Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Día de Gracias
K’aslimaal member, Lyn Dickey is very happy to have her daughter Heather Pierce visit for Día de Gracias (Thanksgiving). Heather is a family practice physician for the University of Missouri at Calloway Physicians in Fulton. A co-worker who volunteers with International MAP donated medications to bring to the Hospitalito. The Posada de Santiago will have a fabulous Thanksgiving food feast again this year, and we hope that all of you enjoy the day with loved ones.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

HOVIS - Costa Rica

The long awaited inventory management system and training session was realized this week. Thanks to the hard work of Nicole Seiver, who was able to track down an inventory system.... in Spanish, that manages expiration dates. Fortunately, it was in Costa Rica. The Hovis system is used by Subway restaurants in the capitol. Nicole spent several months testing the system before it was purchased. Wednesday, Alex Vargas of Hovis arrived for a three day training session. All department heads were present. This will save a great deal of work in the pharmacy, and solve many other problems. Alex had a great time, his first visit to Guatemala, and promised to return. He said that now that the company sees that we are an ONG that serves the poor, the company will offer more hospital software programs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 10th, 2008

Today the construction began on the new hospitalito. A lot of work has gone into the site in preparation for the start, which was held pff until the end of rainy season. Maestro de Obra Gaspar Mendoza was chosen to build the hospital because of his work for the government. He has built small clinics and hospitals, and also bridges. He is pictured with Fundación K'aslimaal president Francisco Sojuel.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Trinity Lutheran Church
Stillwater, Minnesota
Many professionals arrived with this group, and they worked all over the place!
Day 1. The group arrived early at the construction site for a brief orientation with volunteer coordinator Traci, and Lyn. Part of the group began working with Ezequiel to layout the new construction materials storage building. The medical volunteers returned to Hotel Bambu to bring the suitcases of medicine to donate. Two pharmacists created the inventory sheets of their donation. Dr. Kevin Bjork began seeing surgical patients and later he worked with the builders at the job site, only to be called back to the Hospitalito for an emergency surgery. Antonio, who is working in the pharmacy while Rosalia is on vacation, asked for help from volunteer Pharmacist Cindy. Gwynn and Deborah offered to paint Cuarto 1, a patient room that has a mold problem during rainy season. Fredy set them up with bleach water to wash the walls before painting.
Day 2. Dr. Kevin performed his first surgery in the “operating room with a fireplace and a view”. Cuarto 1 was occupied with a patient, so it couldn’t be painted. The group assembled wheelbarrows purchased for construction and painted inventory codes on all of the new tools. Duane began checking computer problems.
Day 3. Cindy continued in the pharmacy, while Dr. Kevin and Deborah were in the OR. Four of the men got busy building the new metal building, and it went up FAST! At 4 PM, the group’s soccer enthusiasts joined Dr. Chuc and Jose Reanda for a game in the Bahia, and afterwards dinner at the Posada.
Day 4. Cuarto 1 was finally empty and the women quickly put on a new coat of blue from the Fairfax California donation. On the construction site, the volunteers install lighting in the new building. Arq. Molander and Gaspar Mendoza, the contractor chosen to build the new hospital, met to discuss plans for start of the foundation, next Monday. At 1 PM, a special traditional farewell lunch, pulik with suban was ready in the education room. After lunch, the architect and builder discussed future plans with Mission Director Tom Thiets and other engineers and specialists for return trips with more professionals.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day of the Dead.... November 1st.

All over Guatemala, kites are closely associated with the Day of the Dead. At this time of the year, months of damp skies are swept clean by the dry northern winds. In a three-way meeting between traditional Maya religion, Christianity and a seasonal change, the kites soar freely into the air to deliver greetings to the spirits of deceased relatives and friends.

In the two towns of Sumpango and Santiago Sacatepéquez in the highlands of Guatemala, the most complex kites are elaborated upon for months, before being displayed publicly nearby the cemeteries during the Day of the Dead. Tiny pieces of colorful tissue paper have been glued together by natural ingredients such as yucca flour, lemon peel and water into a quilt-like picture, with either a cultural, political or religious message. The kite is built onto a bamboo frame that measures up to 15 feet in diameter.

This picture shows young men from Sumpango raising their kite, and the word muerte, or death, can be read from below.