* 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)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Journal December 6-11, 2009

"Life is what happens, while you are busy making plans."

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This morning Fernando, Esbin and I headed out for a 4 day road trip to Huehuetennago. This is the first time in Esbin's life that he has ever gone on anything more than a one day outing. Needless to say he was excited.

Even though it is only a 5 hour drive to Huehuetenango we headed out at around 9 AM because we wanted to take our time getting there. Since we got such and early start we considered going to the lake at Panajachel and spending a few hours. Thankfully we changed our minds because we later discovered that there was a riot there today and 4 police cars were overturned and set on fire. We made several other stops though and had a great time along the way.

Monday, December 7, 2009
This morning we left our hotel room early and headed for the home of Jose and his family. Jose is a boy that we have known for quite a few years now. Even though he is in a wheelchair and lives in a rather remote part of Guatemala his family has seen to it that he attends a school that is located over a mile from his home. Up until a few years ago his younger brother would have to push him there and back home in his manual wheelchair. Considering the hilly terrain this was no easy task. On a visit to that I made a few years ago I personally pushed him part of the way home from school. I quickly decided that he was in need of a power wheelchair, but at this years camp Jose told us that the power chair that we had given him had quit working. Today we brougt Jose a new power chair to replace the broken one. To say that he and his family were happy would be an understatement. They insisted that we stay and eat some cooked squash with them. This was all that they had cooking and likely the only meal that they would have today. We must have visited for a few hours before finally saying goodbye. Several of Josey's family members walked back to my car with us and before we left I printed up and gave them some pictures that we had taken of their family.

We then drove to the home of Lionel's family.

I was hoping that I could convince Lionel's family to take him home from Hermano Pedro during Christmas but discovered that his father and the 3 oldest children had gone to the coast to find work and were not expected to return for at least 2 months. Not only was mom left by herself to take care of the younger children but there had been a new addition to their family since my last visit. It appears that Lionel will be spending Christmas at the orphanage.

This afternoon Roland Elf came up from Xela and joined us. We were also joined By Maria Garcia and a man named Domingo. Both Maria and Domingo are Mayan people who live in villages close to Huehuetenango. They offered to take us to see Patricia, a young girl that lives about an hour and a half out of Huehuetenango. Patricia and her family know very little Spanish so it was great having them with us. Roland had previously sent me me some photos of Patricia's Legs which had large open sores on them. The nurses that we had at camp had given me some medicine so I wanted to clean and treat the wounds and was also hoping that I could show Patricia's mother how to treat them. I had also taken a wheelchair along to give to Patricia. She can not walk and the wounds on her legs are the result of her dragging herself along on the ground her entire life. Roland had warned me that Patricia was an extremely shy girl and I quickly discovered that he had not been exaggerating. It took a while but finally I gained enough of her confidence that she let me examine and treat her legs. I also showed her mother how to treat the wounds but am not 100% sure that she will follow through with the treatment. Roland will check back with them in a few weeks to see how things are going. I would really like to get her in to see a doctor but I don't think that will happen. I think that the wheelchair that we gave her will help a lot though because she can now move around without dragging her legs through the dirt.

There were more people that we wanted to see today but it was already starting to get dark. By the time we got Maria Garsia and Domingo back to their village and then ourselves to our hotel in Huehuetenango it was nearly 7:30.

It has been a great day but a long one so I am going to say, "Goodnight."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This morning Rolland, Fernando, Esbin and I headed back up to the area that we had been at yesterday. I had taken a walker along from Bethel Ministries shop in Chimaltenango that I wanted to give to Ernisto a boy that I had visited while recruiting for camp a few months ago. Due to his own deteriorating health Ernisto's father was unable to bring him to camp this year. His wife died about 4 years ago and now he is left to raise Ernisto by himself. It is quite a hike into where Ernisto lives but Fernando and Esbin willingly took turns carrying in the walker that we had for Ernisto. On my last visit I watched Ernisto take a few steps while holding on to the back of his wheelchair but could not have imagined in my wildest dreams how well he would do with the walker. It was love at first site. Ernisto who is usually very shy sprang to life. For the next half hour we could not get the kid to stand still. I just hope that his dad will be able to keep up with him now that he has his wings.

Our next stop was a a home that we had not originally planned on stopping at. We had left Chimaltenango on Sunday with 3 wheelchairs and this mornin I had every intention of giving Ernisto our third and final wheelchair however upon examining the wheelchair that we had given him several years ago I discovered that other than being extremely dirty it was in near perfect shape. Besides that now that he had his new walker I had my doubts that he would be wearing out his old wheelchair very fast. That is why we decided to drive on up to where 11 year old Esmeralda Carrillo Hernandez lives. Esmeralda is a highly intelligent girl who is unable to walk up until today she has had to either crawl or be carried around wherever she went. While we were seating her I asked Rolland to ask Esmeralda if she went to school. She and several of her family member looked up at us in astonishment. Why had I asked such a stupid question? Hadn't I noticed Esmeralda could not walk? I went on to explain that we know a lot of kids that were in wheelchairs that were now getting schooling here in Guatemala. I told the family that I even knew some that we have helped with schooling who have now graduated and are now teachers themselves. To make a long story a little shorter it looks like Esmeralda will be getting an education. You can't imagine how fast things fell into place. Or was it another one of those Godincidences? It looks like we have a teacher lined up that will home school her a few days a week. I am confident that a year or 2 down the road we will likely be able to have her attend her village school. This is so often the case once the local school sees that some one in a wheelchair can actually learn something.Just a quick footnote to let you know that someone has already stepped forward who wants to sponsor Esmeralda. Just in case you already had your check books out I do want you to know that we have a lot more Esmeraldas and Juans waiting for an education. If you have any questions on how to go about sponsoring a child just drop me an e-mail at dick@dickrutgers.com

