Friday, April 29, 2011

Busy times in the Clinica Maxeña

Friends and Family,
Monthly diabetics come together in the Clinica Maxena to meet with a Nutritionist and evaluate their glucose, blood pressure, and weight. Forty came this morning, and this is a fraction of the many diabetics now diagnosed in our clinic. Carolina, the Nutritionist, will provide a more accurate diet for our type 1 diabetics, who are now suffering malnutrition and one on one nutritional consult. Obesity is also a common symptom with dibetics and another theme being presented in groups. The Medicinal Plant clinic presents teas specific for diabetics, a natural sugar substitute without chemicals, soya another important nutrient in this culture. The medical needs and control is vital for these patients to prevent secondary illness.
It has been a very busy week in the clinic. This morning a 12 day old baby went home with her mom from our in patient ward. The baby was born with a mid wife at home but the mom resulted with an infection at went to the hospital several days ago. The grandmother had brought the baby to us as she did not have formula to give the baby. Thankfully in this culture, in these emergent situations, other mothers breast feeding from the same community will provide breast milk. The grandmother was able to find some support from these other mothers but the baby was not thriving. He weighed only 5 pounds at birth. I went to the hospital to see how the mom was doing and she was being discharged. We had brought our breast pump with us to see if we could get permission to pump her breasts, so her milk would not dry up, but this was not necessary; we brought the mom and baby back to the clinic. With the breast pump we were able to stimulate her production of breast milk as it was beginning to dry. This is a very serious complication as mothers can not purchase formula and naturally breast milk is most important to infants. After two days in the clinic the mom went home with her new baby boy! She will return for check up with our doctor and we will monitor closely the infant.
Maria, our young patient with AIDS, came for a check up, and to pick up some of our nutritious atole. She continues to improve and enjoy being back in the classroom. May 13 the Clinic will commemorate solidarity with AIDS patients with others from Pastoral Health from the diocese here. We will have a candle light vigil for victims. This is a national day for Solidarity with AIDS patients in the country.
Continue to remember these people in prayer. Also thank you for your interest in our work and your financial assistance.
Fotos include Maria, living with Aids with our auxiliary nurse, Maria, who monitors her care and
Carolina, Nutritionist from Pastoral Health of our diocoese here, talking with a new diabetic, Manuel.
Send your donation to
Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, MT 59624
note for the Clinica Maxeña

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Illness and Poverty!

Friends and Family,
Over Holy Week and still today one of our young diabetics has been in our in patient ward. Catarina is 18 years old and lives with her parents and six siblings. She has only third grade primary education; she is illiterate. Her father works for less than minimal wage as a chauffer for transport between communities. Catarina is severely malnourished, which complicates her diabetes. Her dad believes the disease is from witch craft, making more difficult compliance in medication and diet. Today when I asked Catarina what she ate at home, she responded, sometimes just tortilla, as at times we have no food in the house. Tortillas, made from corn, are high in carbohydrate and must be minimal in the diet and combined with other foods for a diabetic diet.

When she arrived at the clinic last Wednesday, she had shortness of breath, cough, and severe ear infection, dehydration and a glucose of over 500. She had not used insulin for ten days. The clinic was closed but I admitted her and consulted our doctor; she is still with us today. She responded well to diet, intravenous fluid, antibiotic, insulin and rest. I would like her to stay for an extended period, if I can convince her of the importance. Her sister stays with her and other family members visit her. Friday is Diabetic Club in our clinic and for me it is important that she attend. One cannot give up on these patients. The cultural beliefs, the poverty, complicate the control of this disease. Please pray for these young patients that they heal and enjoy life as meant to be. Thank You!

Send a donation to
Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, MT
or donate on line: for the Clinica Maxena.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easer Vigil, EGGS, and Buenos Noches! Good Night

Friends and Family,
It is late. We are just back from Easter Vigil Mass, and short procession with the Image of the Resurrected Christ. Church with new white banners instead of the purple of yesterday, and altar adorned with gorgeous white blooms. Blessing of the new Fire, the water of Baptism, Easter Vigil candle, reading of the gospels, celebration of MASS; these are all part of celebration of Easter, all over the World, for those who share our Faith tradition. Great to share coffee and tacos after procession with friends of the parish. Back to the mission to indulge in one dyed egg before heading to bed. Tomorrow a new day. The newspaper is not printed on Holy Thursday or Good Friday. A relief with the violence that daily occurs here. In some parts of Guatemala there are actually some truces honored by some gang members during Holy Week. Tomorrow the newspaper will bring the news, hopefully good news of some peace efforts among peoples. Pray for PEACE!

