Monday, January 31, 2011

Fire wood and Importance of TREES!

Friends and family,

Here in the Clinica Maxeña, the care of the ENVIRONMENT, is a major concern in our preventive health program. We are aware of the value and importance of TREES. Deforestation with lumber mills and also forest fires, and chopping trees down for fire wood is a major concern. Our Mission topped trees for safety this past week; many heavy branches were hanging over our road into town, over some of our buildings, while others were with disease. Branches, with the heavy wind, have fallen on our electrical wires and on top of one building, damaging the roof.

Our environmental project for ONIL STOVES cuts the use of fire wood to minimal quantities. As the photo demonstrates, our Clinic now has a lot of firewood available. We will share our bounty with the most poor. Firewood is expensive to buy; most families will go out into to wooded areas and pick up branches, especially the elderly. There are no electrical or gas stoves in the villages. More and More families have ONIL STOVES thanks to the generosity of many. If you can donate an ONIL STOVE to a poor family, it costs just 100. dollars. Our Clinic regularly raffles Onil Stoves and also donates them to the most needy. THANK YOU FOR PRAYERS AND GENEROSITY to our work in the Clinica Maxeña and to the ONIL STOVE PROJECT!!!!

Send a donation on line to and note for ONIL STOVE PROJECT.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Sustainable Agriculture Project

Friends and Family,

A New Year has dawned. This brings hope, excitement, energy to face new challenges and also to continue with previous goals, not yet achieved. One of our new Projects of the Clinica Maxeña is Sustainable Agriculture. Our workers are the first to benefit in initiating this project; their committment is to encourage others in their communities to learn from them. Hunger, under nourished children, increased poverty, unemployment, inflation of basic food products are reality. We realize the solution to be long lasting has to be achieved in a manner that is not dependent on others for continued charity but rather has its roots in their own culture.

Several of the workers have already built their chicken coops. The Clinica Maxeña provided materials for the structure and will provide 12 chickens to each worker and vaccine; then they are on their own to continue to feed and produce chickens and eggs for their own consumption. Agriculture Health Promotors of the Clinic will supervise and monitor different workers chicken projects. The Clinica Maxeña also is an active participant with chickens for the Clinica Maxeña Kitchen; workers from the Medicinal Nutritive garden will care for the Clinics chickens and these chickens will provide nutritious economical meals for patients and visitors to our Mission.

The next phase of the project is the sustainable vegetable and herb gardens. The purpose is again for consumption of the products in their own homes and to promote this project personally in their communities and as a clinic with our Nutrition Program for malnourished children. Stay tuned for PROGRESS!

Thank you for PRAYERS and FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO OUR WORK in the CLinica Maxeña!!

Send your donation on line to and note for the CLINICA MAXEÑA.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Our World here has changed!

Friends and Family,
I have been here many years; I have witnessed many changes. Actually I came a few years after our Montana Mission began in Guatemala in 1963. I was here before the trees and most of the buildings. Myself and another Montana Nurse found the Clinica Maxeña in 1966. We were pioneers in health care to the Poor in an underdeveloped mountainous region; primitive villages, rivers, and thousands of Mayan indigenous people peppered the mountains. Disease was rampant, including tuberculosis, whooping cough, measles, parasites, malnutrition, etc. There was no Medical doctor in town; we were thirty minutes from a poorly run, and under equipped National Hospital. Homes were made from bamboo and thatched roofs from bananna leaves and other vegetation. The roads were dirt and four wheel drive vehicles a necessity. There was no communication means except a primitive telegraph system. I learned to drive in Guatemala at 22 years of age. There were less that a dozen vehicles in this town of Santo Tomas La Union and we had three of them.

Now it is more than forty years later. I left Guatemala in 1983 during a very violent armed struggle with the Guatemalan military that left thousands of Mayan Indigenous people massacred, and over 30,000 disappeared. I too had to flee because of medically assisting the injured combatants and civilians. I lived in the refugee camps for several months with people fleeing the violence in southern Mexico. I continued to work in solidarity many years in the US for the people of Guatemala. My experiences are part of who I have become. I would not trade my experiences for any other life.

I lived in the United States for over twenty years and worked as a Registered Nurse; I returned again to Guatemala and to our mission in 2006. Life is different here now but it is still very difficult for the Mayan Indigenous and Poor. Our Mission has changed peoples lives. We sponsor a Junior-senior high school for the Mayans living in this mountainous region. Our pastor, James Hazelton, has made education available for thousands of young people. Over five hundred students enrolled this year. The Clinica Maxeña continues to serve the Poor. We have an excellent, committed Guatemalan Physician and 28 workers, including auxilliary nurses, laboratory persons, maintenance crew, cooks and others. Everday is a new day with many emergencies, very ill patients coming to our door. Our town has more than doubled in population with 14,000 inhabitants. There are hudreds of cars in town. The road out of town is asphault but most of the roads to the villages are still dirt and difficult to navigate. I feel blessed and Happy to be here. I am grateful for so many friends who walk with us in our Journey. THANK YOU!!

