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Saturday, April 24, 2010
Things were very misty and our flight was delayed about an hour. Other than the delay everything went fine with our departure.
We said "Good-bye" to the beautiful hills, mountains and volcanos of Guatemala and made our way to Mexico City and then on to Toronto.
We said our "farewells" in the lobby of the hotel. Having shared this very special time together the friendships and bonds that we have made during this great adventure will be life-long.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tomorrow we get up and leave the hotel at 4:30 a.m. to catch our 6:30 plane from Guatemala to Mexico and then on to Toronto
In this picture you will see some varied dress that spans traditional to modern, we saw just about every kind of dress over the 6 days of clinics.
Here Barbara Whitehouse is doing the basic acuity test on this young man who turned out to be mostly blind in one eye. Some cases we could refer them for surgery and others like this one we couldn't.
Janet Batchelor is testing this man's new glasses. It was always fun watching the look on their faces as they see things come into focus that haven't been that way for sometime.
examinations and medication that should make a difference to them.
When the day was over there were some speeches and thank yous from the local village from the villages that traveled to the clinic.
In this picture a representative from Chuicutama presented a very special ceremonial shirt to Barbara Whitehouse and then a scarf to Carl.
What a handsome couple they are decked out in their new finery.
After we had packed up and left the village Clara had arranged to take us to a school in Cantel to here are special school band play for us. This band has been together for about a year and a half now. Their instrument were a gift made by Chris and Bill Hale in honor of son's and daughter-in-law's wedding in July 2008. Michael and Melissa are very supportive of the work done in Guatemala and have been part of several projects and have also travelled to Xela where Melissa worked with Clara as an intern. It was very touching to hear the young people play - when we get home to a faster internet connection I'll try and put up a video so you can see and hear some of their concert.
This school has some strong links to Canada as the money to build it was raised by Canadians. In this picture you see the school leaders, Oscar the teacher, Clara Colop who is our coordinator and who makes all of this possible and works so very very hard, and Chris and I. Their school flag is made from the colours and shape of the Canadian flag in recognition of the bonds that they have with Canada.
Tomorrow we will disperse the remaining medications to a local clinic and then travel back to Antiqua to catch our flight home on Friday.
One last van ride, one last dilemma for the group to consider - "What's better - diesel fumes or dust?"
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The school in the village consists of a three classroom building and a one classroom building. Only the one room building seems to be in use and we aren't sure why, perhaps there is a lack of teachers.
As the clinic was winding down some of us went up to the village to see this woman weaving on her back-strap loom. The detail in her work was incredible and it gave us an appreciation for the time and skill that it takes to produce the many beautiful fabrics that we saw on people in the clinic. Most of this work is for their own use we were told.
When I asked whether they had cooking stoves we were shown this stove and they commented that it wasn't large enough for large families which I suspect is the norm. While this didn't have the large plancha that the stoves that I have seen and built with the Guatemala Stove Project I was relieved to see a chimney to direct the smoke to the outside.
Tomorrow is our last day at this village and the last day of the clinic. We are told that there is going to be a surprise in the afternoon and we're to wear something nice. That's a bit of a challenge given our working conditions and the limited wardrobes that we have.
Tomorrow I'll report on the surprise... stay tuned.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The workers had already been in the field beside the hotel for some time planting their potatoes.
We strive to get the eye drops in a few patients as soon as possible as we can't finish our testing until they have be dilated for at least 30 minutes.
Our work is bitter sweet. We're so happy when we see someone that we can help. On the other hand it is heartbreaking when we come across someone who we can not help. The 13 year old young women with the sun glasses on was one of the heart breakers. She was diagnosed with practically no vision, her retinas were destroyed likely by parasites and there was nothing we could do to help her, she is essentially blind. Dr. Carl will try and refer her to an agency for the blind if one can be found. For the many others who we are able to help with glasses, medicines and other treatments the smiles on their faces is reward enough for us. We received some very good news that some Doctors will be coming for a surgical clinic in May and they should be able to see our cataract referrals which is amazing that they will be getting this treatment so soon.
Tomorrow and Wednesday will be busy days at the clinic as we try and see as many patients as we can in the final 2 days.
I want to apologize for the typos in the blog. There just isn't enough time in the day - actually it's usually late in the evening, to get the pictures and material into the blog, do all the editing and proofing. Tonight the team wanted to see the blog and as I was going over it with them we discovered several typos that need to be corrected. I hope to be able to do that some time but feel that the limited time I have is better spent posting so that our followers can keep up to date.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
We're off the the market in Chi Chi today and I hope to be able to update the blogs later tonight.
This is what some of the houses along the highway look like.
The flowers and fruit at the local road side stands are magnificent.
The road to Chi Chi is very, very windy and steep at places. The switchbacks are amazing with the van having to make some very sharp turns - you can't find roads like this in Canada as they would be lethal in icy conditions. We did see a few spot where vehicle had failed to navigate the corners evidenced by missing and mangled guard rails.
Once in the market at Chi Chi we saw people bartering with live foul. Here the negotiation is going on to trade a chicken for some corn. The shop keeper is weighing and checking this chicken out. After she tool some corn from one of the sacks and fed it to the chicken. The lady at the right who was hoping to barter the chicken then wrapped it up in her wrap and continued on her way.
Tomorrow we're off to our next village.