Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trip home

After a nice breakfast and last minute packing we headed to the airport in Guatemala City. It was another long day. We arrived safely back in Wilmington around 11:30 PM last night.

Many thanks to Alice and Tom who generously gave their time, worked hard and were so helpful throughout our trip. Thanks to Alice's students back home who donated 140 lbs of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, etc. A special thank you and get well soon to Nora (wonderful friend), who always wants us to use her property for the clinic and cares so much for the most needy in her country of El Salvador. Thanks to the UNCW School of Nursing faculty, students and staff who generously contributed clothes, materials, medications and other supplies to this trip. Also, thanks to our friends at USAID who helped us with logistics in Guatemala - Nancy, Gladys and Isabel!!  UEES, our affiliate university in El Salvador, did a good job in helping with transportation throughout our stay in El Salvador and to the clinics each day. It was good to visit again the School of Nursing faculty and students. Thanks to Ruben, our driver,  friend and clinic worker. Most important, thanks to the UNCW students who chose to spend their spring vacation providing much needed health care to the five communities in El Salvador. They worked hard and truly made a difference!! Finally, thanks to the Mary Lynn Richardson Fund for their generous gift to help support our clinic and the Salvadorans in the communities we serve.  Much thanks to everyone!!

Will post more pictures in the next few days. Thanks for following our blog!!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Our last day!!

We were busy yesterday with no time to blog!! It is often difficult to get Internet access.

Thursday- - Our first stop was Hospital Roosevelt. It is a public 1000 bed hospital - the largest in Central America. We were met by a USAID rep and learned  a bit about the health care system in Guatemala. The country spends 1.2% of their gross national product on health care - very little when the health care needs are so great. We toured the emergency room (there is a separate peds ER which treats over 200 patients a day - many visits due to gunshot wounds).We met several of the head nurses from various in-hospital units, visited the clinics, surgical unit, peds in-patient and the14 bed intensive care unit (ICU).  There most patients were on ventilators and the head nurse informed us they were not sedated. They seemed to be resting comfortably. Amazingly, there is a new unopened  16 bed ICU - it cannot open because the glass in all the rooms is not shatter-proof and the donated beds do not have cranks to change the bed position.

We moved on to the nursing school where there was a large bust of Florence Nightingale. We toured the school and met with the dean.Students must complete high school and pass an entrance exam for admission.   Once admitted to the 5 year program, tuition is free. Also, there is a new program supported by Korea to educate the doulas (Mayan birth attendants) in the countryside.

Next we had lunch, checked out of our hotel, and headed to Antigua Guatemala (about an hour ride) for some much needed rest and relaxation. On our way into the beautiful city we toured a jade factory. Guatemala, and especially Antigua, is known for its beautiful jade.

Our hotel in Antigua is very quaint - only 11 rooms - and decorated typico Guatemalan. It is very comfortable with a small fireplace in each room. We walked around the city and began to learn our way around. Antigua is a beautiful colonial city with cobblestone streets, brightly painted buildings, old churches, fun coffee shops,  reasonably-priced restaurants and great local markets.Most importantly, it is safe.We were joined last evening by Nancy Hoffman (friend) from USAID in Guatemala. She will be staying with us in Antigua.

Today, Friday, has been a day of rest. We all had a nice breakfast.  Everyone went their own way walking and shopping the local craft markets. Several students took a tour up to the volcanoes and will be back to Antigua at 8 tonight - just in time for a farewell dinner!!

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Antigua and Guatemala and begin our travel home!!!

Will post pictures later...Jane

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hi everyone:

Today we were up early to catch a 6:30 bus to Guatemala. After buying our tickets we learned the bus was full and we would be on the 8 AM bus. It was a comfortable and safe ride which took about 4 1/2 hours.

It was sad to leave the friends we made in El Salvador. Nora, the woman whose beach property we use for our clinics, has been very sick and worries about how her work with the poor will carry on. We will continue to use her property for the coming years to store our supplies and conduct our clinics.  Ruben, our driver, has been great and helped make our trip and clinic the best it could be. He worked with us as we cared for  many Salvadorans. tudents worked exceptionally hard, with translators, volunteers  and community leaders, to provide the only free health care these people have. Everyone left with some clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a toy for each child. We were happy to offer help in any way we could.

We are staying in a very nice hotel and are going to bed early to catch up on some much needed rest. Tomorrow we tour Hospital Roosevelt, the largest hospital in central America. Then it is on to Antigua!!!
More about our travels tomorrow...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Pictures from Tuesday

Clinic Day 5!

Buenas noches!
We had a very long day today. Starting bright and early, we headed out to the clinics to open nine new boxes that finally arrived! They were full of clothes, shoes, and some much needed medication. Over two hundred patients showed up to see us, so we were very busy! Our assessment skills have very much improved since the beginning, though. We were able to finish and provide everyone with medications, clothing, and shoes by 2:30! We stopped by la Universidad Evangelica de San Salvador to drop off some gifts we got for the students and faculty, and headed to the Love Link nutritional rehabilitation clinic.
The Love Link is an organization set up by a couple from Texas that began in 1987. They take in babies who are severely malnourished and give them nutritional therapy until they meet the desired amount of nutritional status and weight gain. They also educate the parents who want to keep the child about nutritional needs and healthy lifestyles, or find a home for a child whose parents do not want to keep them. We had the pleasure of meeting the husband who helped found Love Link, the staff, and a few of the babies they were caring for today. We all admired the incredible work they do. He showed us pictures of babies before they enter the facility and when they leave. The difference they make in these families´ lives is unbelievable. They can take a baby in whose doctors have given up on them, and send them off as a healthy child!
Once we finished with the tour, we hit up the mall for some comida for the bus ride tomorrow. We are all pooped after five days of clinic! Looking forward to leaving the hotel at 5:30 am for our 4 hour bus ride to Guatemala. WOOP WOOOP!
We miss all of our families and cannot wait to see you guys when we get back!!

<3 Kara

Monday, March 14, 2011

Clinical day 4

Hey y'all! All is great, but unfortunately our internet connection is intermittent. Needless to say, this will be brief! Another great day, caring for sick villagers. We were very limited with supplies, but great news, the embassy called and we received the rest of our boxes with all our antibiotics.
Today we saw a lot of patients with parasites! It was very interesting to actually see the signs and symptoms.
Afterwards, we got the fortunate opportunity to visit one of the 3 volcanos surrounding San salvador. It was absolutely beautiful!
Tomorrow we have quite an eventful day so we are going to turn in early tonight!
Haste maƱana,