* 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)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Journal, October 3-8, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I know that my last journal entry was on October 2 and that I am suddenly jumping to October 8 but before filling you in on some of the things that took place this week I want to make you aware of what has been happening with Florinda, the little girl that Roland Elf and myself brought in to Hermano Pedro a few months ago. I have been on the road recruiting for camp a lot lately so it has been difficult for me to keep as close of an eye on some of the kids that we have had a hand in getting into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro as I would like to. Thankfully Roland has given his all to see to it that kids like Florinda continue to get the treatment that they need. During the past year we have seen some of these kids die but praise God we have also seen some of them recover and survive. Although Florinda has gained a lot of weight and most of the time seems much healthier than when we first brought her into Hermano Pedro there are still times that we wonder weather or not she is going to make it. During the past few weeks progress has been made in determining what her condition is and what can be done for her.

Here are parts of some e-mails that Roland has sent me during the past several days.

Sept 25, 2009

Hi Dick,

Florinda update: I had another long conversation with the sister of Florinda and I think it will work fine tomorrow.
They has said to her that her and her mother has to be at Social work HP at 9 o’clock so that they will leave their village early tomorrow. She said that they has said that they leave to the national hospital at 9 or at 10 o’clock from Hermano Pedro to travel the national hospital I also explained to her sister that Florinda just has to be a the national hospital a short time to have that Edema in her right knee cured and when she will return to Hermano Pedro ward, she is going to explain this to her mother to avoid that her mother take Florinda home, that would be a disaster, the reason for that she started to think so , is that the national hospitals has bad fame, and she is afraid that Florinda instead of being better will be sicker,....but also the social worker said yesterday that they will explain, I got very very nervous because of this, but her sister understood what I said and this risk is gone now, she will explain to her mother.

Sept 29, 2009

Hi Dick,

Here is a little update about Florinda.

I have today talked to the woman at Social work at HP and she explained the situation. And I also talked to Xiomara. Hopefully tomorrow there will be an answer from the doctor at national hospital if it is necessary an operation of Florinda’s knee that is swollen of edema. Or if it is possible at the moment. The social worker said that is not possible that Florinda’s mother can take away Florinda and bring her back to HP without an agreement between HP and the hospital, the risk is that if she tries to do that the result can be that Florinda can’t return to any of these places. She said that Florinda has to be there now, but if the mother is patient and let them do the treatments, including injections that they are giving Florinda for some reason. Florinda can come back to HP. The social worker said that the mother and her elder sister need to be at the hospital all the time taking care of Florinda all the time, which can be a long time, maybe weeks. Until she can come back to HP.

September 30, 2009

Hi Dick,

I was over half a day at the hospital with little Florinda, her mother and sister. I hold her for a moment and I gave her massage and she became calm for a moment. You can see that Florinda continue to suffer of pain, one moment she is calm and the other she starts to cry. I think you can see how tiered her mother and sister was. Her sister had been with Florinda all the night and she had not slept at all and they are still there. Mother talked again yesterday with me (Saturday) about taking Florinda with her to her home, and she has asked me (in her language Mayan Kiche) to search for a private doctor, I wish could find the best surgeon neurologist. When I was there her mother became more calm and she changed her decision to take Florinda to her home, but yesterday she was again talking about that, she is very afraid and not pleased with the hospital. She said that the nurses are sticking needles in Florinda's arms, and I phoned the doctor and she said it has to be done because for the medicines the vain has to be changed each two or three days. One big problem is that her mother does not understand Spanish at all, her elder daughter does, but I think that also for her it is difficult to understand. Florinda received tomography at the capital, I talked to the doctor at the hospital on Friday, and she explained the result, but it was a difficult to understand on phone, if I understood correctly the cause of Florinda's suffering was an infection that created some kind of a "bag" with liquid in her head that causes several problems including the seizures, convulsions. This "bag" has to be taken away she said, an operation, so that there can be any possibility to take away the pains, and I think perhaps it also can mean that her brain will have space to develop, I am not sure exactly how it is. I hope to receive more detailed information from the doctor soon.

October 6 2009:

Hi Dick,

Emergency situation

Florinda is now having fever and seizures (her eye goes up and she is having problems with her breathing told me her sister today) I am very sorry to tell this: The national hospital did not release Florinda but on Saturday in the afternoon her mother made the decision to take away Florinda from there, she acted in panic, not trusting the hospital at all and since Saturday night Florinda has been in their adobe house without any medicines etc. The doctor who I came to know on Wednesday unfortunately was not there during Saturday and Sunday, she returned to the hospital yesterday. On Saturday I had been talking to several persons and I thought that they would wait until Monday when the doctor was going to return. I explained several times directly and later on phone that mother has to have patience but she decided to bring Florinda home.

