My good friend David Black is once again back in Guatemala for a few months so this week he has joined Fernando, Bryan and me for a 3 day road trip. Actually we planned on staying away for only 2 days but no one was ready go get back home so we are staying an extra night.
Written by David Black (Photos by Dick)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Our next stop was to visit Stephen, who lives in the new village of Chukmuk, which was built to replace Panabaj ( destroyed by a mudslide during Hurricane Stan). Stephen,s chair was apparently dying. Dick checked the batteries and charger, and determined the family was not charging the chair long enough.
Our next stop was at the home of Stephen,s brother, Sebastian. Both have muscular dystrophy. His chair would work okay until he went up steeper hills, where it would quit for half an hour, then re-start. His teacher was worried for his safety, so she did not wish him to come to school and have an accident. Understandably so. After checking his batteries,we found some loose connections, and screws, which after tightening, seemed to fix the problem. Sebastian talks very well, and speaks English pretty good too.We had met Sebastian at a school on the edge of Santiago, where Argetina,s daughter Andreas taught.
Andreas then led us to Argentina,s for a late lunch of soup and tortillas. What a nice lady.
Andreas then took us to see Juan, an 11 yr. old who needs a motorized wheel chair. What a sweet, smart boy. Dick believes he is similar to Nari, and Manuel (who lives in San Juan), and wonders if chemicals sprayed on plants or something in the lake water could be causing their handicaps. Dick assessed Juan, and believes he will have no problem operating a motorized chair. His family will have to build a ramp though, for him to get up the hill from his house (no small feat). This is also where Dick did his Santa Claus impersonation for the local street kids - who loved it!
Lastly, we visited Alex, down near the lake, in Santiago, whose chair was working okay. When we came back to the Landcruiser, low and behold, there was Dick,s old Landcuiser, parked across the road, still looking pretty good. Dick called Norm and Vicki who bought his old one, and informed them they owed him Q500 to pay the parking attendant (Actually it was only only Q10 we just wanted to give Norm a good scare). We hope to see them manana, as they will be following us around the lake.
Thurs., December 22, 2011
After breakfast in San Pedro, we decide to go and see Pastor Efraim in San Pablo, as Norm and Vicki ( The couple who bought Dick’s old Land cruiser ) are on their way there. Efraim introduces us to 4 children who have lost both their parents to Aids, and are living apart with both grandparents. They have a piece of land and would like to build a home there, and live together with the children, as one family. We told them we could not promise anything, but will pray that someone can help them build a home.
A little girl, Lucia, whom Efraim had wanted us to measure for a wheelchair, is actually at the school in San Juan where we are headed. Just as we are heading out, Norm and Vicki roll into town with their 2 children, Ryan and Heather. We have a nice chat with them on a downtown San Pablo street corner. They work at an orphanage north of Quiche, and are taking Ryan and Heather on a bit of a vacation around Guatemala.
Off to San Juan we go to see Albert and his wife at their school for handicapped kids. They also provide physical and speech therapy, and are doing wonderful work there. This was another God incidence, as when we arrived there, Manuel was there with a none-charging wheelchair. Manuel depends on his chair for day-to-day living, and after some troubleshooting; Dick finds a burnt-off wire near one of the fuses near the batteries. Fortunately, a quick fix. After lunch, Albert graciously gives Dick a computer (for Dick’s boys at his home). The Dutch embassy gave Albert 5 or 6 computers, as they replace them every 5 years. Another wonderful couple doing great work here.
We decide to return to Santiago, and spend the night at the Hotel Tiosh Abaj near the lake which has a swimming pool. It costs a little more, but is well worth it to throw Fernando and Brian into the pool!
Returning from dinner, we stop at a tienda to buy some aqua pura, and a little girl reaches up and touches Dick's hairy arm. Dick thinks she said: I touched Santa!
Friday, December 23, 2011
Returning to Chimaltenango we stop at Dr. Will’s near San Lucas Toliman as Dick wants to show him some pictures of a young girl possibly needing surgery. Dr Will is actually in Chimal when we arrive, so his wife, Diane, gives us a tour of their place. It is a beautiful place on a hill overlooking Lago Atitlan. They run a Christian primary grade school, and also a shelter for single moms and their children. Another amazing couple.
We drop the boys off in Chimal, and Dick graciously drives me to Antigua, where we stop at Pat’s home to visit. Pat has been baking all week, so Dick and I offer to sample her baking. After 2 or 3 of her peanut cluster things, she puts the lid on them and we get some white chocolate ball things. All I can say is : Keep up the good work, Pat!
I head off to my room, while Dick walks with Pat to the bodegona to go SHOPPING!
Yours in Christ: Dick