DANI DELIVERED THE ADDRESS
Delivery of the Direction, with a special act Sr. Dani handed over the keys of the PSSC and the seal of the address as a symbol of authority to the new Director General Dra. Adela Jáuregui M. on September 1, 2017.
FAREWELL TO DANI
Thanks and farewell to Dani, the communities of San Pedro Ayampuc dismissed Sr. Dani with acts, poems,
words and dances very colorful on September 8th. There were tears and prayers for the life of Sr. Dani
A TIME OF CHANGE IN THE PSSC
Sr. Dani Brought Founder and Administrative Director of the Sangre de Cristo Health Project for 23 years, on August 4, 2017 she was appointed as a member of the International Council of the Adorers of La Sangre de Cristo and leaves the PSSC to reside in Rome, currently a member of the Project Board of Directors.
Changes in the board of directors (August 14).
HEALTHY HABITS PROGRAM EXCURSIONS
Health Fairs and Healthy Habits Program Excursions.
PRESENTATION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2017-2020
FORUM ON WATER, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
November, 2016 In November the Environmental Health and Sanitation Program coordinated a Forum called "Impact of Megaprojects on Water, Health and Environment." The forum was held in the municipal town of San Pedro Ayampuc and was coordinated with members of the Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment (IARNA) of the Rafael Landívar University (URL). Among the relevant aspects to mention were the talks presented by the engineer Virginia Mosquera and Dr. Marcelo Zamora, who emphasized the water crisis in the metropolitan area of Guatemala City. This water crisis is further accentuated by the imposition of mining and hydroelectric megaprojects in the area. Representatives of the Ministry of Public Health and Education, as well as Catholic and evangelical churches and civil society, pledged to follow up and determine actions to deal with the crisis of this vital liquid; for which the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project through the Environmental Health Program offered all the logistics necessary to contribute to solving the water crisis.
5 YEARS OF CONTINUING EDUCATION IN THE PULMONARY ASSOCIATION
September, 2016 Thanks to an error of a publication in one of the newspapers, which said that the Pulmonary Association was going to offer a post-graduate degree in pulmonology, 5 years ago the doctors of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project, started the chest clinic with the Pulmonary Association. The error of grace happened when Dr. Adela went to the Association to know more about the graduate program and the director of the Association was surprised to hear about the publication telling her that it was not true, but at the same time, he offered continuing education for the Project doctors. So since 2011 the doctors have participated in the chest clinic once a month, presenting interesting cases and learning about diagnosis and optimal management of lung diseases. The relationship with the medical team of the Pulmonary Association has been a blessing for the doctors and even more for the patients of the Health Care Project who are the ones who really receive the benefits of this education and the attention by the specialists. The efforts of the Pulmonary Association over the past 5 years has been of great value and proudly the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project celebrated this achievement with them. In the coming year, in addition to the chest clinic, an asthma clinic will be implemented with the presentation and discussion of interesting cases with pulmonologists through online connections and online workshops on pulmonary diseases will be carried out. The learning relationship continues!
ACCOMPANYING THE MARCH FOR WATER
April, 2016 On the night of April 21, a medical team from the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project accompanied the people from #MarchaPorElAguaGt who came from the north of Guatemala. This march has traveled hundreds of miles since April 11. People walked from the mountains of Huehuetenango, Purulhá and the Southern Coast, collecting water in each river where they crossed with the intention of gathering together and presenting the water on April 22, Earth Day, in the central park of Guatemala City to demonstrate the serious water situation in Guatemala. For us this night was not only interesting, but it was also impressive and extraordinary to share with thousands of people who came from the different areas of northern Guatemala, expressing themselves in a struggle for land and water, doctors and nurses of the Health Care Project washing people's wearied feet, cleaning their wounds, giving rehydration fluids and attending to their ailments. It was amazing to join with people calling out for the earth and pleading for our water. We are a team united with them as we attended to their wounds.
