Monday, August 25, 2008

From Guatemala to Nicaragua . . . oops Costa Rica

So we finished our year in San Miguel Chicaj.

Nothing certain was planned when we left on the 1st of August, apart from travelling to Nicaragua to see what was there. So far we have had a great time visiting the touristy and some very beautiful places in Nicaragua. Also as I had to renew my visa we headed to Costa Rica to visit some friends Jerald worked with right before we met. It just so happened that they were off to repair the roof of a church at Playa Manzanillo (a very beautiful beach) the next day so we took advantage of the free transport and board for a little bit of work and headed off with them.

You can find some photos of our trip here for Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Anyway as we have shared previously we are wanting to get involved with RescueNet. The YWAM bases here in Costa Rica have also been wanting to start a similar sort of ministry - being available to help following disasters. So we thought we would head back here to help out at least until December. The base we will work with is located in Bambu/BriBri . . .

Bambu, labeled on traditional maps as Bratsi, is reached by following the Suretka River, about 30 minutes into the reservation from the main indigenous community of Bribri. A good deal of the way as you're passing alongside the river, youll see Panama directly on the opposite side of the riverbank.

The Bribri were the original people of the Talamanca region, living in the mountains and Caribbean coastal areas of Costa Rica and northern Panama. They live very simply, the majority without electricity or running water. They subsist primarily on agriculture.

Most Bribri are extremely isolated and have their own language. This has allowed them to maintain a rich indigenous culture relatively untouched by western civilization. However their isolation has also caused them to have poor education and health care, not to mention the lowest income per capita in the country.

YWAM Talamanca has some photos of the community, the base is involved with NIKO wilderness camps, raising up local churches, construction, micro-enterprise, occasional medical outreaches and working in conjunction with the local Red Cross.

At the moment we are visiting Matagalpa, where Jerald grew up and we have caught up with some of his extended family and friends here. Tomorrow we head back to the capital and then on to Costa Rica.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slideshow of our dental clinics.

Dental Outreach

Last week we were joined by Bill and Peggy Pratt, Luke their grandson and a family friend Kelsey all from Washington along with Jacobo and Janet Pineda from here in Guatemala.

Bill is a dentist and Jacobo is a medical doctor so we spent 8 days running clinics in three separate communities. We spent 4 days in Chicholom where we visit weekly already to have medical clinics or visit houses and pray. Plans are now in progress to start a dental monitoring program there with some of the children.

Chacalte is a neighbouring community where we had never visited but often patients come from there to our clinics in Chicholom, we spent 1 and 1/2 days here before travelling back to San Miguel Chicaj (our home town) and finishing off with one day in Javalliel/Bramadero a community were YWAM San Miguel hopes to work in the future as well.

We had so much fun as Janet and Jacobo can hardly say a sentence without making a joke and Jerald was kept busy harassing and being harassed by Luke and Kelsey (both 15).

It was nice to meet Bill and Peggy who travel extensively and use a lot of their time to run dental clinics here in Guatemala as well as in Mongolia and Ecuador among other countries. A highlight of the week was seeing Bill piggyback Peggy (both 71) over the stream which had risen in just two days and covered the stepping stones we usually use. Unfortunately I did not get a photo and the following day we found a new way across.

It is sad that it is the last time we will visit Chicholom - the first time I stayed here for 2 weeks running a health clinic at the beginning of 2005. It was so cold you could see your breath even in the middle of the day. But the past week was the perfect way to finish our time here in San Miguel Chicaj.

This Sunday we will be all packed up and heading out for some time in Nicaragua. I will keep you updated on what happens.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To Oregon and Back

RescueNet is a disaster relief training program - With the purpose of teaching you how to meet a crisis with the love of God through; First aid/CPR, Search & Rescue, Fire Suppression, Disaster Counseling, Disaster Child Care, and Refugee Reception. They then take what you have learned and place you in multiple scenarios to see how you will respond with the tools you have been taught. To finish off we had a written test and a final scenario that took us 3.5 hours to finish - finding and removing 12 people from a 3 storey building following an earthquake.

As with finances for healthcare the world over, a large amount is used to benefit a small amount of the population - often in a disaster 10% of the people affected actually receive assistance while 90% are left to fend for themselves. Even more horrifying is that peadophiles were the first people to enter Indonesia following the Tsunami in 2004 and that Aid workers have been known to sexually abuse women and children

RescueNet is currently building up teams to be able to show Gods love in possibly the worst day of a persons life. The founder of RescueNet completed the IPHC here in Guatemala (with our current director as his leader). Rescue Net not only has this training, but also already responds to disasters all over the world including Pakistan (earthquake), Iraq (War) Honduras (Hurricane) among others.

Here are some pictures of our last 3 weeks. The participants

Practice getting about in small spaces, entering under the deck we had to find a 'missing person' and radio in.

Learning about assessing a victim.

We are really glad we had the opportunity to complete this training and are looking for avenues to continue learning more about this area of work. I don't have any photos yet of the scenarios but I will put some up when they get sent.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our next project

So we have been thinking about doing some training with RescueNet (another ministry of YWAM) which is taking place in Oregon from May 3-18. Initially we had just applied so Jerald would be able to go but after being apart for the majority of 6 weeks during the healthcare school outreach we thought it might be something we could do together.

Jerald has been visiting the Red Cross in Coban (close to where we were for clinic on outreach) to complete a first aid course as part of the pre-requisites.

Anyway yesterday we found out we had been accepted - we also found out that Jeralds current visa is not specific enough to allow him to enter the US for this training. So the week prior to May 3rd we are planning to travel to Nicaragua to apply for the correct visa - this does not allow too much time to get an appointment at the embassy but we are not able to leave any earlier.

We are really looking foward to taking part in this training, so hopefully everything will fall into place.


The Buzzy Bee, world famous right here in Guatemala!