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

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

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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)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Journal February 20-26

(click on any picture to enlarge)

Friday, February 20, 2009, 9:18 PM


Today was the start of a 5 to 6 day road trip. This morning I headed out of my yard with a car load of wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, and other medical supplies. Before picking up Abner and Alex I headed to Antigua to pick up David Black. Dave has offered to do a bit of journaling for me so I am going to let him take it from here. Bear in mind that Dave speaks Canadian so you may have to have an interpreter for at least part of this. Also remember that even though most of what Dave says tends to be the truth he has been known to exaggerate a bit especially when he talks about my driving. I have already proof read his journal entry of today and found most of it to be true but I want you to know that some of the places where he quoted me have been greatly exaggerated. For instance I have never used the word stinkin in my entire stinkin life. (Well almost never.)



Friday February 20 2009. (So far Dave is being truthful. D.R.)

(Dave wrote)

Dick picked me up in Antigua where we also picked up 2 wheelchairs from Mark at Hope Haven International. After tying them to the roof of Dick’s car and rearranging luggage to make room for Alex and Abner, Two of Dick’s boys (our translators) who had gotten out of school to come with us, we stopped of at McDonalds. After lunch we hit the road. Anyone can drive on pavement. Right? I asked Dick if he needed a map. (Here is where Dave’s imagination starts to take over. D.R.) I think Dick replied, “We don’t need no stinkin map!" (Way to go Dave! Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. D.R.)

We gave a ride to Ervin a 20 year old man who teaches 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in San Juan Sacatepezeus from Monday through Friday then returns to Robinel which is about 4 hours from there on the weekends. It was quite the journey down the bumpy dirt roads and we even paid 5 Q to drive down a road that led to a river where we all had a refreshing swim. After the swim Ervin, Abner, and Alex stayed busy visiting with each other all the way to Robinel.

When we arrived in Robinel we stopped of at the home of Luis Andrias, a little boy that stays at Hermano Pedro. Hid mother had brought him back there last Tuesday but had left some braces that he needed at home. We then found a motel that charged us a whopping 60 Q $7.50 per room. I told Dick that since he is Dutch and I am Scottish we should get bye quite cheaply this trip. (Actually I am finding Dave to be even cheaper than I am. At least I didn’t put the unused half role of toilet paper in my suitcase when I left. D.R.)

Manana more of the same. I love this off road stuff.

Dave


Saturday, February 21, 2009

(Dave wrote)


After having a HOT shower, we hit the road for Saloma and Camperos for breakfast. Then we took another of Dick’s ‘shortcuts’ which took an hour off our drive to Coban. The shortcut actually turned out to be quite smooth, and we had amazing scenery of mountains and valleys.

We stopped at the mall in Coban, where Dick found some 10Q t-shirts, and Alex and Abner bought some socks. We grabbed a pizza from Domino’s for a picnic lunch later, which we ended up eating on the warm hood of Dick’s Land cruiser.

Our smooth ride in the a.m. turned a little rougher and bumpier in the p.m., but it was well worth it.


We stopped in an aldea near Chisec where we delivered a wheelchair to a man named Licordio. His old chair had broken several years ago.




We also brought a chair (Dick says the ‘perfect chair’) to 20 year 0ld Alberto, who because of a brittle bone disease, cannot bend his legs. This new wheelchair is now Alberto's second favorite possession. The first is his Bible that his brother taught him how to read.

Dick had not intended to bring this specific type of chair, but Calin had reminded him just before we left about Alberto’s condition. Me thinks another ‘Godincidence’.

Then we delivered another wheelchair to Griselda Noemy in the same village. She is a 15 year old girl who has never had a chair, but with practice with this one, should be able to move around herself. I facetiously remarked to Dick how it was hardly worth it to drive 8 hours to deliver 3 wheelchairs! Actually, I don’t think it can get much better than delivering those chairs.

On our drive into Playa Grandey, Dick was talking about how we get the ‘thanks’, when really there are so many people involved – from the donors at home to Mark and Chris at HOPE HAVEN and BETHEL. It is amazing how God puts people into certain places, isn’t it?

