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Funds Low-Can You Please Help

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

I want to thank all of Hands of Hope supporters that have been so faithful to help the people of the villages we have worked in since 1999. It will now be almost 12 years since we started working in these villages and we see improvements in their lives and health every year.

 The need is still there although the death rate among babies and young children has dropped significantly. Many times these people should be treated at a hospital but fear keeps them away as well as lack of funds for hospitals. Surgeries in the fall of every year at public hospitals come to a standstill as hospitals run out of funds. Then the backlog must be attended first and the patients can wait up to 6 months for a needed surgery.

So we have started taking patients to a semiprivate hospital, Hermano Pedro Obras Sociales, where many American doctors offer their services for free. The patients must still pay a donation towards the hospital but the care is excellent. Many of our patients do not even have money for the exams and laboratory exams they need so Hands of Hope helps with that. Even a small donation of $100 is often beyond their reach. Again Hands of Hope helps with that donation and even arranges transportation to and from the hospital . Otherwise the post surgery patient would have to ride home in a bumpy bus!

This past few months our cost of medicines and help to patients has increased but our donations have been reduced. We desperately want to keep the clinic running smoothly and provide for these people who have no one else to turn to for help. Would you please consider a donation to keep the clinic from having to cut back on needed medicines and help for these people. We thank you so much for considering this and thank you for the help and prayers that you have offered for those in need.

Blankets for Christmas!

February 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

The following week after prenatal clinic in the furtherest village of Yalu, we had an outreach to the elderly people in two other villages we serve, San Rafael and Santa Marta.

Maria handing out blankets in Yalu

Maria handing out blankets in Yalu

We made special food for our lunchtime together and gave out blankets and bags of food and also shared about the Ultimate Gift that God gave us.

It was a great time, and the many poor elderly people appreciated it very much.

We also distributed hundreds of blankets to the poorest families in the villages. This is something we do every year, and it never fails to make us feel  so blessed to be able to have supporters who contribute to make the Blanket Drive a success every year. Thank you!

Is Insulin a Christmas Gift?

January 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Most of us wouldn’t think of insulin as a Christmas gift, but to Miguel it was the best gift of all.

The Monday after Christmas, Maria and I drove 3 hours to see Miguel, age 23, who had lived in the USA for a few years, and actually knew a good bit of English.

Miguel has severe diabetes and I had first met him a month earlier when I was with Maria, one of our ministry workers while we were with a few of our village patients at the Hermano Pedro Hospital in Antigua.

When we had first met him, he was so very sick because he hadn’t had money to buy sufficient insulin that he must take to stay alive. Maria and I had been horrified to see that he was so sickly and so emaciated that he looked like a skeleton.

He was not able to walk unassisted and could only speak in a soft whisper.
His family was very poor, and he was slowly dying from lack of insulin.
That day, I went home and returned to the hospital with some insulin we were storing in the fridge.

Now we were on our way to see him, to see if he was still alive, and possibly had become healthier. And, importantly, we were bringing some more of the insulin he needed but could not afford.

He was so happy to see us when we arrived at the door of the simple adobe house where he lives with his parents and several younger brothers. His small, dirt-floor room had only a bed and he had no table or any other furniture.

He stood up to greet us, smiled and in a surprisingly clear voice told us that he felt so much better.

He had finished the insulin we had given him last month, and he was so excited to see that we were now here, bringing some more. Someone had donated donated food and blankets for his family as a way to help them out because they have almost nothing.

Miguel is gaining strength and weight and can now walk again. I was able to connect him with a medical clinic run by an American man only thirty minutes away. His entire family thanked us and prayed for us before we left. With a continuing insulin supply now assured, he should be able to lead a productive life and help his family.

What a great day!
As I drove the three hours back home, I thought of how thankful I am to all of you who give support to make it possible to do what we do in our ministry.
Merry Christmas, Miguel!

Christmas Miracle in the Village

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Small house is home We had our first Christmas miracle on the Saturday before Christmas.

I got a late-night call Wednesday, and learned that a mother who was 8 1/2 months pregnant was experiencing
preeclampsia. This is a possible fatal condition affecting both mother and child. I told the husband to call an
ambulance immediately and we would pay the ambulance later.

Thursday morning as we drove slowly on the mountain roads to go to our clinic, the father was nervously waiting along the side of the road for us in the village of Santa Marta and said his wife had been too scared to go to the hospital as I had insisted. I was very worried.

I parked the pickup truck, and Dr. Efrian and I climbed a steep hill to their simple cement block home. The mother was in very serious shape because she also had a heart condition. Her body was swollen and she had trouble moving and breathing. We could not hear the baby’s heartbeat and we assumed the baby had died.

We called the ambulance to come and decided to wait. (Over the years, we had made friends with the ambulance drivers and they now come when I call them – a little extra “payment” helps us to get good service. )

The ambulance rushed her to the Guatemala City hospital but they warned us that it looked like the mom was not going to make it.

Well, we had 79 patients that day in clinic and ended the day too tired to check out anything further. We did talk to a family member later that day who said the mother and baby were still alive but the mother was quite sick.

By Saturday, not having heard any update on the mother and baby, I drove to the village to check on them.

I was so surprised to see the father smiling, carrying the most beautiful baby boy! The baby was doing fine; they had just returned from the hospital. He told me the doctors said that the mother needs heart surgery and will remain in the hospital for a while, but she will survive.

I rushed to the clinic to get formula and warm blankets for the baby (it had been 36 F at night). I truly believe
it is miracle that they are both alive. A Christmas miracle in the village, with a new baby!

God is good and we are so happy.


March 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

At 11 am in the hospital, Paco said he was fine, had no pain, except for a sharp pain in his stomach. He said he was feeling peaceful. Then one hour later, he quiety died. We are devasted beyond comprehension.  More later.

