Sunday, May 29, 2011


Friends and Family!
May comes to an end. Here in Guatemala and in our faith tradition, it is the month of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and also the Month honoring our own mothers. The youth of our parish waited until tonite to honor the mothers in the parish! Mothers filled our meeting space! There was music, entertainment, laughter, gifts and food. The youth honored them in style. It is special, that throughout the month of May, there are many public celebrations by schools, communities, and churches for mothers. These are special days for them as most mothers would not expect gifts because of the poverty that exists but being honored for their vocation of motherhood is important in all societies.

My MOM always said, "BE GOOD TO MOM YOU WILL MISS ME WHEN I AM GONE! and I DO!!! Tomorrow is the last day of the Month of MAY and I hope all MOM'S know they are loved and how special they are in our lives.

Enclosed a photo of one of the youths singing to the MOTHERS!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Acute and Emergent needs DAILY!

Friends and Family,

Our Doctor, Ever, usually sees 30 patients daily. Numbers are given at 6am and usually before the half hour there are no numbers for medical consult. We have an auxiliar nurse who triages patients and also gives medication for minor illnesses; she also manages the women's clinic. Our emergency room sees two or three emergencies daily. Many patients come for hydration and we are able to transfuse patients when ordered by our doctor. Our laboratory, now with more complete diagnostic equipment, is a very busy service. The lab does all the tuberculosis slides for the local government clinic and this disease is becoming more prevalent.

Yesterday our doctor saw in consult a 12 yr old youth from one of the mountain villages. Manuel was having some respiratory difficulties and weakness; he is a junior hi student in Asuncion, our parish secondary school. Our doctor detected a mass in his nasal passage. We send him immediately with one of our workers to the neighboring city, where we knew a specialist from city was having private consult this day. The child was diagnosed with a nasal pharangeal tumor, hopefully benign, and will be referred to Guatemala City National Hospital. The father will bring him back to our clinic today and we will begin to make plans for his care.
Manuel's mother died when he was a child. His father is absent from the home, possibly in the United States, so his grandparents have been involved in his home life. He is a child of extreme poverty and we ask for your prayers in his care and also financial assistance to make possible his followup and diagnostic tests.

Donations can be sent on line to and note for Clinica Maxena.

or also donations can be mailed to
Diocese of Helena
Guatemala Mission
PO Box 1729
Helena, Montana
Note for Clinica Maxena; for medical expense for Manuel Tum; 12 yr old child
We will accompany Manuel in his treatment and consult. He now has an appointment for Monday with the chief Pediatric Surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital in the city.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Campus Ministry of Univ. of Montana share their lives!

Friends and Family,

It is always a joy to have visitors; they listen to the stories and inquire about the lives of these Mayan Indigenous people. The diocese of Helena, Montana have been journeying with these people for more than forty five years. Visitors slow us down to see the beauty in front of us. The wonder of rain and standing out in the middle of it, laughing and dancing to the raindrops, drenched to the skin. The noise of the buses at dawn as they pull out of town, with the loud horns, waking one up with a startle! The smiles of the children, are constant, even though they are hungry.

This week 13 visitors arrived at the mission. This group are mostly University of Montana Campus Ministry Program representatives; also included is the Director of Campus Ministry, and a worker of the Diocese of Helena and her husband. It is sort of an immersion dip into the reality of the world they encounter around them; it is distinct from the lives they lead on campus. They experience the poverty and yet joy of the Poor. The people are friendly and happy to have them in their midst. Today we shared the Clinica Maxena with them, including our Medicinal Plant Project and the Curative program in the clinic. They rode up in the back of the pick up with rain coming down. We stopped and visited a public Junior High school; an enthusiastic teacher talked briefly about the school. The reality is there are no books for the thirty students and only one Guide Book for the teacher for the eleven subjects he must teach. There are no computers, projectors or any teaching aides. Education is inferior in these village government schools and this make it difficult for students to advance to a University level. These visitors are sensitive to these realities as come together in the evening to reflect on their day! Tomorrow they will go to mass at a mountain village and share lunch with the community. There are adventures planned for the week. We are happy they make us also slow down and relflect on our lives in Guatemala.