Tomorrow, EASTER SUNDAY, is Ham dinner and a touch of wine to celebrate as a Mission family! HAPPY EASTER to all and to all a good night. love Sheila

Included foto of Sr Anna before altar in church; Youth carrying statue of Resurrected Christ in streets following easter vigil; Sr Anna admiring the eggs!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Guatemala celebrated with early RAINS!

Friends and Family,
I returned home to Guatemala from my journey to the states on Tuesday. I knew I wanted to be here for Holy Week. The lives of the people here, pause, businesses close, streets and churches are beautifully adorned, families come home. The Passion and Death of Jesus is re-enacted in the streets, from small communities to the cities. Tourist flock to Antigua, Guatemala to witness this majestic tradition. Going to Antigua is an incredible experience but when one lives here you prefer to be with your own parish and community. And so I was. Rains came early with a fury, and everyone was drenched as the processions ventured out into the streets after the religious services. Today beautiful rugs were created in the streets out of colored sawdust and natural greens. The rains washed away some of these "afombras" as they are called in spanish, before the procession of life size statues, carried on platforms by many men and women, walked through the streets with candles and songs. The crucifixion also is re enacted on one of the corners and the man chosen as JESUS is tied to the cross for three hours. On Holy Thursday, bread is exchanged by families and shared also with the poor who cannot afford the custom. So from the early morning people come knocking to bring the gift of bread, symbolic for the bread of the Eucharist. Tomorrow is a day of rest for families, many will go to the river and others to the ocean. Sister Anna, of Ukranian descent, has brought the custom to our Mission of dyeing beautiful EASTER eggs, Ukranian style, and so this will occupy much of our day tomorrow. Blessings to all as we await EASTER, and celebration of Resurrection of Our Lord in our Lives and world. Love Sheila

Attached the first foto is of our church, after the rains on GOOD FRIDAY and before procession departs to street. The second foto is of the Parish youth sawdust rug inside the door of church, after rains had washed it away outside the entrance; the altar and statues can be seen in background!

Monday, April 11, 2011

SHARING in Parish of St Francis, Hamilton, MT: and CELEBRATING with CSJP!

Friends and Family,
I have moved on to Seattle, following a very enjoyable and successful sharing at the Parish of St Francis in Hamilton MT. These people included many friends who have been a great support for our Mission in the past. Several, including the Pastor, Fr. Jack have visited our Mission. This fundraising endeavor has been enjoyable and successful. We could not be present and serve in Guatemala if it were not for the prayers and financial support that comes from the Diocese of Helena, MT. and many other friends from other states and faiths. The needs of the people are great at this time as the economic crisis is causing hunger and greater illness.

The weekend I shared with the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace Congregation of which I am an associate, at their Assembly. I renewed my covenant for five years. The Theme of the Assembly was TO ENHANCE THE BEAUTY OF THE WHOLE! "SPIRITUALITY OF THE CARE OF CREATION! A new imagining of our relationship to GOD, to EARTH and to ANOTHER. Reality is that it is the poor countries that suffer the greatest consequences of climate changes. Nothing we can do for the POOR can compensate for the damage we have done by raising the temperature of the earth. What is your CARBON PRINT.

I return to Guatemala on Monday. It has been a joyous journey. I have visited many of our parishes and friends who make our presence reality in our GUATEMALA MISSION, I have shared with men and women of Faith who are part of my life as an Associate of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, I have been hosted by family and friends who are part of my LIFE. I am richly blessed. THANK YOU!

I include a picture in the parish center of St Francis Parish in Hamilton, after mass, with Dianna Kupko and a young parishioner who knitted small bags for school children in Guatemala; and myself with other associates renewing covenant as part of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace.