* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
Location: Chimaltenango, Guatemala

I work in Guatemala with Hope Haven international and Bethel Ministries. Along with my friends Chris and Donna Mooney and their family, we share the love of Jesus in various ways. Although giving out and maintaining wheelchairs is our primary ministry, we are involved in many other things as well. Building houses, feeding the hungry, providing education to handicapped children in orphanages and villages, and hosting a camp for the handicapped are just a small part of the things that God has given us the privilege of getting involved in. For several years now I have been keeping daily journals. Once a week I try to post new journals and pictures. My e-mail is dick@dickrutgers.com Guatemala Cell Phone # 502 5379 9451 USA Phone # 360 312 7720(Relays free to Guatemala)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Journal August 18-22

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -ERVIN AT THE PARK - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saturday, August 18 2008, 11:59 PM

There is nothing like writing a Journal on the day that took place, or at least getting the first sentence done before midnight. I actually have no excuse since I played most of the day. A few more people than I expected managed to come up with enough money for the waterslides today. 15 to be exact. Fortunately Rudy a cozen of some of the kids that hang out here offered to take his car as well so we did not have to load mine Guatemalan stile. Since the only people that I had to pay for were Daniel and Alex, who’s birthdays we were celebrating, I offered to spring for lunch for the crew. Since there were so many of them I made them settle for the special at a Camperos in Esquentla. The kids love that Camperos because it has a miniature indoor soccer field inside of the building. After our gourmet hotdog lunch we headed for the water slides. Only 4 of the kids (those who accompanied me last week had ever been there before.) This included Rudy who is in his twenties, his grandmother who is 70 and several teenagers. Grandma did not go on the water slides but had a great time watching a few of her grandkids and their friends have a ball.

About half way through the day I decided that since I was the only Gringo at the entire water park I had better put on a shirt to avoid a bad sunburn. I soon found out that cretin fabrics do not slide well. Only a few feet down the next water slide I cam to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately I had given my self a push and had just enough momentum to round the first corner. Not 15 seconds after I had stopped I was rammed in the back of the head by Fernando. All this succeeded in doing was giving us each a head ache but he only budged me ahead a few feet. The next 3 people that rounded the corner were a bit larger than Fernando and by the time the third one collided with us we were moving, not too fast but at least we were moving. By the time we finally reached the bottom of the slide there must have been at least 8 of us. I did my best to apologized, took of my shirt and covered myself with some slippery sun tan lotion. By the way my neck felt I figured that it would be better to be the rammer then the ramie. About an hour later we had some horse fights in one of the pools and my neck got stretched back out by a few of the kids that got knocked off from my back but refused to let go. Over all it was a great day but a long one so I am gin got say good night.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, August 19, 2007, 10:47 PM

Nine of us went to Church this morning. It is encouraging to see a few of the young adults from my neighborhood starting to come along to church more often. This morning both Elmer and Rudy who are both in their twenties came along with me and 6 of the kids. We did not go to the orphanage afterwards because I was scheduled to return to Antigua and meat with some people later in the afternoon. After church 2 American ladies who now live in Antigua rode back to Chimaltenango with us. They wanted to do some shopping at the maul that is in Chemaltenango an since I had to return to Antigua within a few hours they decided to come along with us. After dropping them off at the maul the rest of us went to Martha’s and chowed down on food. For about $2.50 each you can get a large meal that only a few of us could finish. This delighted the kids because I allowed them to take the leftovers home to their families. I have to be careful on allowing the kids to bring leftovers home because if I let them do it to often they often stop eating before they have had enough themselves. In the past I have had kids that would receive beatings if they didn’t bring at least half of their food home to their parents but I had a talk with the parents who were responsible for that and as far as I know that no longer happens.

I left the kids in Chimaltenango when I brought the 2 ladies back to Antigua. It was not that they didn’t want to come along but I had to meat at Hermano Pedro with some people that Jessica wanted me to meet. After arriving at Hermano Pedro I received a call from Jessica saying that they had been delayed and it was going to be an hour before they would be there. Now let me tell you a little about time here in Guatemala. When some one tells you that something is going to happen in an hour, you can some what expect it to happen some time that day. If you are told that something is going to happen any time more than an hour and a half from now you may just as well head for home and mark it on tomorrows calendar as a possibility. Since I was in Antigua anyway I decided to stick it out for a few hours. Besides it had been a few days since I had been to the orphanage so I figured that I would just hang out and play with some of the kids.