Included a photo of the group, in the rain, in a small community we visited!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Friends and family,
There are many patients the Clinic is helping and following at the same moment. Most are special cases because of chronic disease, such as Cancer and Aids, Malnutrition, Diabetes. Others come and go and we are able to provide care that other wise would not be possible for them and enables them to go on with their lives. They are all special people for us and we feel blessed to have friends who make our work possible in these difficult moments in Guatemala. I wanted to share a little today about some of them.

Today, Francisco, elderly, no family, who has stayed many days with us as we treated his hipertension and he awaited hernia surgery was operated today in a Catholic Hospital, about three hours from our clinic. His surgery cost one hundred dollars which the clinic provided for him and was successful! One of our workers is with him there as he recovers and he will return to his home in a few days.

Maria, our 15 yr old with AIDS, has been living temporarily with an Aunt as her home is unsafe and inadequate. We are in the process in finding a more permanent solution so she can live with her mom and younger siblings. We will continue to accompany her in her treatments and nutritional needs. We may have to construct a small home with the assist of Pastoral Social Ministry but we must first find someone to allow us to build this dwelling on their land.

Catarina, 18 yr old with insulin dependent diabetes and severe malnutrition also has been spending many days in clinic for her nutritional needs. Her diabetes has stabilized with adequate nutrition which was not available at home. She is slowly gaining weight.

Maria and Catarina are two Uterine Cancer patients who are in treatment in the Cancer Hospital in the city. The clinic has been accompanying them and also paying for their radiation and Chemotherapy. This support is a special program for needy patients that is managed by Sr Anna of our mission team. Their treatments are going well. They were diagnosed in our Women's clinic through Pap smear diagnosis.

This past week, Francisca, 10 years old was admitted to our in ward with fever of unknown origin. She is accompanied by her mom and her 11 year old brother, who is very attentive to her needs. She has been quite ill with the persistant fever which appears to be DENGUE. She has intestinal parasites also. She is on the road to recovery and will have more laboratory tests tomorrow. Their dad went to the states four years ago and they do not have communication with him. He appears to have deserted the family.

All these patients are dependent on your generosity for us to meet their health needs. Care in the clinic is very economical; three dollars for medical consult and laboratory tests are two to three dollars for those who can pay. We do not turn patients away. We do attempt to investigate their ability to pay some when they are chronic cases, and many times they are able to do so. Others will do some work around the mission when they are well to pay for the care we provided. Thank You for walking with us on this journey.

Included a Photo of Francisco, elderly man in prayer outside of clinic, that was operated today in a private catholic hospital. The second photo is Francisca in bed recovering from an acute illness in our in ward. She is receiving support from her brother, another FRANCISCO!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Libby MT Rotarians continue their struggle to bring WATER to two communities!

This past week five members of the Rotary Club of Libby, MT made their third journey to Guatemala to assure that their WATER PROJECT for two communities will become reality. This has been a three year struggle to complete requisites and responsibilities in order to begin the project. Both these Mayan Indigenous communities do have water access but increase in population, heavy storms have damaged and decreased access of this precious gift of nature. The origins of the water are rivers that flow from the top of the Volcanoe PECUL! The forest that surrounds these sources of water are vital for the preservation of this sacred element of "WATER"! Since it is a Rotarian project a Guatemalan Rotary Club must accept responsibility to supervise the project and assure that the paper work and financial agreement is completed. George and Linda, Gary and Kate, and Eileen represented the Montana Libby Rotary Club; this club raised thousands of dollars and recieved support from other national clubs for this project! THANKS for your dedication and persistence. Thanks also the the Rotary Club of Matzatenango, Guatemala whom have accepted this committment!! The Clinica Maxena is the facilitator for the project and translator for these Quiche Mayan speaking communities. Thank You also to David, the Guatemalan Engineer who is responsible for a successful conclusion and to Chico, clinic representative and facilitator. We await in the near future to celebrate the completion of this project!! and Celebration of JOY for the communities who will have the water they need for their future and that of their children's children.