Roland and I both realize much like in the case of Lisvi who's family decided to take her home where she died less than 2 weeks later, this family has the right to make the this decision, but unlike Lisvi's family Florinda's mother wants her daughter to receive medical help. Even after making what I consider a mistake of taking her daughter back home with her she has been pleading with us to find a doctor that can treat her daughter. Unfortunately the decision that she made because of her fear of national hospitals may very well have severed her ties with Hermano Pedro.

Please keep this precious child in your prayers. Pray also for wisdom on our part. It would perhaps be easiest to say we did our best and that it is time to let go but even though mother made a decision that we warned her not to make she is pleading for help. Roland told me that during a telephone conversation that he had with Florinda's mom last night he could hear Florinda screaming and crying in the background.

Saturday, October 3 - Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A lot has been going on during the past 5 days, so much in fact that I have had no time to write about it. I thought about thinking back and detailing everything that happened in chronological order but have neither the time or the memory to do that. Here than is a hodgepodge of some of the things that have gone during the past several days.

Everyone has a photographic memory…
Some of us just don’t have film.

I do remember having lots of kids around during the weekend.

It was wall to wall kids As usual.

Those that did not fit downstairs stayed upstairs.

Oh, Oh, I forgot I live in a one story house.
I hope that it didn't rain that night.

We even made it to church.

My good friend John Sherrill and his 3 daughters are here for a week.
The boys and I took them to Hermano Pedro to spend some time with the orphanage kids.

No arm twisting was required to get this family to love on the kids.

My kids didn't require any prodding either.

, ,,, On Tuesday Chris, John, John's 3 Daughters and myself
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.Brought some water filters to a village.

The 450 families that live in this village have only shallow wells and the water is extremely contaminated.

We only gave out 7 filters.

We will be monitoring them closely before giving out any more. They are a new design and are smaller than a soup can. If they are half as good as the company that makes them claims they are they may be much better than anything that we have seen used in the past.

Chris had no problem finding volunteers that were more than eager to try the pure water that flowed from these new filters.

Up until today these children have been drinking the water that came directly from their polluted wells.

Raw sewage and water from polluted ponds quickly seeps through the sand and gets directly into these wells that are only a few feet deep.

Most homes do not even have outhouses because allowing human waist to lye on the ground is better than having it go into a hole that is often times lower than the water table.

If these filters can save the life of even one of these precious children it will be worth it.

After giving out and setting up the Water filters we traveled to the coast with a few of the people that work at the Clinic in La Gomara.

After a boat ride to where the river ran into the ocean we ate lunch at a little restaurant and then went and looked at some land that was for sale. We are still praying that we can relocate the family that has the 3 children that have brittle bone disease.

Each time that I have visited in the past I have been told that father was out working. It was not until today that we discovered that several months ago he walked out on his wife and 8 children. I have seen my share of poverty in the 10 years that I have been in Guatemala but this situation is one of the worst that I have run across.

Wednesday we had a wheelchair distribution in Mazatenango.
Over 60 wheelchairs were given out and several people gave or rededicated their lives to Jesus.

One of the highlights of my day was being able to give wheelchairs and walkers to 2 little boys that I
just happened to run across while recruiting for camp a few weeks ago.

Seeing Mario and myself talking to a man that was in a wheelchair the mothers of both of these children approached us asking if we knew where they could receive help for their sons neither of whom could walk. As it turned out we just happened to have a wheelchair distribution scheduled in their town a few weeks later.



Thursday, October 8, 2009, 9:06 PM

I did it! I finally got caught up on my journal! You may be wondering what I did most of the day. My first sentence pretty much sums up a lot of what I did today. (I finally got caught up on my journal!) That and getting my car back into shape for my next outing which is planned for tomorrow. Since I plan to be on the road (or trail) for the next several days I think that I will send this journal out tonight. I also moved my weekly soccer game with the kids up a few days. That perhaps helps explain why writing this week's journal took a bit longer than usual. It is not easy to type with a swollen wrist. I am still getting letters that suggest that I act my age and leave the soccer playing to the kids but I figure that a stiff wrist from playing soccer is far better than stiff bones from sitting to long in my rocking chair.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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