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1 death, 1 accident, 1 family: Magdalena

February 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

We came to know Marta Magdalena through a tragedy.  Her mother came to us with the sad news that Marta Magdalena’s 6-year old brother had died during the night.  Ronnie, had awakened at 4 AM with severe stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting and became gradually worse.

At 7 am, the father desperately went to a neighbor who had a pick up truck to take Ronnie to the hospital.  But on the way to the hospital little Ronnie died in his father’s arms. They returned to the village, grief-stricken to share the news with the mother, Faustania. 

The pickup driver then drove the father to buy a coffin, but on the way the pickup driver lost control on the steep and bumpy road and the truck flipped over and landed on the father. The tires rammed over the father’s legs. He was badly injured but refusted to go to the hospital.

When I entered the simple two-room house that was home to eight people, I saw the father lying on a wooden frame bed with a wooden board for a mattress, moaning quietly.  Near him on the ground was a small white coffin containing Ronnie’s little body, surrounded by pine needles and candles and a picture of Jesus. It was all I could do to not to burst into tears. I hugged the mother and proceeded to examine the father.

He was in much pain and his legs were swollen and bruised with many cuts; he was not able to move his legs.  I told him we must get him to the hospital to get X-rays, bute said he would not leave till they had buried his son.

The custom in Guatemala is to spend almost 24 hours beside the body of the deceased and receive family and friends. Embalming is not customary, so the body must be buried within 24 hours by law. They family of the deceased serves several rounds of coffee and bread to all the visitors. Many times when some one dies we prepare a package of coffee, sugar and bread to give to the family. In the morning, they have a service and the person is buried.  In the village areas, the body is buried in the ground with a simply grave marker. There is a formal cemetery is in the next town farther down the road. If they have money to be able to buy a spot in the cemetary, then they family and friends will walk the 10 km to the cemetary, carrying the body. If they have enough money, they will hire one or more pickups to carry everyone and bring them back. 

Ronnie’s father insisted he would not leave his son’s side until he was buried, and no amount of persuading could move him. I made him promise to go to the hospital after that. I explained how to take some pain medicine and elevate his seriously swollen legs.  I left money for a pick up to take him to the hospital, praying his lower legs were not broken.

When I came back the next day to visit the family, the father told me he had gone to the hospital and thankfully, his legs were not broken. However, he sadly related to me that he had been treated very rudely at the public hospital. I could see the hurt in his eyes as he explained how he was treated. At this time when he was hurting so badly from losing his son, why does the doctor have to be so rude? This rude treatment is another reason that it is so hard for us to get people to agree to go the hospital. Many times I accompany them so they get better treatment.

While I was in their home I noticed a baby of about 10 months, a beautiful bright-looking little girl who was coughing a lot. I asked the mother to come back to the clinic so I could examine the baby, Magdalena. On examination I concluded that she had pneumonia and a serious leaking valve in her heart. The mother burst into tears on hearing the news’ I hugged her to comfort her.

I assured her we would go together to the heart hospital to have her examined by specialists. There is a good heart hospital in the city that is semi-private.  The family was too poor to even pay the reduced amount that they needed for the surgery, as the father could not work for 2 months as his legs healed. We were able to pay for the heart valve surgery through several generous donations. Magdalena came through the surgery very well.

A few months ago the family invited us to share in Marta Magdalena’s 2nd birthday. They prepared a native chicken stew, Pollo Pepian, which happens to be one of my favorites. They had bought a paper tablecloth to decorate their very simple home for this celebration. One decorative and customary touch, was tht the floor was strewn with fresh pine needles. I feel so honored, yet very humbled, that they were so gracious to the staff from the clinic and me.

However the true joy that we celebrated together that day was the life of a precious little girl, Magdalena, all dressed in a clean little “typica” outfit and braided hair as she amused us with her antics. She is a really bright and inquisitive little girl who seldom cried through all her surgery. I thank all of you who have sacrificed to help keep our clinic going with your donations.

May God bless you.

Need: $46,000 for a community center

February 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Special Projects

We only need $36,000 more for a  Special Project we hope to start on  Spring of 2010 – A much-needed Community Center.

We need to buy land ($26,000) and build a building ($20,000) and we project that this will cost a total of $49,000 with fees.

We don’t yet have all the funds, but we already made two payments on the land (final payment of $4k due November 2011).

We are prayerfully expecting to start construction soon!

This multi-use building will serve two villages and will be used for:

.. Boys & Girls Scouts

.. Community Meetings

.. Church services and meetings for several churches

.. General community meetings

.. Day care so that mothers don’t have to take little children out in the fields all day while they work

Marta must return to Hospital – now!

February 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Stories and Photos

Marta (little girl who had stone removed) is leaking urine and she may need another surgery on her bladder. It’s really important that she get the hospital asap. 

But her Mom said  can’t take her because there is nobody to watch the other 7 children. Taking her nursing baby with her is also a problem because the hospital won’t let her accompany Marta inside the hospital areas with the baby. The father said he won’t take Marta, because “it’s too boring to wait at the hospital”.

So Anita and Lety are going to take the Mom and Marta, with the baby and the other youngest child, and the 10-year old will stay and watch the other children.

