Day 5

Posted on: 03/27/2019

Author: Adrian van Deudekom

Wheelchair Clinic Wheelchair Clinic Wheelchair Clinic Maribel Fanny & Julio Wheelchair Clinic Patient Education

Today we move on to the small Mayan village of Canton Chotacaj, meaning “in front of the sky.” Rising 7,5000 ft into the Sierra Madre mountains, the oncoming spring rain brings relief for the economy in this agricultural village. This land here is rich in volcanic ash.   

These remote mountain areas present a unique challenge for the injured and disabled.  Crystal is the manager of the wheelchair clinic, She was in search of what to do with her life when the perfect fit came along after she decided to be a Faith In Practice volunteer. Working here in the clinic, she knows now she is making a difference in people’s lives. 

The clinic is a bustling place with the sounds of tools making wheelchairs and patients chatting in anticipation as they patiently wait their turn to see a Dr. Alex and one of the physical therapists. As it is all over the compound, one heart wrenching story after another walk through the doors of the clinic. 

Fanny moved from Mexico City to Huston with her father when she was sixteen years old.  Over twenty years, she gave birth to two boys and met a handsome strapping young man from Guatemala named Julio who helped Fanny raise her boys Reny and Pedro. The parents were both in the restaurant business. Julio managed the restaurant, Fanny cooked, handled the cash register, and anything else that needed to be done.  On the side she also cleaned houses and worked at a home caring for elderly patients. Ten years ago, Julio got word that his mother was very ill so he went back to Guatemala to take care of her.  Fanny feels it was his mother’s passing and witnessing his sisters suicide that started the illness. Julio knew he was stricken and could not leave.  He was loosing muscle control so Fanny came to Guatemala to care for him and their third son Eric.  They opened up a little store in the village and tried to cope with Julio’s illness but his degenerative neurological diseases got worse.  Today Julio is able to get out of bed only when his medications take effect, but it can only be taken a couple times a day and last just a few hours.  Here in the clinic, Faith In Practice met the family with compassion, set up a appointment with a Neurologist and provided Julio with a collapsible wheelchair. The family was grateful. Julio did not see Fanny fighting away the tears.  She dreams of her family returning to Houston, but the future for them is uncertain. 

Maribel, a twenty one year old single women from Totonicapán, has Spina Bifida with a sever right club foot. She came hobbling in on the end of her ankle wrapped in a cloth bandana with no pad for protection. Dr. Alex saw the wound was badly infected.  After cleaning and disinfecting the wound, she consulted with Dr. Hillary to help advise Maribel on the best ongoing care of her serious wound.  Faith In Practice provided Maribel with a wheelchair but more importantly a referral to the hospital in Antigua where her foot can be corrected.  Dr. Alex explained, if her mother had received the proper nutrition during the first weeks of pregnancy, this would not have happened. Spina Bifida is rarely seen in the USA today because of nutritional supplements now found in our food supply.  

With the large number of cases suffering from diabetes and hypertension, education and nutrition advice is now a service at the Faith In Practice Village.  On site, nurse Fran leads small personal classes to help patients understand the connection with health and proper diet & lifestyle.