Portland, Maine Team

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hello Everyone from Guatemala

Well I have to share with you really a three part news letter because I just had back to back teams, and Ihave some other things I want to share but it will need to be in stages.

The first one was a super good friend of mine Ralph Merrill. He and his family have been going into the mission field and introducing folks to mission work for many years.

He is one of those guys that says "Bryan, what ever you need done we will do it."

Soooo, I said are you sure? He said yes why? I said I thought your wife and daughters were vegetarians? He said yea why? I said because I buy a cow every six months and butcher it for the freezer and it helps cut down the cost of food.

He said I’m sure there will be no problem.
So the day after they got here we all got in my boat and headed up river to kill and butcher a cow.

Everybody pitched in like troopers.
I had to laugh inside for a couple of reasons. Here were most of the women of this team that were vegetarians and they were cutting the skin off this cow like they were Maine deer hunters.
Also one of the women was a doctor (an Internist Dr Brandie pictured below)She was great and seemed like this quite humble shy woman, but after we cut the cow open and got into the intestines this shy humble doctor turned into a wild woman.
At first she just began teaching the nursing students about the anatomy of the heart, but then…..
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She turned into a blood thirsty crazy woman!
Actually I’m having fun at her expense but it was a new experience for all of them.
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We then loaded the cow in quarters and headed for home. There we spent the next 5 hours cutting up the meat and grinding hamburger.
But I got so hungry I could not wait for dinner so I snuck a leg to chew on till dinner time.
Anyway we all had a good time and then next day hit the road doing clinics.
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We went on roads that buses should not go on!
Some people argued with me that I did not know the difference between a road and a river, but I find that by driving up a river bed I can save time as it is usually smoother than most roads in Guatemala.
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I admit sometimes you have to dodge a few rocks, but the scenery is pretty and makes for a fun drive.
But then we have to go to work.
We sat up two lines going down each side of the bus and since I had my Guatemalan nurse and an American Doctor they did the Triage and determined the patient’s problems and I got some therapy and got to do oral surgery in the bus with AC and lights.
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I let Ralph pull a tooth and now he thinks he can go back to Maine and hang out a single. I suspect he’ll be writing me from prison next week.
One of the villages we took care of was the village that Rodrigo and his family live in.
It is called Jocalo.
This is Rodrigo’s Mother Maria and his Father Pedro Choc
What is funny is that they are always smiling and laughing and wonderful people, but when people get their picture taken here they won’t smile like the pictures of Americans in the old days.
Here is Rodrigo with a couple of buddies. We are still waiting on a host family to come forward in San Diego for him and his father before the Embassy will grant a visa. So keep them in your prayers.
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We went to some very remote villages that had never seen a doctor before so we saw some sad cases, like this little boy who has been deformed since birth.
On our way down one steep mountain the bus engine caught on fire so I had to stop and throw water under the engine cover. I found out that the oil dipstick cover had fallen off and because the grade was so steep going down some oil sloshed out on the turbo charger which is very hot and the oil caught fire.
I put the fire out and the old Bluebird Bus fired up (no pun intended) and off we went.
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We ended up have a good amount of emergencies while they were here the nursing students got to learn to suture and the doctor got in some practice. Here they are suturing a young man cut on both legs with a chain saw. I lived in Maine and always had a Huskevarna Chain saw that could cut down a 16 inch tree in 8 minutes, a real mans chain saw. This guy cut himself with a Homelite chain saw. I use that to butter my bread with….I would have been too embarrassed to cut my self with a Homelite. I give those for Christmas presents to toddlers….. but somehow this guys cut both legs.
I had to show you this little boy who rode up to the clinic on his horse; I just thought this kid was a real cowboy.
Well it was a great team and they were a big help. I drove them to the airport and then next day picked up folks from a team from California which I will write about tomorrow but I am tired and hungry and going to bed, so good night and God Bless

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Photos/Video: Photo Album Portland, ME Team