Now that so many of you have visited here I have little doubt that the nick name that the kids at the orphanage and the kids at my home have labeled me with is much of a secret anymore. Any way those of you who didn’t know it now do. The letter (i) is pronounced like a long (E) in Spanish so Dick is pronounced Deek. Add to that the fact that I love to see the kids laugh no matter how crazy I have to get to see them enjoy them selves, The kids quite often refer to me as Deek Ellocal. For those of you who do not know Spanish (ellocal) means highly intelligent. For those of you who do. What can I say? It was only a small lye that didn’t hurt anyone. Any way tonight Moyses kept coming up behind me in his walker and hollering Dick Ellocal. I would act like I was mad and turn around and give his walker a push down a small incline. He was having a great time and the minute or 2 that it took him to struggle back up the incline provided him with good exercise and Also gave me a short time to focus my attention on a few of the other kids. Unfortunately the last time he came up behind me I simply reached back and gave him a push without looking at him. When I lookd back I realized that he had not turned around when he had gotten to me and I had pushed him backwards. The walker suddenly spun around and when it did it toppled over on its side. When it did Moyses hit his head on the Astroturf. He had just enough movement that it managed to scrape off a chunk of skin both above and below his left eye. The wound didn’t bleed much but I felt terrible. He cried for awhile but then looked up through the tears, half way smiled and said “Deek Ellocal.” I nodded in agreement and said “Yes Deek Ellocal.” I knew that he held no grudges. I only hope that I can remember that lesson the next time some one hurts me.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, August 20, 2007, 11:12 PM

This morning I headed off to the orphanage at around 7AM. There was a lot I wanted to get done before the group that was suppose to come in at 9:30 showed up at the orphanage. At about 8:30 I received a phone call saying that they would be late. I was also told that instead of taking 9 kids out to lunch they thought that 4 kids would be enough. It sounded like a few of them were a bit nervous about feeding the kids. Fortunately I had received an earlier call from some one who had worked with this group and they told me that they needed to stretch their comfort zone. I told the person on the phone that I was sorry but I had already promised 9 of the kids that we were taking them to lunch and there was no way that we could disappoint them. As it ended up I think that a few members of the group had to stretch their comfort zone a bit but by the time we returned from lunch no one was sorry about what they had experienced. In fact several of the members of the group expressed to me that they wished that they were not leaving Guatemala this evening because they would like to have spent more time in the orphanage. Thanks gang! The kids love it and they loved each one of you.

At around 2:30 the group had to leave since they were flying out tonight. I stayed at the orphanage and fit Danny, a little boy up in malnutrition ward into a new wheelchair. He lies on his back all day and has difficulty breathing. The sitting position that I put him in seems to have helped his breating a lot and after spending just a short time in his new wheelchair his color even looked a lot better. Tomorrow I am going to try to get a little girl of about the same size who is in Malnutrition into a new wheelchair as well.

Wednesday we have some people who come down at least once a year joining us for a distribution that is scheduled in Huehuetenango and Saloma. The only problem is that hurricane Dean is scheduled to hit the east coast of Mexico in the next day or so. Even though the main part of the hurricane is not suppose to hit Guatemala we may encounter between 10 and 20 inches of rain. This is exactly what happened with hurricane Stan 2 years ago. There were numerous land slides and lots of flooding here in Guatemala at that time. There were also a lot of lives lost. Right now all we can do is keep an eye on the weather but a decision will have to be made no later than Wednesday night on weather or not to go ahead with the wheelchair distribution.

Before heading home this evening I stopped off and picked up some groceries. I could not resist picking up a roasted chicken as well. Before eating the chicken Abner helped me plant some flowers. I thought that I had sealed up the chicken well enough that the smell would not escape from my house but by the time the flowers were planted and we were ready to eat there were 7 kids gathered around the chicken. I figured that I could still make it work if I set out a loaf of bread and announced that we were having chicken Sandwiches but then 3 more kids arrived. Dinner would have to be delayed for a little longer. About 20 minutes later Daniel, Abner, and Marcos returned from the store with another baked chicken. 20 minutes after we started eating 14 kids had consumed 2 chickens, 3 leaters of coke, numerous bags of chips and everything else that had been in my refrigerator. The chicken bones were picked so clean that they sparkled. 3 more kids showed up after we had finished but they had to settle for some hot dogs that the others had accidentally overlooked. After everyone joined in and cleaned up the kids had a soccer game out in the yard. Some how they managed to not break any windows and I discovered that the man that sold me the flowers was right when he told me that the flowers were very hearty. I am not sure what kind they are but they seem to bend like a willow tree and spring right back up. I think that I will double check in the morning. There is no use waisting water on them if they happen to be artificial.