I don’t know if tomorrow can top today, but I know God has something in store for us.

Thank you, Lord for this day:
Dave.



Sunday, February22, 2009

(Dave wrote)






Today we headed for Cuatro Pueblo Nuevo (loosely translated – New Village #4), which the government established about 10 years. Ago for people coming back from Mexico after the civil war. There are approximately 400 families living here, very close to the border with Mexico.













This is the home of Onias, whom Dick has known for about 9 years He is now 19. We brought him a new walker, which he was thoroughly enjoying when we left. He is one of Dick’s favorites.















We then left some school supplies with Marcos, the father of a very committed young man, who goes from house to house in this village teaching 5 of these handicapped children. What a blessing he is to these kids, as they probably would not get any schooling without him doing this. Thank you, Lord. This father and Onias’ father, Pedro, very graciously guided us all day through the village. They took us to Mario, a 13 year old sweetheart of a boy, to whom we gave a 3- wheeled walker.




. . . . . . . . . . video.
. . Click on ^ Arrow above to see movie of
. . . . . Mario using his new walker.

We then delivered a new wheelchair to a very timid young 6 year old girl, Micaela. God even gave us a couple of smiles from her. Another of his ‘sweethearts’.




We brought another new chair to Maria, 5 years old, whose father, Javier, is a primary teacher, and is going to home teach her 1st grade with the books we brought. She loved her new chair, especially the tray attachment, which she was using to draw pictures on when we left. Javier knocked down some coconuts for us to drink from, while sitting in his backyard overlooking some beautiful lush greenery.







We went back to Onias’ home for lunch, where Alex and Abner proceeded to try to become ‘cabilleros’ (After finding out that I have been proof reading Dave’s journal entries he has decided to try to throw me off by inserting some Spanish here and there. I guess he has forgotten how fluent I have become in Spanish after living here so many years. Unfortunately caballeros is not one of the ten Spanish words that I already know so I am going to trust that Dave is not saying anything bad about my boys. D.R.) on their horse. They were doing pretty good until Alex jumped off, as the horse came down a slight incline. Abner slid over the horses’ head, and did a face plant (he wasn’t hurt). Most of the neighbors and all of us had a good laugh over that one.




We still had one large chair left, and didn’t know what to do with it. Onias’ mom knew a neighbor whose mother has severe arthritis in her knees, and has trouble walking. This chair just happened to fit her perfectly. Thank you Lord.












One more stop to visit Felipe, a 8 year old boy whose dad said was ‘born dead’. He now loves school and has classes with Onias.

After yesterday, I didn’t think we could have had a better day, but God took care of that. We drove back to Playa Grande, Alex and Abner sleeping in the back, Dick and I ‘un poco cansado’ (a little tired) in the front. Both Alex and Abner have been a great help, Abner translating and Alex being a wheelchair mechanic. So, manana we are going to take them to Semuc Champey, where there are underground rivers and caves.





Thank you, Lord, for helping us to shine a little of your light in that village today.

Dave



Monday,February 23, 2009, 3:30 PM

(Dave wrote)

We are presently sitting at a highway (??) in the middle of nowhere on our way to Semuc Champey, waiting until they open the road at 6 p.m. Don’t know why they are improving this particular stretch of dirt road (it is by no means a highway), as it is in the middle of nowhere, not really connecting any major towns. Oh well, the scenery is beautiful – lush green hills and valleys, aqua blue rivers, and the beautiful faces of the children here. We are taking a route that Dick has never taken before, and we are seeing more of God’s wonderful handiwork. We slept in today, and left Playa Grande about 10 a.m. Dick let Abner and Alex steer for a while today. Fortunately Abner steers a vehicle better than he rides a horse! While we are waiting, we take a walk up the hill to a tienda and probably make the girl’s day with a 20Q ($2.50) purchase of pop and chips for the 4 of us. It actually feels good to stop and enjoy the splendor here. The flagman finally allows us through just before 6 p.m., and we make it to a hotel near Lanquin at 8 p.m. in the dark. Dick shows us a cheap way to wash his undies – they drop into el bano while he is reaching for his towel after showering! (The problem is they didn’t need washing. They were my last pare of clean ones. D.R.) We are all pretty tired and crash early – no T.V. anyway!



