Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

World Relief Report

Written by John and Connie Otten
We are all well. You may know already that we are expecting our third little one the end of June. Connie feels well now and an ultrasound we had done in the city shows a healthy, normal pregnancy. Jolene and Melissa are healthy and busy girls. They spend much time in the sandbox that some men from the work team put together for them. Many who visit refer to the girls as our Òpublic relations peopleÓ because they welcome newcomers so readily.

It was a pleasure to have the work team with us for two weeks in January. They all came with special skills; some did carpentry and woodwork, making cabinets, desks, towel racks, others did cement work, putting in sidewalks by our house and the shop. The electrician had plenty to do, rewiring and fixing electrical equipment and beds, and the handymen did welding and put up ceilings in the storage room, kitchen and laundry. The medicine storage was transferred to a new location in the general storage room and JohnÕs office was moved from our house to the original medicine room inside the administrative office. John is very happy with this change. A small-scaled detail map of Cubulco and surroundings was drawn from a large one. This will be helpful for us, and Ken, to take along on trips. Many thanks to the cook too for providing so well for the group. In the evenings we all had devotions together, and the group spent two days with Ken and Jackie visiting a mountain village.

We are grateful to the team for their contributions to our work, and for the fellowship (and fun) we shared with them. Thank you for the tools, and hospital supplies that were donated. The employees at the hospital also were encouraged by the interest and involvement of the team members.

During the last week the group was here, a dentist from Wyoming came with his wife to work in the dental clinic. A week later they were joined by Dr. Bill Potts and his wife who originally set up the clinic. They plan to stay several months and other visiting dentists will be coming in and out during that time.

Surgery is scheduled for February. The surgeonÕs wife is a pediatrician and she will be visiting the schools around Cubulco to examine the children.

Case studies by Dr. Carlos Sican show the problems of superstition and ignorance, often causing death, as in a recent case where gasoline was administered as ÒmedicationÓ by a witch doctor. Many, because they live in isolated mountain villages, have only the witch doctor and midwife to consult.

Dr. Carlos asks questions about this case? Who do we blame? The parents for trusting in these people? What would you do if you lived in an isolated place without available medical attention, and ignorant of what would happen to your child? The witch doctor? He does what he does to send away the devil and he believes that the stronger the remedy the faster the evil spirits will leave the patient. The doctor for not administering adequate medication? Did the parents give the medicine to the child as was prescribed? Did they return for the appointment the doctor left for them?

We continually look for simpler treatments and ways to explain them to the patients, and we long for the people to know Jesus Christ who will truly free them from the evil spirits.

Dr. Juan Jose Artola tells of another interesting case last month: Lauro, a 30-year old resident of Cubulco came to emergency one morning with burns on different parts of his body. He stated that the night before he had been out drinking liquor, enough to lose consciousness and he fell asleep in the street. That morning he awoke there with burns on his face, shoulder, and right arm, and went to the hospital for treatment. Lauro was hospitalized with second degree burns, which were cleaned and Ôdebrided.Õ Antibiotics were administered both topically and systematically. Six days later Lauro was discharged in satisfactory condition, with scar tissue forming over his burns, and all of them free from infection.

It is interesting to note some cultural factors surrounding this case. These disorientated drunk men roaming the streets at night often canÕt find their own home and stumble into someone elseÕs. Typically, if the man is at home he defends his domain with a machete. A woman, however, thus accosted, uses hot water (there is usually a pot boiling over the wood fire) to throw into the intruderÕs face. Since Lauro does not have any idea how he was burned we can deduce that he probably unwittingly entered a home that was not his own.

**We have several requests for help.

1. Quite often hospitals discard old patient gowns and bed sheets, and often they are still in serviceable condition. If anyone has access to these discarded items, especially male patient gowns and bed sheets, maybe as a committee you could collect these items to send along with future visitors to Guatemala.

2. We have been thinking of putting a solar hot water system on the flat, concrete roof of the hospital, adequate to heat water for 20 patient rooms. Perhaps someone with expertise in this area could design something for us, and feel free to contact us for more information.

3. The Nutrition Centre at the hospital provides food and some education for the children who come. We have a small area of land which is about 12 meters by 14 meters. We would like to set up a small play area for these children. Most of the children range in age from one to seven years old. If someone would be interested in making a play area design with plans for recreation and toys, it would be very helpful.

At the Nutrition Centre it is always enjoyable and rewarding to see the improvements of the children. Many mothers have expressed their appreciation for the Bible and nutrition lessons given in their own Indian dialect.

At the hospital we are always looking for ways to better serve the Indian and poor people. We thank God for providing us with many Christian employees who speak the local Achi dialect. They can better explain to the patients how to take their medicine and translate for the patients as they describe their ailments to the doctor. We also try to use medicines with prescriptions that are easy to follow.

The people of Cubulco are grateful for the medical services and assistance offered at this Christian Medical Center. We would like to convey this thankfulness to all those who support this work with their time, finances, and prayer.

**Before taking action on the above projects, contact John Otten so that the work on projects is not duplicated.

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