Well it is getting late and bed looks great.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 10:14 PM

When I got to Hermano Pedro this morning I discovered that Ervin had not been taken from his crib. Since he raised a fuss when I did not pick him as one of the 9 kids that went along to lunch with me yesterday the nurses had decided that it would be easier for them If they didn’t bother to get him up all day today. He was no longer screaming so I decided to take him along with me today. Things seem to go a lot smoother when I take him by himself instead of with a large group of people. Today he was a perfect little gentleman and even did well when I told him that he would have to get off from Campero’s playground equipment to return to the orphanage.

At around 2:30 I headed for home where I met with Paul Tjaden and his nephew Eric. They wanted to come along with me to Fedel and Maria’s home. Ever since our camp that was held last November we have been talking with this family which consists of a Grandmother 2 people who are in wheelchair and various other relatives, about building them a bathroom. Paul is showing interest in helping us get the project started once we get some funding. Grandmother is around 80 years old and has for many years been the primary care giver for her 3 grandchildren who were all in wheelchairs. One of them died a few months ago but the others still need a lot of help and having no rest room facilities and no way to take a shower makes it a real chore for this dedicated lady to care for her grandchildren. We had a good visit and told them that we are praying that some day soon we will be able to help them build a bathroom.

On our way home we stopped off for supper so by the time that I got home there were only 3 or 4 kids waiting outside. When Paul left I set some food on the table and even though it was quite late another 4 or 5 kids showed up within minutes. Everyone has now gone home so I am going to take a shower and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 8:59 PM

My morning was spent in Santa Maria Dejesus. Amy Deyong had called me asking if I would have the time to adjust a few wheelchairs and walkers that some of her students use. I never mind going to the school that her and Judy run because the kids there are great. They love to take turns helping me fix the wheelchairs, and even though it lengthens my visits I love to see the satisfied looks on their faces when they feel that they have helped fix something. Let me rephrase the first part of that last sentence. They love to help me fix the wheelchairs. (The taking turns part is not quite as exciting for them.) I was suppose to meat Paul’s nephew Eric at Hermano Pedro at noon so I did not get everything done up at Santa Maria Dejesus but promised to return soon.

Eric Showed up at Hermano Pedro a bit late but that was not entirely bad because so did I. Eric is A young man in his twenties who and he plans on staying here in Guatemala for a few months helping his uncle with some teems that are coming in that are planning on helping them build a few houses for needy families. He had some free time today so I showed him around the orphanage. I think that he enjoyed the kids a lot so hopefully he will find more time to come and work with them.

On my way home I finally broke down and bought a microwave that I had seen on sale for 399Q ($50) Cooking on a gas camp stove is OK but the micro wave will be great for heating things up. The kids were impressed with how fast their hot dogs were ready. I had intended on not letting them in tonight so that I could get my journal finished up and sent out but how do you say no to a dozen hungry kids. After tomorrow night I am going to have to say no to them for several days because I won’t be at home. A few friends from the states are arriving tonight and no Friday we are heading for Huehuetenango and Saloma with them, the Money family, and the entire crew from the shop. We plan on having a wheelchair distribution in each of those 2 towns this week end and then heading to the ocean for a few days of R & R. I am not sure just how to handle a day off with out having a dozen kids along but I am willing to give it a try.

I think that I will close for now so that I can perhaps get this sent out yet tonight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

10:09 PM

Calin just came over. He told me that his mom nad step dad are going to get back together. I asked him if it was because his mom missed him. Calin told me no. He said that she hates him but there is no room for her and the children at grandmothers place and it is either go back to him or live out on the streets. Calin looked at me and said, “Oh well at least I will be living closer to you again.” Tonight he is once again living much closer to me. He is once again bunked down on the floor next to my bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home