Friday, February 25, 2011

Many Visitors, Busy Days in Clinic, and Mission!

Friends and Family,

This week continues very busy following a very successful week with eye surgeries with a visiting volunteer Opthamology team of doctors and nurses from California and Montana.

Monday arrived our Mission Director and two other visitors of the Diocese of Helena, Montana and three Engineers with the organization, Engineers without Borders. Two other engineers are already at the mission, Monty Giles and Pat Vaughn; Monty originally from Hamilton MT and a frequent volunteer and friend of the mission and his wife Tracy. Pat, also from Hamilton, has come previously to the mission and with Monty, are repairing needed electrical changes in the church. Monty and Pat have also done extensive water and electrical repair in the Clinic, which enables the clinic to function more efficiently. The Engineers without borders are working on water issues in the school of the Mission. It is important for us to take time out from our schedules to host these visitors. Thank you Dan, Grant and Kurt. We are a TEAM of many and from many different occupations, and regions of the country, who make our work possible and more successful.

Our Mission was established in 1963 by the Catholic Diocese of Helena, MT. We have witnessed many changes in the peoples lives, especially in education and health. We cannot resolve the violence, poverty, and injustice that surrounds us. We are CALLED to SERVE!

The BISHOPS of GUATEMALA recently published a Pastoral Letter, entitled "CONSTRUCT IN JUSTICE; INSPIRED BY GOD". This Pastoral Letter is an extensive analysis of the present situation and call to all Guatemalans to moral conversion, sustained by FAITH. We as people of MISSION are an integral part of this Call of accompaniement in this journey of HOPE to a more just, and dignified life for all!

Thank You for your Love and Prayers for all Guatemalans, and for your Financial Support of our work.

You can read more of our work on the web site under the title, GUATEMALA MISSION.

Love Sheila

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time Flies by this week in Clinic with Cataract Surgeries a Blesssing for Many!

Friends and Family,

Today is the last day of the Surgical Operations for Patients who live near and far from La Clinica Maxeña. We do advertise in other communities so more poor people have this opportunity. The GIFT of SIGHT is something we take for granted often until it is too late. Here also is the reality that it is indeed a LUXURY to have eye surgery, or any elective surgery for the POOR, as there is NO Health Care Insurance in this country. The National Health Service has Hospitals throughout the Country, including one about 15 miles from our Mission. They are poorly equipped and staffed so there are frequent Strikes by the workers and constant budget crisis with the National Congress. They have more Doctors for Medical consult in government clinics in most of the large communities now but again few medications to dispense. The cost of Cataract surgery is approximately 70 Dollars in our clinic; those who cannot pay are not charged. I will include some statistics and end of day.

Thank You for your interest in our Mission Clinic. Thanks very much for the generosity of the Opthamologic Team, for their financial and giving of SELF!
There are many joyful people who can now see more clearly the BEAUTIFUL WORLD around them due to eye surgery this week in the CLINICA MAXEÑA!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Opthamology Team arrives for surgeries!

Friends and family,
This past weekend the Opthamology team arrived for EYE surgeries; this project began in the Clinica Maxeña by Sr Mary Waddell in 1996. Twice a year, Opthamologists and surgical nurses have come from California. The Opthamology Surgery Unit, in the Clinica Maxeña, was constructed by Opthamologist, Joe Kupko from Hamilton, Montana in 1992. It was with great joy we welcomed these doctors at the Guatemalan Airport. This is the first surgical team that are mostly Montana Opthamologists.

One of the Doctors had missed a flight and was not with the TEAM. Bob Singer, from California, is known and loved by all at our Mission and in the Clinica Maxeña. Bob is 80 years old and has been coming with the Eye Team since its beginning. Myself and Miguel stayed to be at airport the next day to welcome BOB; he emerged smiling despite his long journey with lots of baggage of donated eye items for the Clinic.
Bob is retired now from his Opthamology practice but works as a voluteer math teacher in a California grade school where his daughter is a teacher. Here at the Mission he rises early to walk up town with others to buy the breakfast bread! His PRESENCE is a JOY and EXAMPLE for all. THANK YOU BOB! and all the Opthamology TEAM!!

The Opthamology Team are:
Bob Singer, California
Martin Fishman, California
Timothy McInnis, Montana
Joseph Kupko, Montana
Aaron Alme, Montana

Rosaria Camp
Connie Dey Rose
Nancy Alvarez Sims
Sr Mary Waddell
Dianne Kupko, Assistant!


Included the photo of Opthamologist, Bob Singer at work in the Clinica Maxeña
Also Bob greets my dog, COCO, on way up to the clinic.

Stay tuned for more news of Eye Surgeries at the Clinica Maxeña; FEBRUARY 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Day early!

Friends and Family,

Yesterday we celebrated VALENTINES DAY at our monthly general meeting. We decided on an early celebration as our EYE BRIGADE OF OPTHAMOLOGIST WILL BEGIN CONSULTS AND SURGERIES ON MONDAY, VALENTINES DAY. Simultaneously we will continue with regular consult due to the need of patients. Our visiting Medical Opthamology team, INCLUDING NURSES, will be arriving from MONTANA and CALIFORNIA.

Our meeting was serious and joyful. Chico reported on his workshop of Pastoral Healh he attended, entitled being CHRISTIAN and POLITICAL. Miguel shared his knowledge of living and being community in the Mayan culture. A lively discussion followed by several other workers with similar experiences and interest. Those interested will form a group to discuss and learn from the Guatemalan Bishops recent Pastoral Letter, entitled "Build Justice, Inspired by GOD. They will also continue to share experiences of life in their communities, and how working together builds a better tomorrow for their children. Later they will share their ideas with their fellow workers in a future general meeting.

