The Mayan Orthodox Church- February 2016
Life goes on in chilly, cloudy Aguacate! If you have ever flown on a plane through the clouds, you will have an idea what it’s like outside of our windows in Aguacate. The village is so high up in the mountains, that clouds usually sit on it. Clouds, being comprised of water vapor, make everything pretty damp and cold. On one rare day, the clouds lifted and we saw the sunshine. We were even blessed with a most beautiful sunset. Despite the chill in the air, the Mayan community here is filled with warmth and love, which makes it an excellent location for our clinic.
The latest medical team from the US had a very busy week in the clinic. Dr. Todd Giese, a private practice doctor from Chicago, IL, Dr. Alexis Vien, who serves a hospital in the Bronx, NY, and Nurse Sarah Lantz, who works at a university hospital in Kansas City, barely got to rest. During the 5-day operation, we treated 270 people in all. I assisted Dr. Alexis with translations. It was a 3-way operation, because most of the people in this area speak their native Mayan language, Chuk. Juana, the village health care worker, spoke to them in Chuk, then to me in Spanish, then I relayed the information to the doctor. Then, back again. The women, who are very modest, were so happy to have a woman doctor. They are too shy to even tell a man their health problems, let alone to be examined by one. Some were surprised to learn that they were diabetic or had high blood pressure. We gave them life-saving medications. We also had quite a few positive pregnancy tests.
It was gratifying to supply much-needed medications to people who have no access to them. It was also heartbreaking to tell some people, who needed surgery, that we were not able to do it. One man walked for 3 hours through the mud to reach us. He arrived wet and muddy up to his knees, only to discover that we could not operate on his painful hernia.
An elderly, ragged woman hiked barefoot for 1 hour, down a steep mountain slope to show us horrific fungal growths on her leg. None of us had ever seen anything like it. Dr. Alexis took photos and sent them to a dermatologist in the US. By the time a response came in and we realized that we had a medication to help her, the woman had set off up the mountain again. Dr. Alexis and Juana took off running up the mountain slope, but could not reach her. Juana will try to make contact and help her toward a cure.
At the end of the week, we drove the medical team to Mexico for their return home. They leave behind a village filled with gratitude for their kindness. We pray that God blesses and keeps them in their work so that one day they may return to us. We look forward to the next medical team which will arrive in April. We thank everyone who has partnered with us in bringing this clinic to fruition through both their prayerful and financial support. May God bless all of you as you have blessed the Mayan people.