Past, Present and Future

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hello Again from Guatemala

Well I know that most of the time you are expecting a lot of pictures and seeing what goes on here, but it is usually just about teams and emergencies. But I wanted to send out a letter a little more in depth about what has been accomplished and more importantly where I feel the Lord is taking the work here in Guatemala.

Over the past year the Lord has open new doors to me that I never imagined and has closed some doors that I never imagined. But the work here in Guatemala has continued to grow and be blessed.

First I want to share with you where we are with building a hospital.

As of right now I have seven Guatemalan Citizens that are on my Board of Directors. I have applied through a Guatemalan attorney to become officially a foundation that will be called

“That much less, for the IRS” 

ok, ok just kidding,,,,, : Junglemedic Missions.

This will allow me to have accountability to a board of directors and also be a legal foundation in Guatemala. I have very good friend in Portland Maine that has a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization that is called Adios Ministries. This will let people who want to donate funds to the hospital or the work here through Adios Ministries and then the money can be transferred to JungleMedic Missions Foundation here in Guatemala but will be through a U.S. Non-Profit organization so folks can get a full tax deduction for their donation.

There is a group of very intelligent and affluent people in Guatemala City that have approached me and know of my work here in Rio Dulce. They are forming a foundation called Amigos del Rio (Friends of the River). They are going to be the primary fund raisers and people who have the contacts and information to build this hospital in a proper and legal way. These folks have been a tremendous help to me already and one of the men has already donated the new ambulance we use so often.

The Hospital

The Hospital will be a basic hospital that will take care of all emergencies that I take care of now but the goal is to have a staff of American and Guatemalan Physicians along with a staff of medical and nursing students that can come and do rotations for residency while staffing the hospital.

The goal is to have an Emergency / Operating Room with Anesthesia for emergency C-Sections,

(I had to deliver 5 babies last week and two were breech) with no doctor that is a very dangerous situation to be in and can go bad real fast.

I hope to also have an x-ray machine and lab so we can set bones and fractures and also do emergency surgeries for things like appendicitis or bowel obstruction, or life threatening emergencies that we would normally have to drive an hour and a half to a government hospital or they would just die.

The goal is to also have a 7 or 10 bed ward for recovery from the emergencies or surgeries with a nursing station and also apartments for the doctors and their families.

This is a big project and will take some time and money and in these days of uncertainty of the economy and politics is it a wise thing to take on?

I don’t know but I know it is needed more than you can imagine and so my take on this hospital is this.

If God wants this hospital He will make a way and put on peoples hearts to help. If this is just my dream or crazy idea, well I don’t think it will ever get off the ground and if it is not Gods will I pray it doesn’t happen anyway Right?

OK enough of the technical stuff, now I want to share with you something I have been wanting to do for these people for a long time, but first let me explain.

I can go outside my home and eat a watermelon and spit the seeds on the ground and in about a week there are watermelon plants growing.

The Mayan people here are the most Mal Nourished people in the Western Hemisphere second only to Haiti.

Sick ChildHere in my area of the department (State) of Izabal, they only grow corn to make tortillas. So for breakfast they eat a couple of corn tortillas and a half a cup of black coffee made from burning corn until it is black and then boiling it. The mothers give this coffee to their babies in bottles because they are so mal nourished themselves they cannot produce breast milk. They basically eat this same thing 3 times a day!

So I have for years asked them why they don’t grow their own gardens with tomatoes and cucumbers and melons and squash, and okra. The always say to me those things cannot grow here in this area.

The Olive Garden Project

So………..  I decided to make up a special batch of my own fertilizer mix with free components that we have in abundance since we have lots of cows.

(I think you can read between the lines huh?)

Anyway I put in a garden with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, and Radishes and Okra, and Watermelons and Cantaloupe and Zucchini and they people could not believe it. So some of the ladies went back to their village and tried growing their own but could not.

The reason is they just don’t know how to put in a garden like we do and most importantly they have pigs and chickens that run wild, so as soon as a fresh sprout comes up it is food for the animals.

So I have a dream… that all men will someday be free….opps forget that part….

Seriously I really believe that now that I have done years of medical and dental work I need to teach these people how to grow their own food!

If they can grow their own food they will not be mal-nourished and may have extra to sell and by shoes with…..

So next year in 2009 one of my prayers is that I can get teams of people from churches or civic organizations, or high school teams, or mafia types like my family, or any body who could come down with a team of 12 people and help me go into a village and teach just one family how to have a garden and help them till the soil, plant the seed, and then build a chicken wire fence around the garden.

Now you may be saying why just one family? Well you see when you try to get everyone in a village to all do the same thing and start giving out welfare they get lazy and there is no value in the items or project, they begin to just expect a hand out. No offence to you liberals out there but facts are facts. Welfare just does not work long term.

But I have learned some things in life and one is people want what they can’t have…

Why? I don’t know it is just human nature.

So if…. say we help the pastor of the village or the teacher, or even the chief of the village to have a nice garden, at first no one will pay much attention, but about the time the chief starts eating tomatoes and cucumbers every single person in that village will be saying, “Ochu Cheek loc ush”….“how did you do that”?

Then the chief can teach them and we can go back and give them a hand on planning their own garden.

So you say Bryan, You know I have read your stupid news letters  for years now and always wished I could come down there and help out, but you know I am not a doctor, or dentist or nurse or Paramedic so I just really didn’t feel like that was something I wanted to do.

I love to help people and I am not afraid of hard work, but the blood thing and babies and well that is just not my calling….OK I have heard you and I feel your pain, and totally understand.

 I don’t like sub zero weather or living in prison so I don’t live or visit Russia, I’m not a bad guy that is just not my thing….

But if you can turn some soil with a shovel, and plants some seeds and help build a chicken wire fence,,, well how about putting a team of friends or family together and come and help me teach these people how to feed themselves with a garden.

I made up this saying…. Give a man a tomato and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish for tomatoes and he’ll starve, but teach him how to grow a garden and you feed him for life….  Author Bryan Buchanan……

So basically my goals for next year are simple.

  1. Build a hospital
  2. Continue taking teams of medical personal into the remote villages for health care.
  3. Teach villages how to grow their own vegetables.

I guess what I am saying is if you would like to help me with any of these projects, then give it some time and thought and if your interested in helping just e-mail  me and I’ll do anything I can to help you.

I hope to get some new info on the web page soon about the garden project but I am still working on it in between medical teams and emergencies.

Also if any of you have any ideas about this garden project I am all ears, I just think this will make a huge impact on these people’s lives.

Ok I‘ve taken enough of your valuable time. If you want to give me any comments or suggestions please don’t hesitate to e-mail me OK?

And one last thing.

Thanks to all of you that have come down here already and those of you that are coming and to those who have hung in there with me through good times and hard times.

I hope you’ll take a minute and write me.

Thanks and God Bless