The meeting room was decorated to the spirit of the celebration, Valentines Day, a day of FRIENDSHIP! Red hearts adorn the walls, red ribbon on the clay cups that were a gift from administration and a smallbag of chocolate hearts. The important climax however was sampling, in the clay cups, our new nutritive drink, "ATOLE LA MAXEÑA!.
As previously mentioned in a blog, this Nutritious powder mix includes ground, roasted rice, soy, wheat and corn. The drink is brought to a boil, cooked a few minutes and add sugar, cinnamon or other additives. Each worker was given a pound bag of the new nutritious drink to share with family. This next week another batch will be made and bagged and put to sale for our clinic patients and later in the month for the Nutritional Program. For our Clinic this is a triumph, having our own product to market for a more healthy life. The raffle for firewood climaxed the meeting as two workers went away with a bundle of firewood, a result of topping our trees, and they home with their bundle, to their ONIL STOVE!!

Thank You for your interest in our work and we hope you will donate to our projects and walk with us on our journey with a Mayan population in the mountains of Guatemala.

Send a donation for our CLINIC on line to

Included a Photo of Chico, in charge of PROJECTS for clinic as he proudly shares LA ATOLE MAXEÑA with fellow workers.
In other photo, Micaela explains the ingredients and how to prepare this new nutritional drink. Micaela is in charge of Medicinal Plant Clinic and also has diplomas in Nutrition.

Sheila McShane

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Babe arrived!

Family and Friends,

Greetings again from the Clinica Maxeña. The last week has been unusually busy. Dr Ever has been seeing more people than usual. He is a very good doctor and we are pleased that he is the Medical director of the Clinic. He and his wife Gloria have four children and they have built their home about 15 minutes from the Clinic in the agrarian community of Chocola. He has a private clinic in town that is open for a few hours in the evening. People seek him out also in his home. Thus he occassionally commits to deliver babies, as it is one of his joys in Medicine.

Maura was expected to deliver the weekend but she did not. Doctor Ever brought her to the clinic on Monday so he could keep his committment of Clinic hours. One of our auxiliary nurses was staying with her and also her aunt, a midwife was present as Ever began consult with the other patients. A few hours passed and he would go out to our small in patient area to check her. I was in my office near by.

The baby´s cry of arrival was a surprise as Ever came running out of his clinic, smiling, and I from the office. A little boy had come into the world into the capable hands of his aunt, the midwife.

Although there are now more women who deliver in the National Hospital than previously, having a midwife, is the norm for Mayan women. The National Health system is finally acknowledging this reality but minimally. When women arrive to the hospital, as an emergency, the midwives are not allowed into the hospital to be with the woman.
The midwives are not given any help in obtaining equipment from the ministry of health to make their vocation more safe and easier for their patients. Now there are classes provided in some areas for the midwives by the local government health centers in communities but their culture is not acknowledged. Most of the midwives of the mountain villages would not understand adequately spanish so they are quickly eliminated from these possibilities of education and recognition.

Health Care reform is vital to ensure safer Maternal Health for the mayan indigenous population. The Presidential election campaigns are just beginning in Guatemala. There is always hope that change will happen, that responsible, capable, honest leaders will step forward.

The Bishops of Guatemala just published a Pastoral Letter "Construct in Justice, inspired by GOD" addressing realites of human development and individuals contributing to the creation of a better environment to live, based on FAITH. Continue to pray for JUSTICE AND PEACE in Guatemala.

Thank You! Please continue to support our work by sending your donation on line to: Mention it is for the Clinica Maxeña


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Friends and Family,

This past week, within 24 hours, our clinic saw three adult cases of severe chronic malnutrition, all women. People are hungry. Prices of gasoline, basic food products, bus transportation, are on the rise. Unemployment is part of life here. Schools are back in session. There are no daily free snacks at schools for the small children.
Our clinic is giving more free consults and medications. Donations are down. This is a worry for us here in the Clinica Maxeña as we look to our budget for 2011.

Yesterday, three of our workers, prepared a new nourishing drink. We hope to encourage, sell, share, this product in our nutrition program and also prescribe for other malnourished patients. Micaela has attended workshops on Nutrition for the past year and will continue this year. This preparation will replace our use of whole milk and again it is using products that are more common for the Mayan population in their diets. Corn, rice, soya, and wheat were toasted and mixed in quantities learned by Micaela in her class. February 9, at our next Clinic general meeting, the workers will sample this new nutritive drink and we will prepare bags of one pound to have available in the clinic and in the nutrition program. This nutritive preparation by our workers will have the name "ATOLE LA MAXEÑA", and have a logo of our Clinic.

Last week the Nutrition Program held it first meeting for 2011; most of the children who were in the program for several months last year are fully recovered, 43 children from infants to 5 years. These children and mothers will now assist classes and receive nutritive snacks every three months; children, newly diagnosed with malnutrition, will be enrolled in the program. This program is free for the mothers and children and the children are examined monthly by our doctor and weighed by his assistant. They will receive our new nutritive drink.

Please put the Clinica Maxeña in your monthly budget!! You can send your donation to and note for the Clinica Maxeña and the Nutrition Project. thanks much.


I share a photo of one of the women patients who has chronic malnutrition and also Chico, Micaela and Giovani toasting ingredients of our new nutritive drink,