Monday, November 9, 2009

Primeros Dias con Primeros Pasos

Here are some photos in and around the clinic where I have been working. The clinic is located right outside the city of Xela, where I live, and every morning my friend, Katie (a Family Nurse Practitioner from Emory, who is volunteering also) and I take the 30 min walk. Its nice on our lungs when it has recently rained here, because when it's dry the 30+ semi- trucks pass and kick up huge clouds of dust. The clinic is run by volunteers, for the most part and I am told that after being started a few years ago, they have sustained themselves almost solely on the contributions of donors and the works of volunteers. On a regular basis, the clinic services primary health care needs, and in addition, they organize traveling medical clinics. These traveling clinics visit the local day care centers, and the doctors and nurse practitioners examine all of the children, distribute needed medicines, soap, and toothbrushes. We are currently conducting these clinics and will be for the rest of this week. I am around for general help and education. After the child meets with the doctor, they come and visit me and we talk about

Jalapa, Guatemala

I partnered up with Iglesia Evangelica Betel in Xela, Guatemala and traveled with some members of their congregation to bring food, clothes and other donations to the town of Jalapa, Guatemala. We traveled for nearly 8 hours and when we arrived, we were greeted warmly by hundreds of people who had lined the streets. Before the trip, I was told that the community that we would be visiting had suffered a series of extreme rain and droughts and that some in this community were in great need. The combination ruined the crops in the village and the people there have felt the strain. The people seemed excited for our arrival, some had made food for all of us, others were in their church clothes but all had huge smiles and warm welcomes. As soon as we arrived and had unloaded all of the food and clothes, we assembled in the large saloon area. Packages of food and clothes were passed out to over 400 families (over 1000 people) and, later, the leaders from the church gave a sermon. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of- delivering aid to those in need. It was most impressive to watch some come to Christ that day- there were almost 10 who converted to Christianity that day. Praise God for such an amazing day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

Hola from Guatemala,
Just a quick note to say 'hello'- I arrived in Guatemala safely and am now in Antigua, Guatemala. Today, I will be going on to Xela, where, hopefully, I will be getting settled into my home for the next few months.

MY plans for my time here include living with other volunteers in a 'co-op'- From what I have seen of similar places, most of the people living there are American, Canadians, and Europeans. We live for cheap and all volunteer in the community in some capacity-There are also house chores and responsibilities. I will be volunteering through the same organization that is providing the housing. They specialize in getting people connected with various organizations, mostly NGO/NPO (Non-governement org/ Non-profit's). They have connected me with Primeros Pasos, which is a clinic, close to Xela. I am hoping to work with Vanderbilt's Global Health Scholar, who is there to start a clinic serving women and children in the are. This is really exciting for me to get the chance to work with this group, as I plan to apply to the Global Health Scholar program also when I return to school next year. Scholar recipients receive a grant to start a clinic in a medically under-served and developing area of the world.

Global Health Scholar Program-


Primeros Pasos--

I also will have a cell phone while I am here, so if you have a great international plan, you can call me anytime! (Here is my correct #, I gave some of you the wrong 1st 3 #'s- sorry!)
Mi #- 011-502-5338-3565

While I am in Xela, I need prayers for discipleship, strength, serenity, faith, safety, wisdom and a voice that is guided by the will of God

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Remembering my Grandmother

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

My grandmother, a woman of great faith, begun her struggle with dementia a few years ago, but she never lost her loving nature and beautiful smile. I returned back to the US 14 hours before she died on September 20th at 6am. One of the last memories that I have of her, before I left for Central America, was when she would close her eyes and recite Bible verses- John 3:16 seemed to be a favorite of hers. Now her suffering and pain is over and she is with God. She was an amazing blessing in my life and a living reminder of love's imperative.

Xela, Guatemala- Aprendiendo Espanol

WOW! Xela (aka. Quetzaltenango) was a wonderful experience!- I so glad that I let my friend, Stacy, talk me into paying extra to study Spanish where I really wanted to. I studied at Sakribal Spanish School for almost 3 weeks. Their Spanish program included living with a family as part of the full immersion objective. My three weeks were full of plenty of salsa dancing, futbol games, wonderful food, new friendships and, of course, learning Spanish.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

These are pictures from two of the "charlas" that I did with the health team. We did one in Miguel Christiano, Nicaragua and one in Chunco. In both cases, the children learned about a health topic and then get a chance to demonstrate the skill that they are taught- In these cases, the skills were proper hand washing and tooth brushing. We also handed out soap and toothbrushes. I realized that most of the kids don't have access to water. Most of the families in both of these communities collect water from rainfall to use in the home. These children are such a joy to work with, very sweet and attentive! I hope to develop more health education classes for the children.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Safe in Nicaragua

Here are a few more pics from the Costa Rica adventure. Steven and I arrived safely from Costa Rica to the Amigos for Christ house in Chinandega, Nicaragua. We took one of the local buses and I was really nervous about the trip, but we ended up being surrounded by a group of kids that had just finished serving with the same organization, Amigos! I couldn't believe it- I was also reading and I found the scripture "The Lord will guard you as you come and go, both now and forever." -Psalm 121:8. I felt at ease, even when we spent almost 3 hours waiting at the border to process our paperwork. There were so many times in Costa Rica that I felt more vulnerable than I ever had, just at the mercy of the kindness of others. Backpacking was an amazing adventure and I am so glad to have good friends to share the experience with.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

¡pUrA vIdA!

¡Hola! from the rich coast-Costa Rica!!! For the past 2 weeks I have been bouncing around Costa Rica. I thought I would jump start my move to Nicaragua with a few weeks of fun. Today has been my favorite of the whole trip-My brother, my friend, Robin and I went to Tortuga island. It was absolute paradise and we got a chance to soak it in for a few hours. Imagine white beaches and crystal clear water-pretty much the stereotypical Costa Rica postcard scene. Absolutely gorgeous! I felt a tinge of guilt, but not for long. Currently, we are staying in Montezuma- I have been to Calhuita, San Jose, Allejuela, Jaco and next we are planning to go to Samara, Tamarindo and Liberia- all before we set off for Nicaragua, where I will be settling in for a long stay. It will be comforting to lay my head in the same place for more than 2 nights and I am looking forward to beginning the work in Nicaragua.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Thank you and GOD bless all of those of you who have come to visit my blog- This is a time of great change and faith in my life as I shed most of my earthy belongings and follow the dreams that I have always had. I am moving to Central America to work as a community health nurse in impoverished areas of Nicaragua and Guatemala. One of the organizations that I will be working with is called AMIGOS FOR CHRIST. This is a group of short and long term volunteers that work in Chinendega, Nicaragua.

Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America on October 30, 1998, killed close to 3000 people around Chinendega, Nicaragua, and villages disappeared under volcanic mudslides. Amigos works to settle and sustain these displaced families in safe, healthy communities. Some of their programs include: medical, housing, feeding, educational and clean water programs.

I will be working with the medical, educational and ministry teams. On my May trip to Nicaragua, I worked with an orthopedic surgeon to recruit patients for surgeries scheduled for November, 2009. I also got to visit a clinic on the beach, literally- it was absolutely incredible! The American nurse who started this clinic is an amazing person, really focused on sustainability of a health care focused mission. Her goal is empowerment through education. I look forward to working with her in the future and learning from her every move.

Beautiful beach views and hammocks aside, Chinendega is no exception to the same paradox that can be seen all over Central America: Deep human suffering and pain heavily contrasts against a breathtaking backdrop. I am submitting myself to the service of these people. I hope to learn more from them than I could ever plan to teach them.