AN EXEMPLARY NURSE
April, 2016 During the team's monthly meeting in April we had the honor of celebrating with our coworker Amayda De Leon in her 20th anniversary of service with the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. Amayda is a nurse very committed to the people of the communities, a person with lifelong determination and someone who is very dear to her coworkers. During her 20 years of service, Amayda has demonstrated an incessant desire to learn, whether it be continuing education in nursing, computer classes, pharmacy courses, crafts or English. And her willingness to share her knowledge, skills and talents is a gift for all those whose lives are touched by this amazing nurse. Congratulations and thanks Amayda for these 20 years of service!
20 YEARS OF TRUST AND SOLIDARITY IN SERVICE
October, 2015 Twenty years ago a small medical clinic at the church in La Laguneta gave rise to the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project and now 20 years later we are celebrating the gift of sharing and providing services in that same clinic, along with the 4 other medical clinics and the 5 pharmacies and the 2 laboratories and the 2 dental clinics and the dental health education programs and the medical campaign program and the healthy habits programs and the community health talks and the environmental health and sanitation program and the….on and on goes the list. Along with the persons of the local communities, we celebrated 20 years of trust and solidarity, 20 years of service, 20 years of building the reign of God, 20 years of commitment to bettering the quality of life. The celebration day began with giving thanks to God in the Eucharist and continued with speeches, poems, clown show, music and singing, prizes, folkloric dances, games, refreshments, acting performances, face painting and more, ending under the stars with a terrific firework show.
THE BLESSING OF A NEW CLINIC
July, 2015 Finally the big day has arrived!! After weeks of cleaning and sorting and packing, we began the move next door into the new clinic. In the midst of laughter and sharing, we carried boxes and furniture and equipment and got all ready for the celebration to follow. July 1st, 2015, a memorable day for us and all those who benefit from our services. The celebration day begin with a mass for the Feast of the Blood of Christ with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and the community of the Sangre de Cristo parish, followed by the blessing of the new clinic in La Laguneta. This was a moment to give thanks to God and all those who contributed over the past 8 years to make real the dream of a new clinic for the good of all those who seek our services. We are especially grateful to Grace Centre of St. Paul, MN who helped with the construction of the new clinic. And then the doors were opened for all to take a tour around and see the beauty of this new and open space. But the best came the next day when the doors were opened for service…happy patients!!
April, 2015 In celebration of Earth Day 2015, the Environmental Health and Sanitation Program carried out activities striving for the good of the environment and the planet. Since the beginning of the school year in January, they have been providing guidance to the young people in San Jose Nacahuil in their garden and tree nursery project. The day before the Earth Day commemorations, along with the usual chores in the garden, there was a special recognition of all the students are doing, to promote and care of our mother earth. And on April 22, the team coordinated a march for Earth Day in San Pedro Ayampuc. At the conclusion of the march, presentations and messages were shared with the many students and community members who had participated.
February, 2015 From the meeting at the airport of Dr. Adela Jauregui, the Guatemalan coordinator of the jornadas and Dr. Jeff Rogers, the US coordinator, to the loading up of lots and lots and lots of suitcases, to 103 surgeries + 13 procedures + 57 medical consults = 160 very happy patients…we can say mission completed for another year and thanks for another great surgery jornada!! 16 years of surgery campaigns with the team from Dayton, Ohio partnering with the staff of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project and many Guatemalan volunteers, all sharing their time, energy and talents for the good of our patients. It was a blessed week with a great team...thanks for your wide and generous hearts!
January, 2015 After 373,407 patients have been seen in the medical and dental clinics, after 86,626 trees have been planted, after 231,032 kids have been taught to brush their teeth, after 1,206 patients have been operated on by the volunteer surgery team, after 31,547 persons have assisted in community health talks, after 1,391 latrines, stoves and water cisterns have been built, after 165,007 students have participated in ecological activities, after 194,235 lab exams have been done…WE ARE READY TO CELEBRATE!!! Yes, this year the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project is celebrating 20 years of service and solidarity. We are already beginning our planning and celebration and the gran event will be held on Friday, October 2, 2015…save that date! In the works are a religious ceremony giving thanks, recounts of great moments over the past 20 years, educational talks, clown, talent and poetic presentations, music, prizes, food and much more!! Come and celebrate with the people of the communities this historic and momentous event.
