Sunday, January 31, 2010

Visitors at the MISSION

Friends and family,
Time seems to fly here; more so when we have visitors accompanying us and getting to know mountains and villages and wonderful people we serve, our work and needs. This past week, Bishop George Thomas has been with us with two other priests of our Diocese, two teachers from Missoula, the Director of the Montana Conference and Mark the Director of our Mission. A newspaper editor from the Independent Record is also here with them. It is important others witness the needs here of the poor.

Each year our two important projects have expanded with the need. Our secondary school, La Asuncion and the CLINICA , which serves the Mayan Indigenous of this mountainous region of Guatemala. Bishop George Thomas concelebrated many masses, met with leaders of the different projects, and tomorrow we they will relax at Lake Atitlan.

In one week we will be welcoming the Opthamologists Brigade from California and Montana; they will perform many cataract operations in the Clinica Maxeña at minimal or no cost. Surgeries are an aspect of health care that has little or no acess for the poor in the Public Health system. Surgeries, such as hernias, are not performed until they are strangulating or an emergency crisis; gall bladder surgeries have a very long wait for the patients and consequently they suffer uneeded, excruciating pain. 0ther health clinics, often from other faith denominations, also send Medical Brigades to do surgeries, which is a wonderful service. These surgeries are usually performed for one hundred dollars or exonerated for the very poor.



Will post some pictures later!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Clinica Maxeña in 2010

Friends and family,
The New year has begun with much activity and many consults and emergencies in the Clinic. There are many other health centers in the area but it does not seem to decrease our statistics. Many of our patients are chronic illnesses that must be followed. This would not happen in the Public Health System.

We are happy to report on one youth, Catarina, 14 years, and one year ago paralyzed from the neck down. is now enrolled in her second year of Junior High at Asuncion, our Parish School. Her diagnosis of auto immune muscle disease has responded to steroids and she continues in care of a Neurologist and taking daily steroids. She can do moderate exercise, and walk without difficulty. Her diagnosis came after consultation of specialists, hospitalization, and special diagnostic tests.

Feliza, another youth who also had several consults of specialists, diagnostic tests, intestinal biopsy, before she was correctly diagnosed with Tuberculosis of the Intestinal tract. She is also back in school and gaining weight and happy. Her treatment will be for an extended time.

This weekend we admitted by ambulance, to the nearby National Hospital, an 80 year old woman from our parish who had fallen and has a severe thigh fracture. It still is not known if they will operate and place a metal prothesis in her fracture as other doctors will evaluate her as to her risks for surgery. Unfortunately many elderly patients are denied surgery and spend the rest of their lives bedridden and at the mercy of others for basic needs. We will pay for the prosthesis and also someone to oversee her recovery for six months in the Clinica Maxeña if she should have surgery.

Juana, another frequent patient at our clinic is recovering with us from Gallbladder surgery. For four months we waited and made visits to consult at the National hospital in vain to have her surgery performed there. This is our first surgery experience with a Brigade of American Surgeons with the Church of Christ in a nearby town. Her surgery was less than one hundred dollars and was done with minimal invasion and technique of video cameras. She is happy now to be free or pain and will be more available now to her children.

We are preparing for a Brigade of Opthamologists in February for eye operations, mostly Cataracts. These specialists, with their surgical nurses, will come from California and Montana. Patients who can pay give a donation of 100. dollars for their surgery which helps the budget of the Clinic. Many of the patients do not pay anything because of their poverty. We are greateful for the generosity of these Physicians for this valuable service.

This week Guatemala also had a heavy tremor so we remember in prayer and concern the People Of Haiti.

Thank You for your assistance to those we serve.
Enclosed photos of the two youth, Feliza and Catarina, who continue to recover their health and a photo of Maria, our elderly patient in the hospital, with a severe fracture. Prayers for her.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

TOMAS leaves the CLINIC

Good Morning Friends and Family,

With the dawn of the New Year comes some changes in the Clinic. Yesterday we celebrated the Retirement of Tomas, who has been with the Mission and Clinic for 42 years. Tomas has been one of the Mission Night guards and Clinic Janitor; he has been the most loved and respected of our workers. He has eight children, 42 grandchildren and greatgrandchildren too. He is very active in the parish, visiting the sick, a communion minister, and also goes to jail to visit inmates. He is one of the few Mayan elders who is sought out to fulfill the custom to accompany parents when they request the daughter of another for marriage to their son. We know his life now at a retired person will be very busy and fulfilling. Our celebration was at a nearby plantation with soccer field and swimming pool. The Clinic Band provided joyous music and the cooks provided a delicious barbecue. His presence in the Clinic will be missed by ALL! I include a picture of Cirilo, clinic accountant, presenting a gift from the Clinic workers to TOMAS LOPEZ.

Next week we will welcome Angel Soval. Angel, psychologist, Mayan and Quiche speaking, will begin to work in the clinic one day a week. He has been accompanying our patients with AIDS, as this is his area of speciality. He will also see patients with emotional issues in the Clinic. We hope in the future to increase his hours as the need is great. Accompanying patients with AIDS is a Ministry of Pastoral Health and one the Clinica Maxeña has been very involved. I include a picture of the Clinica Maxeña´s recent participation in World AIDS Day. A group of patients living with AIDS, with Angels guidance, presented theatre of how they live with their disease and discrimination.

As we begin the new year I thank you for your continued interest and support.


You can support our work by sending a DONATION to
Guatemala Mission
Nurses Fund
Diocese of Helena
P.O.Box 1729
Helena, MT.
59624 or donate on line at: