, he is entering the operating room for the second time in a week. His name is Vilatoriano, an unusual name in the Mayan culture. This infant was born in the National Hospital. Most babies have midwives and deliver in the community, usually not in the best of conditions. They go to a hospital only with complication or emergency. Vilatorio´s birth was apparently normal, but he had an intestinal obstruction. The parents were afraid to send him to the city at birth as recommended by the Pediatrician. Instead they took him home in their arms. Nine days after birth they arrived at the clinic; he had begun to vomit stool and the little breast milk he was receiving. His little abdomen was distended. We rushed him back to the hospital.

That same evening, he was operated by a qualified Pediatric surgeon, in the same National Hospital where he was born. Ordinarily these cases would be sent to Guatemala City where there are more seasoned specialists, and equipment. The largest government Hospital in the city, THE ROOSEVELT, is again on strike. The first surgery has failed. There is not adequate diagnostic equipment available in this national hospital and they are not really sure of the origin of the obstruction. Please say a prayer for this infant and for his parents for a successful outcome of the second surgery. His mother has found another infant in the community to breast feed. This is important so her milk does not dry and common in the Mayan culture.

Thank You for your support that makes our service possible with the most poor in Guatemala.

Send a donation for the Clinica Maxeña at:

Love, Sheila

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Friends and Family,
Back home to another world after a wonderful rest and sharing with relatives in Ireland and England. I am richly blessed!

Yesterday I walked through the cemetery in town and visited with many of the people of our community,who sat quietly on graves of their loved ones. November 1st and 2nd; All Saints and All Souls day, in the Catholic Tradition, are celebrated throughout the country. Banks and many businesses are closed for the day. Our clinic also pauses to give opportunity for workers to be present to their families and departed loved ones. Candles glowing, flood the cemetery as people vigil through the night. Live bands go grave to grave, some say it is to wake the dead to be present with them. There are few fancy headstones; rather family members repaint the tombs and put anew the names and day of death on the tomb stone. Flowers are on practically every grave, even the most poor; sometimes flowers are gathered from the roadsides when they cannot be bought.

Guatemala City is recognized as the fifth most violent city in the world, not exactly an honor. Premature death from violence and increased poverty is a sad reality for many families!

Today by 6am all the numbers to see our doctor were gone, even though the clinic officially opens at 8am. Consult is $2.00, for those who can pay. The numbers of sick increases and poverty and hunger are on the rise. Tomorrow one of our female workers of 18 years will have surgery for cervical cancer in a private hospital. We will accompany her every step of the way. Ironically she is the person who performs papanicolau smears in our clinic regularly. Our maintenance person of 15 years is in diabetic crisis. Chico, the worker who accompaniews patients to city hospitals, returned with a patient being treated for sarcoma in the Cancer Hospital. We are grateful for your support and we dare to reach out to ask for your help and support. We who have been given much, much is expected of us!! Blessings and THANK YOU!

Donations can be made on line at: or send to
Guatemala Mission
Diocese of Helena
P.O. Box 1729
Helena, Montana