December, 2014 The Environmental Health and Sanitation Program in conjunction with the Yampu School in San Pedro Ayampuc, implemented the forum: The environmental, social and economic impact of mining, short and long-term effects. Three excellent speakers: Magali Rey Rosa, Dr. Yuri Melini and Marian Ponsford, shared important information and experiences relevant and applicable to our area of San Pedro Ayampuc. Over 75 people attended the forum, which included a lively interchange of ideas at the conclusion of the presentations.
November, 2014 After many years of hoping, praying and planning, our dream is finally coming true…a new clinic in La Laguneta!! This building will house a medical clinic, nurse’s station, laboratory, pharmacy and meeting room and will replace the small, dark space that has been used to provide medical services in La Laguneta since 1990. Not only will the clinic provide bright, open and airy spaces for the services, the patients will now have a large waiting room so they no longer will have to wait under rain and sun. The dream of the clinic began over 7 years ago when we were able to purchase the land adjacent to the current clinic and each year as funds became available we were able to put into place, little by little, different components getting ready for our dream of a new clinic. And now thanks to our generous friends at Grace Centre, St. Paul, MN, who are making this possible, construction has begun!! You can follow the dream come true construction story as it unfolds on our facebook page
July, 2014 July 1st was a day full of festive activities to celebrate the Feast of the Sangre de Cristo, the name sake, guidance and strength of the Health Care Project. After celebrating mass with Fr. Mauricio, CPPS, pastor of the parish in La Labor, along with input intertwining the spirituality of the Precious Blood with our daily service and sharing a delicious meal together, the highlight of the activities was honoring our co-workers who are celebrating during this year, 5, 10 and 15 years of service with the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. What an accomplishment for each of them and what a blessing for those who receive love and service from their hearts and hands. Our honorees included:
June, 2014 Gathering at the Project Directors’ office in La Labor, the newly elected Board of Directors of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project, met to set forth their vision and focus in carrying out the mission of the Project over the next 3 years. Each member brings their unique talents and gifts to the Board and together aspire to continue the great work and service of the Project. The members include:
Dani Brought, ASC, as director of the Health Care Project since its inception, she brings administrative skills along with a focus on mission and service and assists the Board in understanding the overall daily operations of the Project
Olivia Cáceres, a licensed psychologist, has volunteered for a number of years evaluating program plans and implementation and providing continuing education for staff, Olivia brings her vast experience and knowledge of working in non-government organizations
Ana Elizabeth Oliva, Betty, a long-time La Labor community member, has known the Health Care Project since it was started and along with her personal experience as receipt of the services, she contributes her business experience with a focus on funding, Betty has been a Board member since 2007
Duglas Alonzo, with his recent studies in innovative education and his current teaching experience, he provides an educational focus in carrying out the mission of the Project and having participated in the Environmental Health Promoter program, he has a special interest in assisting to expand those services
Margo Young, CPPS, a physician who served as the Medical Director for the Project for 13 years, Margo brings her gifts of invaluable health care experience along with a heart for patients and a strong wisdom spirit, as a member of the Board since its beginning, she continues to contribute committed leadership
William Beuth, CPPS, another longtime member of the Board, Fr. Bill was instrumental in the initial formation of the Health Care Project and his commitment to the services provided has been unwavering, along with providing a spiritual focus, he connects the Board with the local parish
Carlos Alfredo Jauregui, as a lawyer, Fredy has shared his gifts and talents as a legal advisor with the Health Care Project for over 14 years and now he brings this experience to the Board, assisting the members to understand the many legal challenges that now confront nonprofit organizations
We ask God’s blessing on each of the new board members as they work together to direct and support the mission and the many services of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project.
Pictured: Fredy Jauregui, Olivia Caceres, Betty Oliva, Dani Brought, ASC, Duglas Alonzo (missing from photo Margo Young, CPPS and Bill Beuth, CPPS)
April, 2014 For the 15th consecutive year, this April saw the start of a new cycle of the Training Program for Environmental Health and Sanitation Promoters. The first program initiated this year is the traditional program carried out over 8 months, with classes held in La Labor, San Pedro Ayampuc. Tono Reyes, Director of the Environmental Health Program, along with staff members, Angel Davila, Julio Alvarado and Mimi Alvarado takes turns guiding the participants through the topics that include community organization, natural resources, environmental pollution and destruction, use of appropriate technology in basic services, adequate waste management and community development projects. This year’s class is off to a good start with participants from over 10 different communities. Look for their graduation picture in 8 months!