Paco – our main ministry worker – grave heart condition

March 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

paco-w-2-boysPaco is the husband of Rosario, who has worked with us in the clinic for ten years. We rely on Paco so much, and he is in the hospital in serious condition, with an enlarged heart; endocarditis.

Paco is the super-dynamic leader of the Boy/Girl Scouts, leading activities and teaching and training upwards off 200 children each weekend. Paco’s children, Alejandra and Paquito, wife Rosario and three local village volunteers do all the work. Paco does in-home ministry visits to the villagers, too. He is loved and respected by all the villagers.

His condition is serious and if he lives long enough – another two weeks – he will then need more tests before he can get the surgery he will need to repair a heart valve.

Please pray for Paco to recover, and that his family will somehow have the financial resources to survive; Paco is basically the only wage-earrner for the family. We are helping as we can, but we can’t support the entire family.

We really need to raise funds to help Paco’s family and to help pay for his heart surgery –  about $5,000. 

 A small amount for heart surgery that will save his life, but a huge amount of money to any Guatemalan family.

The 1,000,000 Banana Give-Away

December 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

How long would it take to eat 800,000 bananas?

How long would it take to eat 1,000,000 bananas?

 We received access to 1,000,000 bananas (and one container was stolen)  thanks to the Chiquita Banana Company; the program is managed by the Rotary Club.  Each container has 96,000 bananas, packed in 45 pound boxes – about 900 boxes for a total of 40,000 pounds.

One container was stolen – someone intercepted the tractor trailer and convinced the driver to unload 40,000 pounds of bananas at a nearby warehouse.  The driver simply backed up and started to unload – I guess he was glad to get unloaded and didn’t check the address.  Or perhaps he was threatened or bribed… we don’t know.

But Chiquita was super-understanding and gracious and sent a replacement container of bananas the next day!!

children-pickup-bananas1So far, we have distributed almost 400,000 bananas to the villagers where we have our clinic and through many other missions with whom we work, in  a sort of mission network.  

The bananas have been distributed to many feeding centers, in the poorest areas of Guatemala – thousands of children received bananas to take home to their families, too.  Other missions have given bananas to poor families in their areas, including the roughest, toughest and poorest areas of Guatemala City.

More than 4,000 poor families have already received bananas!

 To read all blog posts and news go <here>

Crippled by Bus

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Father handicapped. Mother sells firewood to survive.

Father handicapped. Mother sells firewood to survive.


This family might qualify as perhaps the poorest family we’ve met.  The father was a “helper” on a bus, but fell off and was run over. He did not receive any compensation for the accident, and has endured 8 operations. He can’t walk at all, and due to nerve damage, he can’t speak, either. They have 5 children and no source of income.

The father can’t work and the 16 yr-old son can’t find any jobs to do on a steady basis.  
           So the mother buys firewood in bulk, delivered to her shack. Then she and her son chop it in smaller pieces and re-bundle the wood in smaller bundles for resell to the villagers. After working hard all day, she only  makes about $2.
       We visited recently to drop off  some rice, protein milk and beans and it was so sad to see that they have no other food than simple tortillas, with no meat, no vegetables, no sauce… no money for even a little salt.  The only corn they have is what they scavenge from the fields after harvest… the tiny little cobs that the owner didn’t think were worth harvesting.

    Sadly, the daughter got pregant, and her baby was stillborn. But the ordeal was made more horrible by the fact that the hospital didn’t want to admit her, and, then the doctors there didn’t do anything the first two days. The baby had been dead six days before the hospital took any action.  Greg wore his suit and went to see the doctors. With our intervention she did get care, but the situation was of course still sad.

I took this photo the day we brought the family back from the hospital, so they look a little solemn, but there isn’t much to smile about in their life anyway.

     TO READ MORE STORIES click the Daily Blog.

Little Burn Victim

November 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

2 yr old burn patient
2 yr old burn patient

 It’s a blessing to be able to provide general health care to thousands of indigenous families in “our” villages.

   But so many times, the patient’s situation is so sad. Here, Dr. Efraim cares for 2 yr-old Victoria who had fallen backward into a pot of boiling corn. She was severely burned, and screamed nonstop.
   The Mom was instructed on how to do some of the care, and we insisted that she bring the child in several times a week.  After a few weeks, Victoria  started to heal.
  In some cases like this, without the clinic care, people endure extreme pain for long periods of time and some die due to infection.
   Victoria did heal with the proper care.
   Many homes are no more than cornstalk shacks with dirt floors and the cooking fire is on the floor – so unfortunately many children do suffer from burns.
                                    READ MORE STORIES in Daily Blog

Boys & Girls Scouts – now 167 children!

September 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Headline

Boys & Girls Scouts in our Village!

Boys & Girls Scouts in our Village!

Fun! Boys & Girls Scouts
Fun! Boys & Girls Scouts

Paco – along with his wife Rosario and their two teens Alejandra and Paco, Jr. – work all day each Saturday to hold a day of activities for the Boys & Girls Scouts program we are sponsoring.

The Scouts started in May with 34 children registered. But it became so popular that 167 children attended last week!

The programs include all of the things Scouts would learn in the USA, with a heavy emphasis here on obeying your parents, good moral teachings,keeping the environment clean and some other locally-important lessons. 

Paco has been a Scout leader for 13 years. The children love him and yell out “Paco, Paco” when he drives into the village.

Children on the way to Scout meeting

Children on the way to Scout meeting

Kids love Scout meetings every Saturday

Kids love Scout meetings every Saturday

Roberto, age about 72, joins in

Roberto, age about 72, joins in


Children doing Scout lessons

Children doing Scout lessons

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