We still one wheelchair left so we decided that we would try to locate a little girl that was suppose to live somewhere further up the the dirt road that Esmeralda lived on. Yes I know we had taken only 3 wheelchairs along with us from Chimaltenango and this would be the fifth wheelchair that we were giving out but this one has a logical answer. We had given 4 year old Rodrigo who lived quite close to Maria Garcia a wheelchair about a year ago. A few months ago Rodrigo died. At first Rodrigo's mom could not give up her sons wheelchair because it reminded her of some of her sons happiest days. Yesterday Maria Garcia told us that Rodrigo's mom had informed her that she was ready to have another child have her sons wheelchair. Little did she or any of us know that it would be some one that lives only a few miles from where she lives. Fernando had taken Rodrigos death quite hard because he had become quite attached to Rodrigo when he helped me seat Rodrigo into his wheelchair a little less than year ago. I think that it was very therapeutic for him to be able to be the one to seat Matilda into Rodrigo's old wheelchair this afternoon.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday & Thursday, December 9 & 10, 2009

Even though the drive from Huehuetenango back to Chimaltenago normally takes no more than 5 hours the boys and I managed to stretch it out to 2 days. We had intended on leaving for home at around 8 AM but some did not manage to get out of our motel room until around 11. An e-mail that I received from a friend just before heading home asked me when I was going to take a day off and just relax. Actually it suggested that I take a few weeks off but I figured that I better break my self in slowly. At any rate the kids were thrilled when we stopped off at nearly every river along the way and even more thrilled when I asked them if they wanted to stay the night in Chechecastinango, which is located only an hour and a half from home. Let me rephrase that. The 2 kids that were with me were thrilled that we stopped for the night. Those that phoned me asking why I was not home yet were not all that tickled that I would not be home until Thursday.

I finally got back home at around noon today and it took all of 10 minutes before it was wall to wall kids. I had earlier given some thought to going to the orphanage but decided that I would hang out at home for the rest of the day. Some of my kids wanted to simply hang out and visit while others put up my Christmas tree and hung Christmas lights outside of my house.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This morning Jason, and Cesar accompanied me to Hope Haven's wheelchair factory in Antigua. Mark had called me a few days ago asking me if I could come in and seat 8 or 9 kids that were scheduled to come in for wheelchairs. As things turned out the village that had intended to bring in most of the kids had to cancel out because a number of the kids were sick. As it ended up 2 of the kids that Mark had scheduled made it to the shop and a little girl whose parents had phoned me a few days ago also came in for a new wheelchair. Knowing that we only had 3 kids to fit gave me the opportunity to let my boys do most of the work. Not that I don't like fitting wheelchairs but I love it when my kids can get some experience doing it. The first 2 boys went fairly easy and the parents were well pleased. In fact one mother broke down and cried when her sons wheelchair was finished. To my knowledge this was the first wheelchair that her 11 year old son had ever owned.

The girl who had outgrown the wheelchair that we gave her a few years ago was a much harder person to fit into a new wheelchair so I actually had to do some work. It took the 3 of us several hours but everyone was happy with the end result.

After lunch the Boys and I headed over to Hermano Pedro and spent some time loving on the kids. About three fourths of the kids have gone home to family members for the Christmas holidays but most of those that remained behind are true orphans and needed some loving.
Fidel was looking really down in the mouth so I visited with him for a while. From what I understand the lap top computer that Chris and Donna presented him with for his birthday has been taken away from him. The powers that be at Hermano Pedro have decided that it uses to much electricity. If that isn't enough he and the other 3 people that have power wheelchairs at the orphanage are now only allowed to charge the batteries a few hours a week. Not only is this killing the batteries but it is killing the spirits of the owners of these wheelchairs. Over the years I have learned to carefully pick my battles at Hermano Pedro. That is why Monday I plan on going to war. Actually I am planing on showing them paper work of how little power these wheelchairs take and then offer to pay it. If that does not work I guess I could always borrow Benjamen's gun from him. No! it is only a BB gun but I figure if I shoot out 2 or 3 of the dozens of lights that light up the front of Hermano Pedro at night it would more than make up for the electricity that Fidel's computer and the 4 power wheelchairs use. Seriously though please pray that this problem can be resolved. For Fidel, Byron and some of the others these wheelchairs mean life.

Yours in Christ: Dick


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!


Saturday, January 02, 2010  

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