February, 2014 A dozen roses is given to show love and admiration…a dozen eggs look up when you open the carton…a dime a dozen says as common as they come. But for us a dozen means 12 times of blessing over blessing, goodness over goodness, giftedness over giftedness…a dozen times our patients had an extraordinary opportunity, the 12th time that Dr. Margo Young, CPPS and Dr. Jeff Rogers coordinated the surgery campaign (called Jornada by us in Guatemala) in coordination with the Health Care Project. And once again, it was an unforgettable experience for all. An unforgettable experience for Dr. Doug Paul who joined for the first time as a general surgeon, an unforgettable experience for the volunteer nurses from Guatemala who shared their time and care, but most of all an unforgettable experience for the 134 patients who were able to receive surgical services that previously had been out of their reach. After setting up the makeshift surgery suite in the parish hall in La Labor, along with the huge tarp forming a temporary waiting room on the basketball court, the surgical team from Dayton, Ohio spent the next 4 days carrying out 164 surgeries, infiltrations and patient consults, taking great care of 134 very grateful patients. Surgeries performed included hernia repair, extraction of masses and cysts, carpal tunnel and bunion removal, all of which had not been possible for these patients before and now their lives bettered, a dozen times over. The coordination and collaboration between the staff of the Health Care Project and the Surgery Jornada team was exceptional and follow-up care has shown satisfied patients completely recovered. For us a dozen means the best of all!!
January, 2014 Thanks to our generous friend, Vic Weltig, this year we have introduced Vic the Friendly Dragon in the dental health program. Along with Joe Oliva, administrative aide in the Health Care Project and student volunteers from the Maria De Mattias Institute, the new dragon puppet helps the program coordinator, Otilia Lopez, as she teaches over 12,000 kids how to correctly brush their teeth during this 2014 school year. Vic the dragon (helped by Joe) shares the message that brushing 3 times a day and visiting the dentist at least once a year, can save your life and at the same time you’ll have good oral health!!
August, 2013 Every year during the rainy season the Health Care Project facilitates the planting of more than 7000 trees, helping to contribute to reforestation efforts in our area. With assistance from the Environmental Health and Sanitation Program, a tree nursery started and managed by the students of the secondary school in San Jose Nacahuil, produces many of these trees that are then distributed to schools, churches and community groups for planting. In addition, this year a group of volunteers from several Ft. Recovery, Ohio area churches, planted new trees on the hillside of the church in Altos de Santa Maria, at the foot of trees planted over the past years by previous groups from Ft. Recovery…the circle of life continues.
July, 2013 The Healthy Habits Program carried out a health fair at the school in La Lagunilla. Kids, families, schools and communities are learning to put into practice habits for a healthy and happy life. Activities included medical and dental exams and treatments and lab exams, as well as, blood pressure screening and calculation of body mass index along with tips for a healthy diet. Educational talks were given on various themes such as dental health, sexual education for adolescents and the impact of mining activities on the environment. Personal hygiene attention included nail painting and a beauty/barber shop. Educational games, music and healthy snacks rounded out the day, making it a fun experience for all.
