Saturday, September 24, 2011


Friends and Family,
Tomas is 77 years old. He is the father of 8 and over 65 grandchildren and great grandchildren. All his family have built their homes together in their small plot of land. He is well accompanied now in this final journey of life. He has liver cancer; we have taken him to the city to the Cancer hospital; his diagnosis is confirmed and the family is aware and accepting that comfort care is all that can be offered.

Tomas worked over 30 years in the Clinica Maxena as janitor and night guard; he retired two years ago; he is well loved and respected by all the workers. He has a very deep faith and shares his spiritual wisdom with all. He is a eucharistic minister and often visited the sick to administer the blessed sacrament; now others are doing the same for him. He spends most his day in the reclining chair that the clinic bought for him. Daily visitors are coming to spend some time with him and his wife Maria. He can barely now get around with the walker.

We decided last week to bring Tomas to the clinic to share lunch with the workers. We welcomed him and his wife Maria with music and joy. He is weak and jaundiced but as always he is smiling. We all enjoyed chicken stew lunch. On the table was the statue of Hermano Pedro, a proclaimed Saint for the SICK. Hermano Pedro is from Guatemala and his picture hangs in the entrance of the clinic. I presented the statue as a gift to Tomas. After lunch each worker knelt to hug Tomas. Tomas continued his don of giving encouragement and advice to each worker. Tears and hugs shared.

Tomas is my Cumpadre, that is, I am the Godmother of four of his children in Baptism. I was very young then when he asked me. I remember very fondly taking him and his young family on a journey to Esquipulas, the National Shrine of the Black Christ. This was an eight hour journey and we went on the bus. I remember there were beggars on all the steps up to the entrance of the church. Tomas went up the steps, dropping a few coins in each of the beggars hands. This deeply impressed me as Tomas and his family were very poor themselves.

Life has its blessings and having Tomas as a friend and cumpadre is a very special blessing for me. Thank You Tomas!!


Attatched are photos with Dr Ever presenting Tomas with funds collected from fellow workers, the statue of Blessed Brother Pedro with candle and Tomas giving words of encouragement and gratitude to me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Veggies are Planted as World Day of Hunger approaches

Friends and Family,
This past week, our agricultural team spent another day with Mother Earth. This time we planted some of the unused land on our mission property, as a demonstrative garden, with several vegetables and herbs. The clinic agricultural team will complete this phase of the project next week; we hope to have a few of the vegetables and herbs for our Organic Produce Fair on October 16, World Day of Hunger. We know we will have a lot of the herb, BERRO, to use in some delicious recipes and also to sell that day. Also we will have a delicious Chicken stew we are calling Organic chicken stew, LA MAXEÑA! One of my dear organic chickens will be enjoyed by many.

Today, mothers of malnourished babies came together to learn new concepts of how they can supplement their babies diet, pick up infant formula, weights obtained, and a few ill babies had doctor consult. They also visited the newly planted garden.

Keep tuned as our project expands and World Day of HUNGER draws near!

TODAY also is International Day for Peace. Workers paused for a minute in prayer for individual PEACE and PEACE in our World!

Attatched is a photo of the team watching as two women workers, Estefana and Maria, plant Amaranta, a plant rich in protein. Another photo, shows some of the mothers with malnourished infants, visiting the newly planted garden.

Blessings of PEACE from Guatemala!

Remember you can donate on line at and note it is for the Clinica Maxeña. Thank you for your support and interest.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Agricultural Garden has a NAME!

Friends and Family,
It has been five weeks since we planted BERRO, a nutritive, medicinal plant in our Agro-sostenible Garden, about three miles from our clinic. We are excited to see the success and we will be presenting the nutritive herb, Berro, as part of celebration of WORLD DAY OF HUNGER on October 16th! We will also use the first harvest in our Nutrition class for malnourished children during the monthly nutrition class. The mothers will be taught a few recipes of Berro, and given some of this nutritious herb to take home. We will in the future be providing them class on planting vegetables and providing seedling to them.

Yesterday the Agricultural team met to discuss plans to now plant vegetables in the extra space on the mission property, as a demonstrative garden. There is talk of potatoes, beans, celery, radishes, amaranta, and yucca. These are all vegetables grown in the mayan culture and sold in our Sunday market; most of our population would not enjoy these nutritive foods for financial reasons.

The agricultural team also decided on a name for our garden in the Mayan Village of Xejuyup, "GARDEN, MARIA IXCHEL". MARIA IXCHEL is the MAYAN GODDESS of PLANTS.

We also harvested our small patch of corn cobs that we planted a few months ago and we will celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY OF GUATEMALA, which is September 15th, with a hot drink of ATOLE DE ELOTE, a cultural drink from corn, for the Mayan population, with the workers today.

From all of us in the Clinica Maxena, our greetings and thanks for your financial support, which makes possible our work in serving the Poor, in this region of the world!
Attatched is our Garden "MARIA IXCHEL" and the Herb BERRO!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuberculosis makes a comeback!

Friends and Family,
There have been many changes in Health Care during the more than twenty years I was absent from Guatemala.  Certainly notably is the presence of an increase of doctors in the rural area.  Diagnostic tests are much more common to confirm and to diagnose illness.  The Clinica Maxena has grown as has the population.  Health needs are much more complex but the poverty has increased and this complicates the health care of such a vast population.  The Ministry of Health care system for the population has become less efficient and little improvement has been made in hospitals and the rural health care system by the government.  The Catholic Church and other private health systems struggle to help the most poor with acute and chronic illness.  Diabetes, Cancer, Tuberculosis, Malnutrition, AIDS, are the most acute illnesses and costly at this time for our Clinic.

Today we admitted to our infirmary, Magdalena, 25 year old single mom, with Tuberculosis, severe anemia and malnutrition; she weighs only 78 pounds. Last week we did transfuse her with two units of blood provided by siblings.  She lives with her parents, brothers and sisters in a two room, rustic home, in a mountain village. Her son is four years old.  Tuberculosis medications are provided by the Ministry of Health.  Next week her child will be checked with a skin test for tuberculosis. The other family members will not be checked unless symptomatic. Great limitations for diagnosis and treatment exists for financial reasons but it is discouraging to see Tuberculosis back on the health scene. Please keep in prayer all the dear people we serve and if possible send us a donation to help us provide improved medical care for all those who knock on our clinic door. Thank You and blessings. sheila

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