Up the mountain

The grandmother says she doesn't like to drink water but prefers coffee (like a true Guatemalan). Kathy (back) says since she's 85 she can have whatever she wants.

I am late this week (and since no one said anything I'm assuming no one minded), but I have a good excuse.

Actually, I was trying to think of a topic and couldn't come up with one. And then today's opportunity came up and I decided to wait. That might not be that good of an excuse for some teachers out there, but it is good enough for me.

On Monday Tabitha and I were invited to join Kathy Smith on a mobile medical clinic. If you don't remember Kathy, she is the nurse in the picture for the post I made three weeks ago. Since that post we have been doing clinics in two schools in which PROVEE does breakfast and Bible lessons.

These clinics have been something that we have felt really called to help with. I spent one afternoon counting out vitamins and putting them in bags. Tabitha spent about two weeks looking for a way organize the medicines.

But today was not like those other days. Today, we each had a backpack full of meds to take house to house in Los Corrales.

We met Kathy and her husband Phil along with two Guatemalans, Leo and his wife Mindy, in Antigua. Then we continued up the mountains until we got to the village that seemed to have more horses on the roads than motorized vehicles.

No one was home at the first two places we stopped, but then we walked a bit farther and saw three families who were all close neighbors. The yards were tidy and each place had more than one building. I say buildings because if I said houses, you would get the wrong impression. Each place, though was as clean as you would expect for places with dirt yards and concrete floors.

This boy has two thumbs where one should be. He will get surgery when he is three, but in the meantime doctors want him to stimulate all of his digits. That would be best done through playing with toys, but he has none.

I noticed how hot it was inside. That is because it is noticeably hotter there than what I am used to here in San Lucas (I can see why some people shudder and say it's too cold when I say I live there). But I also see gaps between the boards that serve as walls for the houses, so there is some air moving through if there is any kind of breeze.

I also think about all the sheds, workshops and detached garages that are nicer than where five people sleep.

The people were as warm and welcoming as you would expect from people you know from church.

The children giggled and squirmed as the adults talked about their ailments. One two-year-old girl kept peeking out under a makeshift curtain as we stood outside. Every time I noticed her and waggled my fingers at her, she'd duck back out of sight.

The artisan who makes shirts has just begun a new project. She listens to Christian music while she works.

One building held a women's work area where she was weaving a traditional woman's shirt. One of these, which are like pieces of art, will take her about three to six months to make. Then she hopes to sell it for some income for the next time period. I imagine she also weaves the clothes for her two daughters as they get older.

Most of the people there got the following: vitamins, ibuprofen, cold remedies of one sort or another, and parasite treatments for the people not going to school. Things that most Americans would stock up their house with. Here, they don't have the money to buy them or they aren't available.

As we were leaving, we heard a big vehicle motoring up the road. We made our guesses to what it was: chicken bus (Google that if you don't know what one is) or Coke truck? No it was a tanker truck filled with water. It comes a couple of times a week and that is how they get their drinking water.

One of the kitchens we visited. Like the others, it was a separate building.

They don't drink as much water as they should to ensure good health. That's because they would rather use that water to cook with. The fact that the water only comes a couple of times a week means it has to sit in a plastic container out in the sun. It doesn't make it too palatable.

Leo said they had asked about getting a well dug would cost about $10,000 (US). Add that to a growing list of things I would like to get people back home to get behind and fund.

While the number of things I find lacking here in Guatemala grows, I find an equal amount of people who are happy to see us when we meet them.

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