I include a photo of three wheel taxis on the main street of our town. There are over 100 of these taxis. Again I share the recent picture of the staff of the Clinica Maxeña for 2011!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Church and Health Care for the POOR

Friends and family,

There is no such reality here as Health Insurance! Health care is responsibility for the individual and It is BIG BUSINESS; the poor have few windows of reliable Care open to them, especially in some emergencies, acute and chronic illness and surgeries. The Catholic Church is on the Front Line and its Ministry of Pastoral Health opens doors and consolidates efforts; they challenge dificiencies in the government Health Ministry services.

The Plan for Solidarity, and Justice for Health comes directly from the Advisory Board of Latin American Bishops, CELAM. Each Diocese has formed different Pastoral Ministries whose representatives come from every parish in the particular diocese.

Missionary Disciples in the WORLD OF HEALTH is the Ministry which the Clinica Maxeña takes its MISSION, and defines WHO we are! Health is the affirmation of LIFE; it includes repectfully living with Nature: LIFE in relation to MOTHER EARTH, as MOTHER of LIFE and HOME and environment of all HUMAN BEINGS! HEALTH is a Fundamental RIGHT that Countries should guarantee and which all HUMAN BEINGS should have access to without priveleges nor exclusions.

The Clinica Maxeña is an active participant in Pastoral Health Ministry for the Diocese of Suchitepequez and Retahuleu. Each month myself and Martin, official representatives for the Clinic and Parish, attend the meetings that discuss plans, workshops, share resources with other parishes.

The Clinica Maxeña is preparing for EYE SURGERIES in the month of FEBRUARY. This brigade of Surgeons will include three from the Diocese of Helena, Montana and two doctors and nurses from California. We colaborate closely with the Agency for Blindness of the Ministry of Health, who will also send a Medical Opthamology Resident and Social Worker. These valuable services we do share with other parishes for their patients with cataracts and other eye disease. ¨Patients who can, pay a fee of $75.00, for eye surgery and $4.00 for consult with the specialist. Most patients of our mountain villages are exonerated. Care by Opthamologists, some local but mostly from the US, have been providing this service for over thirty years for patients of the Clinica Maxeña.

This weekend, I accompanied two of our workers and four of our surgical patients, to a Hospital administered by a Mexican Religious Congregation, funded by a charity organization of California and founded by an Italian Parish Pastor in 1975. This Hospital is an incredible contributor to the Health of the POOR. The journey of three hours, to the State of San Marcos, is well worth our efforts. They sponsor general and specialized surgeries every two to three months; the specialists are all US doctors who donate their talents to the poor. The reality is that elective surgeries are not availble in the National Health service but only emergency surgery, such as appendectomies strangulated hernias,and C Sections. The cost to the patient in this Catholic Hospital is approximately the same we charge for eye surgeries, $75.00. This includes transport and one of our workers accompanies the patient post op until brought back to the Clinica Maxeña.

Send your donation to and NOTE it is for the CLINICA MAXEÑA

I enclose a picture of the Hospital of the FAMILY of Nuevo Progreso, San Marcos, who serve our surgical patients, for hernias, hysterectomies and other general surgeries, at minimal costs. We are most thankful and Blessed to have them as FRIEND!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year in the Clinica Maxeña!

Friends and family,

Yesterday, was the first day of work for the Clinica Maxeña, in 2011. As always it is an all day meeting as we come together to share our plans, goals and hopes for the New Year. We have two new workers, replacing others who have left. Manuel and Josefa were welcomed into our family and together with all received two new shirts with the Clinic emblem, an agenda, and a silk like recyclabe bag that rolls up to carry. We hope to market our new bags to help the environment.

Our themes for 2011 have not changed; Diabetes, Nutrition, Aids, Women´s Health,the Environment, and our new project, Sustainable Agriculture. The minimal salary was just increased from 56 quetzales to 63.70 quetzales a day! That is approximatel 8 dollars a DAY! Most of our 29 workers earn minimal salary. We are optimistic that our new project, sustainable agriculture, will serve also as a teaching opportunity. If our workers succeed in producing plump organic chickens and small gardens, for consumption for their families, they can teach their neighbors. The poverty here is unimaginable for folks who have not visited us. Hunger is becoming more prevalent. Our Onil stove project has been a blessing; the reality though for many homes is their cupboards are bare. There is no food to cook on an ONIL STOVE!

We continue to GIVE THANKS for those who share their bounty with us. We dare to continue to ask. Please send your online donation to:


Sheila and all of the Clinica Maxeña.

I attatch our NEW Photo of our team in front of the CLINICA MAXEÑA on January 3, 2011 and also a photo of a very poor family with no food in the cupboards, for their children! Also a photo of their family home.