Loving Arms is a Canadian charity working to transform the lives of the people we serve living in Guatemala.
Thursday, September 14th
Tomorrow is Guatemala’s Independence Day. They became a nation separate from the rest of Central America in 1821. We witnessed the celebrations that began last night on our arrival into Guatemala City with the Torch Run. The streets were lined with runners, many carrying torches, and the traffic volume was crazy for 10:30 pm on a Thursday night … bumper to bumper for miles! Many trucks were filled with revelers: people sitting loose in the back, some carrying torches, many wearing party hats and making noise with horns, whistles, shouts and laughter … it was a vibe similar to New Year’s Eve in a public square. It all made the drive from the capital to Antigua entertaining though long. On arrival I was very pleased to find our accommodations far exceeded my expectations. The floor of the room I am sharing with Fern, Tamara and Cindy is so clean I am comfortable walking around in bare feet!
Friday, September 15th
This morning was all about sorting supplies and creating 6 clinic bags – one for each planned clinic – with medicine, vitamins and personal hygiene items. After lunch we ran the first clinic out the Loving Arms Centre of Hope. This one was for the children of the Loving Arms school and their families. Fern and I kept the children happy and busy with sidewalk chalk, ball games, skipping and indoor colouring while Barb, Cindy and Tamara listened to the health concerns of the families. Jeff had the pharmacy task of handing out the prescribed medications, vitamins and hygiene supplies. We saw 141 people today; a phenomenal task for only 3 nurses! It was 6:35 when the last family left the clinic. The sun had set on a good day’s work. The team headed back to Antigua where a delicious chicken dinner, prepared by Carmen from Loving Arms, was waiting for us.
Saturday, September 16th
I had entered this trip with a question. How much good can we really do? My question is being answered — MUCH — here are the big two:
ONE: Though the people look reasonably healthy to my eye, I learned that there is much malnutrition here, and many suffer from digestive and respiratory ills. So one of the big functions of our clinics is to educate the people on nutrition and hygiene, including the special needs of women regarding menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
It was encouraging to hear from Barb that she has noticed a marked improvement in the overall health of the population since Loving Arms has been working in the area. I attribute that to Linda’s ability to consider the big picture … the whole person. Certainly the water filter program and stove program have gone a long way by
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