We hope that when Anita gets to the house, that the Mom hasn’t changed her mind. Yesterday, the Mom said that a neighbor said that her son had the same problem, that it just healed up and so there is no need to go to the hospital. So Anita asked that the neighbor come over and explain. (great move on Anita’s part) Turns out that the neighbor’s son had an appendix removed and of course there was no correlation to Marta’s surgery.

We’ll post a followup story on Marta.

Marta at the hospital – screams in pain

February 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Anita and Lety went to the village to take Marta to the hospital. Her father wasn’t drunk so he said he’d come,  along with the Mom, the nursing baby and a younger sister. So the seven of them went to the hospital in Antigua.

I will post more, but for the moment here’s what happend: short version.  They went to the emergency room and were told to go to another area. That other area said to go to yet another part of the hospital. Then they said to go back to the first area. There, they said no doctor was available and to go back to the emergency room. The doctor at the emergency room was very gruff in telling Anita that they have to go to the other area because there IS a doctor available. He went with Anita and was told the same thing – no doctor was available.

The doctor was gruff and rude and grudgingly agreed to take care of Marta. He stuck a catheter in Marta and she started screaming with pain. The doctor said that it wasn’t a problem and she would feel better soon. The parents and Lety started crying to see Marta in such pain. Anita said the doctor would not remove it even though Marta was screaming and pulling her hair out.

So Anita took her out of that hospital and went to a doctor we know, Dr. Oscar, in another town. Marta screamed all the way and Anita and everyone was so upset, and hurried to get to the doctor’s office. Dr. Oscar removed the catheter and immediately the pain left and Marta stopped screaming.

Ultrasound seems to indicate that Marta has a severe infection which is producing fluid that is “leaking” out. This Dr. Oscar also found out something that none of us had known, not even Marta’s parents. When Marta had surgery to remove that huge stone (see post below), they discovered that her bowels were “stuffed” to the point where she couldn’t have a bowel movement. Stuffed with worms! So they had to cut open her bowel and remove a large amount of worms.

Marta is now taking a strong antibiotic. And we are going to de-worm her family next week. More than likely, they have been using and drinking dirty water because their water has been shut off for seven months (she can’t pay the $2.88/mo). Next week, we hope to get her water re-connected again.

Immediate Financial Needs

February 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Special Projects

Financial help is needed to care for several patients and other non-ordinary expenses.

The following are needs that are over and above our regular operating expenses and Hands of Hope really needs donations for these special needs.

It’s fast and easy to donate online via our Donate page link. Credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Tax receipts are provided in the USA and Canada.

Hands of Hope survives on the financial support of many people, and we thank you very much.

Here are the current needs and projects for which we need to raise funds. The cost of running the clinic is $5,000 a month, including paying local staff, medicines, exams, hospital operations, food, and some small special projects to help families. (living costs for directors in Guatemala is not included)

Our Number #1 priority is raising the $5,000 per month to meet the basic clinic expenses, so that we can keep the clinic up and running. These needs are in addition.

If you’d like to make a financial donation, click on the Donate link <here or at the top of the home page menu bar.

* Payment due on the land Hands of Hope is buying  $3, 800
> We got a very good price, but we need to raise $8,000 more, in total. For now, we are in need of $3,800.

* Luis with crushed foot. $110 needed to pay for the steel pins he needs for the operation. His extended family is raising $11 and one unit of blood; Hands of Hope will contribute $110 and Karen will donate one unit of blood – or otherwise he can’t have the surgery and he won’t ever walk again.

* Gloria & Irma’s Family – (Need: $20/mo) Provide some food each month We know that providing $20 per month in food would really help this very poor family, and provide a good Christian example. Update: A family donated $30 towards the food needs, so for this month we will be able to help them.

* Vilma’s, age 9, Cancer Treatment (Need: $200) Pay for transportation for cancer treatment and father’s lost earnings when going to hospital Vilma is 9 years old and has Hodgkin’s Disease. She had radiation treatments last year and we thought that she was going to be ok. But now she must have another set of treatments, or she will die. The treatments are in the city by way of a long bus ride and she and a parent must stay two days a week, for eight weeks. The family does not have money for the bus fares and expenses and are basically faced with letting the daughter die because they can’t afford to take her to the city. With tears in his eyes, the father said he wants to try to save his daughter’s life and see her live, but he said he just can’t afford it.

* Marta Lydia’s Family – 9 children in two rooms; alcholic husband (Need: $120 + $25 a month) To install a water tube, pay seven months of water bills ($2.88/mo) and fix her leaky worn roof. Update: We were happy to receive notice that a family will donate the $120. So part of the need is met and we’ll be able to fix the roof and get water turned on. If you’d like to contribute to the food needs of the family, use the DONATE tab at the top of the web page. NEED MET thanks to Contolini Family.

* Amalia’s schooling ($185/mo) We’ve supported her for several years and now she’s in her last year of schooling to become a teacher. She’s such a hard worker and does well at school, even though her mother is pestering her to quit and find field work to help the family. Amalia works every weekend making decorated bead belts to sell, so she can give her month some money to be allowed to go to school.

* Pickup Truck (Need: $7,000) We need to upgrade our 10-year old pickup truck, by buying a used truck.

* Berta – 6 kids, drunk and absent husband, shack with no roof. ($100) NEED MET thanks to Contolini family.
We’d like to get  materials, even used metal sheets for her to have a roof.

test post for priority

February 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized