Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Belize: Part Four

Tuesday morning, Nicole and I head out for....yup....a walk. Picking a new road each morning.

 We went back to camp for a breakfast of beans, eggs, biscuits and a hot dog :)

We then convinced everyone to head out for a little bit more shopping so we could bring home souvenirs for loved ones. Or if you were a senior boy on the trip, you might just try to go out and buy machetes or knives.....those boys!!

Then we headed to a retirement home that morning. We weren't allowed to take pictures so I don't have any but I do remember what we did. We got there and introduced our team and sang a few songs for those that were sitting outside. We then broke down into small groups or individuals and spent time with each of the residents. I first began speaking with a woman who was 106 years old!! I think she fell asleep, as would I at her age, so I took someone else on a wheelchair walk down to the front gazebo that was surrounded by beautiful plants which butterflies loved. We talked about all sorts of things and prayed for continued healing since she was left with deficits from a previous stroke.

We headed back to Shawville for lunch of chicken, vegetables, tortillas and jello for dessert.

Our medical team spent the afternoon in Santiago Juan for our second medical clinic.
 We set up in the preschool with two stations with tiny tables and chairs, a station for me and one for Doctor Mike and then some triaging stations for the nurses.
 We saw lots of diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia, many of the same things we saw at the first clinic. I can't move on without mentioning Hilda my translator sitting across from me. Without her, it would have been impossible to speak to those who were strictly Spanish speaking. I am so grateful for her and volunteering her time to help us.

 We saw just over 200 people that day. I remember that clinic day asking Jason when it would be done because it seemed like we just kept going and people just kept coming. Usually a very amazing and great thing, but I was getting behind on drinking my water and was trying to scarf down a melted granola bar in between seeing people.

After medical clinic we had to go pick up the rest of the crew who were out doing some sports ministry with the local people. Always competing USA versus Belize, we played some volleyball.
 We went back to camp for dinner which was rice, nachos, and donut holes!!

The best thing happened next. It was Grandma Bonnie's Birthday, turning 82, hopefully she doesn't mind me sharing her age, cause she kept up with us like she was 20 years younger than that! Nicole had been planning her birthday since we arrived. A cake was made that was more than delicious and she was totally surprised. See the piñata in the background!?
 Tears of joy that we would celebrate her birthday with her.
And with that, we tucked in for the night, exhausted and full of cake!

Wednesday morning....walk....you've got the drill by now....
 How true!? We saw this on the side of a school building. "Dreams don't work unless you do!"
After breakfast we headed out for a full day of clinic. We set up in two different locations between morning and afternoon.

We headed to Cristo Rey first.
 We recruited a few of the guys to help us sort out medications. We bagged ibuprofen, aspirin and Tylenol into smaller amounts so they would last us through two more medical clinics.
 Lots of families to see and treat
Consoling a woman who was going blind. So thankful to have the opportunity to help but so sad at some of the circumstances that we couldn't change or do anything about.
 Cute kiddos around every corner.
 We came to Belize with supplies for wound care but we didn't do as much as we thought. We did a lot more health maintenance and education along with chronic disease diagnosis and management. But occasionally we had wounds to bandage and treat.
 Doctor Mike and Nicole check out a little one
 After our morning clinic, we finished a lot closer to 1pm than we wanted so we went back to church to eat lunch and then drive to a very rural area called Boytown, where a small church housed a clinic for us. We had a very small area to practice. Lots of flu cases at this clinic and probably one of the worst cases of shingles I have seen so far in my life.

 After clinic we went back to Shawville to hang out with everyone to say our goodbyes since tomorrow (Thursday) was our day to head out to the island Caye Caulker for some relaxation. Here is Hilda and Rosy and I. Miss them so very much. Another instance which I am thankful for Facebook so we can keep up with each other.
 This is Jason with Hilda's son Javier. He was such a fun, energetic little boy that loved Jason. It was mutual because Javier was such a joy to be around. I can still hear him calling Jason 'John Cena'. Makes me smile.
This night was a tearful one. So hard to say goodbye to these people. They are so selfless and giving. Without them the community would be at such a great loss. The Salazar family, their supporters, and friends are beyond amazing. Spreading the Word of Christ while helping everyone else before themselves. We all were in awe of their commitment and dedication. It certainly makes you want to be a better person because of what they do.

Next post will be our overnight trip to Caye Caulker Island!!! Oh how I wish I could go back!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Belize: Part Three

Monday morning we headed out for another walk, this time we recruited Bethany, and Nicole and I headed out.
 We came to a beautiful pasture....
 full of adorable cows!
 I can't help it.....You lookin' at me??
Cows weren't the only animal we saw this day.......tarantula sighting!
This day we headed out to the Mayan Ruins.
Hot hot hot day and we hiked maybe a mile up a hill to get to the site.
 Loved the scenery everywhere we went
 More animals! Some Monkeys hanging out in the trees before we took our tour
 Doing some clean up and excavating
 Not many pictures of Jason and I together on this trip, so I'm incredibly thankful for this one...even if I was sweating like crazy!
 See that guy at the very top of the temple in the bright blue shirt....that's where we were able to climb up to next!
 On our way up.....
 Close your eyes Mom and plug your ears! We were at the very top of the temple and were able to step right to the edge. whew, too scary!
 The view was breathtaking
I have tons of photos of the Mayan Ruins but what do you do with them all? It was a cool place but I can't post all 50 photos on here, that might get redundant. Plus, I can't remember everything the tourist guides said. Moving along, after we hiked back to town, we ate in Santa Elena and had a huge piece of amazing chicken and even got ice cream for dessert. Although it melted within two seconds. HOT DAY!  The rest of the group headed out to swim at the river while Jason and I headed back into town for some shopping and to stop at the pharmacy to buy more medications for the clinics. We passed through the market again. Look at all that beautiful food!!
 Shopping in town
 Heading back to camp, you always see kids of all ages in school uniform
 We prepared bags of food to distribute to families in need. Bags of rice, flour, beans, ramen noodles and more!
 Everyone worked in teams to put together the bags of food so that some people could distribute the food the next day while some of us worked the medical clinic. Don't scroll down yet, did you read the saying on the wall?
After this, we worshiped, prayed, and talked as a group. We organized our medical equipment and supplies to gear up for another medical clinic. Oh how did I forget about dinner? We had Chicken,  pineapple that was incredibly fresh, and biscuits. That night before bed some of us watched the most amazing heat lightening dance across the sky. We were probably outside for at least an hour cranking our necks high above us to watch the storm. Off to bed we went to get ready for another day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Belize: Part Two

Ok, so in Part One I only made it through the day of arrival and our first day out ministering to the people. On to Day 2 Sunday morning. I woke up to that lovely rooster singing his song nice and early. So it became routine to take a walk with Nicole. On this particular morning it was very foggy but it made for beautiful scenery that just can't be captured.

 We saw lots of chickens wherever we walked. It took us more than a few moments to figure out what the local people were calling the chickens when they were talking about setting up the coops. Some are called layers and some are called fryers. I am sure you can figure it out from there :)
 Lots of baby chicks!
 We were walking along a path when I turned to Nicole, "I wonder what this fence is holding behind it!?" and at that exact moment we heard a very low and very deep MOOOOOO! Can you spot the fella?

Back at Camp we had my favorite breakfast by far....flap jacks! It was a fried tortilla folded over. No one is surprised that it's my favorite because it tastes like one of those elephant ears at the carnival. I definitely helped myself to seconds or thirds that morning.

We headed back to Shawville for a morning of worship with the children. They were able to use our bus to drive around and pick up the children rather than use their family truck for multiple trips.
We all started to gather together outside the church since there was a bee's nest that had to be taken care of first inside.
 This church was given to the Salazar family just days before our arrival. Talk about a God thing. To have a building to worship in for these children, under the roof, away from the hot hot sun. Praise God for those who were willing to hand over the keys to those who needed it most.

We sang songs and danced our hearts out. There is nothing you can say to describe how it felt to sing at the top of your lungs and to dance freely with the children. It's only something to experience.
After worship, we put on a skit for the children. This was the story of how Jesus asked his disciples to get him a donkey to ride into town. Jason or on this trip, they called him John Cena (professional wrestler) was involuntarily offered to be Jesus. The seniors on the trip were all about seeing him dress up and ride the "donkey".
Here is our resident donkey
This is the crew of disciples, townsmen, and Jesus. Not to be confused with a frat toga party.
This is the part where I about peed my pants. Jeremy (playing the part of 1/2 the donkey) was begging for Jason to actually ride on him. He was sure to make the story as literal as possible. No Jesus was going to walk next to the donkey. So of course Jason hopped on and the kids LOVED it!
After our hilarious skit, we were able to feed everyone rice and a cup of juice. It wasn't a lot but it was something. Hard to post these pictures and not get that feeling in your stomach. The one that tells you that back here in our home, we waste too much food. We let our children get by with not eating everything on their plate. We fix them 5 meals in one sitting just so that they will eat something because they are such picky eaters. Nothing else to say except .....ugh!
We ate another amazing lunch prepared by Pastora Salazar and got ready for our first medical clinic right there within the church. We probably saw about 150 people within a few hours. We had Dr. Mike as we called him and myself set up at each station with translators and nurses to help triage. We saw hypertension, diabetes, anemia, malnutrition, ear aches, stress, headaches, and much more.

 Our goals were to help those get medication that needed it, along with education on health and hygiene and how to manage these diagnosis without many resources.
We hurried back to camp after clinic to take a quick cold shower and change for church service that night. Pastor Tom from Dexter spoke followed by a few testimonies from the high schoolers. Pastora then spoke. Although she spoke Spanish and her daughter translated, we all talked about how you almost didn't need the translation. Her passion for Christ and spreading His Love is so large that you could feel it pouring out of her as she preached the roof off that place. Many people that night rose their hands to ask for us to pray with them so they could invite Jesus into their hearts. I just got goose bumps typing that. It's not everyday you watch people get moved through the Word of God right before your eyes. It was moving to say the least.

How did I only make it through ONE more day!? More to come....stay tuned!
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