THE UNITED NATIONS have proclaimed water as a HUMAN RIGHT! We all have responsibility to participate in preserving and making accessible WATER for all!

Included a Photo of Libby, Montana Rotarians: George and Linda Gerard, Gary and Kate Huntsberger and Eileen Carney. Also Photo taken near the present inadequate water tank and tubing in the Community of San Juan Mazza with members of the Clinica Maxena and representatives of the community.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sharing, Celebrating, coming together to dialogue!

Friends and Family,
Many issues and patients, meetings delay our monthly reunions as a clinic team. Today we came together to celebrate the Day of the Worker, which was May 1st, Mothers Day, May 10th and to plan days of solidarity for the Environment and patients who have died from AIDS. Our meeting began with a sharing of Lunch and music and prayer. We discussed our project of Sustainable Agriculture, the theme of Environment, which is the "FOREST", the reality of Party Politics in our midst, and Dr Ever explained the Health Crisis in the country. The latter, as a health clinic, was very important that we share. Ever explained the response of the Episcopal Conference to the health initiative that is being presented in Congress and the reality that the Health crisis is critical for the future and the responsibility of all to be informed.

At present we are hosting members of the Libby, MT Rotary, who are here to discuss a water project with local Rotarians, and hoping for a positive solution to issues which have delayed the project. Also in the month of May we will host Pastoral Youth the campus of the University of Montana for ten days. These visits are very important to our work here in our Mission; we share the reality of these beautiful Mayan people with others, who participate in their lives, through their interest and financial support.


Love Sheila
Foto of celebration of Mothers day with the women workers in our CLINIC!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Health Care Issues Critical for many patients!

Friends and Family,
This past week the National Commission of Health Care, for the Bishop's Conference of Guatemala, issued an urgent message to the public, following approval of an health initiative that fails to meet or guarantee basic health needs of the population. This Commission requests an immediate meeting of all sectors involved in health care to a dialogue, so that this very necessary Law for health care, include universal and financial coverage for all guatemalans, and that it be a real and part of the political agenda for years to come. Privatization of care is not a solution in this poor country, nor can the Church and other charitable institutions carry this burden; it is the responsibility of the government.

An elderly man, with no immediate family, has been an in patient the last ten days in the clinic. He has a cardiac condition with hypertension and suffering a serious hernia that requires surgery. Our doctor has referred him to the national hospital and they have refused to perform surgery because of his cardiac complication; we have taken him to an internist for evaluation and have approval for surgery. We are hopeful he will have his surgery in fifteen days when volunteer surgeons come to a catholic hospital, located three hours from our clinic. Meanwhile he is fearful to stay home alone because of episodes of acute pain, so we continue to monitor him in the clinic. Our own doctor is anticipating to accompany the patient and possibly participate in the surgery. These surgeries cost the clinic one hundred dollars plus cost of transportation, medications and laboratory tests. He will return to the clinic for recuperation. This is one of many, many patients that depend on care from private, charitable institutions; these patients should receive immediate and complete care in national hospitals. Please pray for Francisco that these fifteen days will pass quickly and he can return home in better health. Please also pray that the right to health care in Guatemala be universal and just and accept the cultural diversity of the Mayan population, be integral and equal for all and that it be the LAW passed by the GUATEMALA CONGRESS! This law must and should then continue regardless which party wins or governs this country, for years to come!

Photo of Francisco, sitting outside the clinic this morning, in prayer!

Donate on line at to help our work with the sick. thank you!!