Tuesday February 24, 2009

(Dave wrote)




After breakfast, we head to Las Grutas de Lanquin (the caves of Lanquin), (Dave is trying to impress you with all of these Spanish names. Actually he only knows about 100 Spanish words. Then again that is about ten times more than I know. D.R.) just 5 minutes away. They have strung (?) wires and lights in a ways to see. Hopefully this is one of those rare days when the electricity stays on all day. It really is spectacular – hard to put into words. There are various rocks that look like a monkey, an elephant, a frog, an owl, and a tower. It is quite large and open inside and surprisingly quite warm. It is very slippery walking though – thank goodness for the ‘handrails’ (not really O.S.H.A approved )



Now we head to Semuc Champey, where a river flows underground, and then into some pools, and down some waterfalls. We hope the sun comes out and it does! So we all don our swimsuits ( Alex and Abner in their Guatemalan speedos – their undies and dive in. The water is so clear. Dick and I both wear our running shoes as the bottom is very rocky and slippery. Mine need a cleaning from the mud yesterday, anyway. Mucho little minnows. We walk up to where the river goes underground, and jump in and swim through pools back to our clothes. Talk about paradise! High cliffs on one side and howler monkeys on the other. I tell Dick it is well worth taking an extra day to come here. Dick says this is his most beautiful place in Guatemala, and I believe him. We stop at a place outside the park to check out their accommodations. Turns out the rooms and food there are very good – we have a really good homemade meal for lunch overlooking the river and discover that a 4 bed ‘dormitory’ is 35Q each per night. Unfortunately the boys have already missed enough school so we have to get back home by tomorrow night. Staying in Coban tonight – have promised the boys that we would let them visit the mall there.

Hasta luego,

P.S. I think I will call this trip,
'Abner, Dick, Dave, and Alex’s Excellent Adventure!'

Dave


Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 10:04 PM

(Written by Dick)

We are back at home and things are pretty much back to normal (what ever that is like). I know that my kids don't starve when I am gone but they certainly act like they are going to if I don' t feed them when I am here. I guess it must be my cooking they miss. Not everyone has the talent to make gourmet junk food. Tonight I fed about ten of them pancakes and eggs. I can' take full credit for making the meal though because most of the kids took turns flipping the pancakes. Nothing on the floor tonight but perhaps there will be when the pancake that is stuck to my ceiling lets go.

Our trip home from Cobon went well but it seemed that Abner and Alex grew more and more quiet the closer that we got to to Chimaltenango. I don't think that any of us were ready for this trip to end. Actually we had originality planned on getting home yesterday but the crew talked me into taking them to Champey. I'm glad that they did. Between David doing my journal the past few days and having a true day off yesterday, I feel like I have had a Vacation. David is the one that convinced me that everyone should have a DO DAH DAY once in a while, and I must admit it was pretty relaxing. (Thanks Dave!)






The tall one in the green pants is not me.



After dropping Dave off in Antigua I met up with Rolland Elf. He arrived in Antigua by buss about a half hour after we got there. A man and his daughter were with him. The little girl could not walk and Roland had brought her and her father to Antigua so that they could see one of the doctors at Hermano Pedro. Since neither Roland nor the man and his daughter have ever been to Hermano Pedro before I brought them there and helped them get a place to stay for the night on the other side of town. At first they were told that they would have to be at the hospital by 5:45 AM tomorrow just to assure that they would be able to see a doctor later in the day, but a friend that works there managed to work things out so that they will be able to see a doctor with out having to stand in line, so they were told that they did not have to show up until around 7:30. I have to go to the dentest in the morning but plan on going to Hermano Pedro after that. I want to see to it that Helen (the little girl) gets a wheel chair. She has never had one so her father and mother have to carry her where ever she goes. To my surprise Helen does go to school but since she has no wheelchair the other students have to push her around on an old bicycle that has training wheels.

Well, I have lots of kids still hanging around, and they seem to have lots of news that they feel I have to catch up on, so I think that I will say, "Goodnight"

Yours in Christ, Dick

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