February, 2013 For the 11th time in 14 years, a skilled and dedicated surgery team from Dayton, Ohio joined the health care project staff to carry out a week long surgery ‘jornada’ in La Labor, February 23 – 28. The volunteer team of 15 arrived at the airport in Guatemala City with tons of suitcases full of lots of supplies to do surgeries, flip flops for patients, surgical instruments and a few surprises too! The next day was day was spent converting the parish hall in La Labor into surgeries units, along with the patient reception area and recovery room. Monday morning the action began as from 6:30 am until well past 7:00 pm, patients arrived, got checked in, had their surgeries or procedures done, recuperated in the recovery room and returned home…all within a few hours. The surgeries and procedures included hernias, bunions, hand deformities, infiltrations, removal of masses and cysts, carpal tunnel repair, hammer toe repair, scar revision and even reconstructive surgery. After 4 long days, the surgery jornada ended Thursday afternoon after 164 patients consults, surgeries and procedures had been done. A tired but deeply satisfied team then packed up boxes, swept floors, moved surgery tables into storage and put on the protective plastic coverings until next year’s jornada calls. Along with this committed medical team, there were many people who helped make this year’s jornada a great success, nurses who volunteered time and talent, friends who shared meals with us, collaborators who donated materials and supplies, all so that patients in need could receive quality healing services. With grateful hearts, these patients and we in the health care project say thanks to all who were part of this year’s surgery jornada.
February, 2013 Our good friend and volunteer, Vic Weltig, just spent 2 weeks with us. His positive spirit, big smile and generous service are contagious and always create a wonderful atmosphere. While he was here, Vic helped out in the Dental Health Education Program, teaching kids how to brush their teeth, using toothbrushes that had been donated by different parishes back in Connecticut. This program, under the direction of Otilia Lopez, dental assistant, reaches over 12,000 kids a year. Combined with our weekly Fluoride Program, we have been able to reduce dental caries by 35%. Healthy teeth make for happier kids with smiles that show it!
January, 2013 Getting the new year off to a good start, the whole Project team gathered together in the parish hall at the beginning of January for our first monthly meeting of 2013. We spent the day reviewing our plans for all the services and programs we will carry out during this year. There are 32 of us this year, joining together our gifts, talents and skills to carry out the many programs of the Health Care Project so that over 90,000 people from the many communities in our area will have the opportunity to participate and benefit from these services in 2013. During this gathering, we also celebrated with our dentist, Dr. Antonio Cambranes and with Julio Alvarado, Environmental Health tech, as they were honored for 15 years and 5 years of service and commitment with the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. Congratulations to both!
June, 2012 The Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project continues to walk with the local communities in their commitment and carrying out of activities to defend life, to protect natural resources, including water and farmland and to promote the rights of the persons living in these communities. An urgent and present situation involves the development of a mine by Canadian company, Radius Gold, which plans to put into operation underground and open pit mining over a 25 kilometer area in San Pedro Ayampuc and San Jose del Golfo. Over the course of the past several months, meetings have been held with representatives of the Guatemalan congress, Ministry of Energy and Mines and the San Pedro Ayampuc mayor and council. In addition, we have participated in ongoing coordination with other organizations, including most recently with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala and have continued to provide educational and spiritual accompaniment.
May, 2012 Having noticed the graffiti on the walls of the Health Care Project clinic located in Altos de Santa Maria, members of the local Mormon Church asked if they could paint the clinic. Recognizing the service that the clinic provides in the community, as most of the church members are also patients of the clinic, they organized this activity as part of the social service outreach of their church. And so on May 5, 2012, an energetic and committed group, spent their Saturday painting, laughing and helping to make the clinic a cleaner and brighter place for all.
February March, 2012 Volunteering and sharing their time, energy and skills, the surgery team from Dayton, Ohio journeyed south to Guatemala, celebrating and carrying out their 10th! Surgery Jornada (short term program) in partnership with the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. This year's campaigns was dedicated to our dear friend, Dr. Alison Clarey, D.O., who passed away at the end of 2011. Alison, one of the pioneers of the surgery campaigns, has left a legacy of compassion and loving care which continues to touch the hearts and lives of many persons. And this year's campaigns was no exception to that. After spending all day Sunday setting up the temporary operating suites in the parish hall in La Labor and seeing patients for pre-operative consults, early Monday morning found the team of 14 volunteers from Dayton along with the Health Care Project staff, off and running. Over the next 3 ½ days, 92 people benefitted from surgeries and an additional 41 persons came for medical consults. Surgeries included hernia repairs, removal of masses and tumors, infiltrations, hand and carpal tunnel interventions and minor restorative plastic surgeries. The patients came from near and far and each left with a grateful spirit, having been touched and healed. Don Vitalino came for an abdominal hernia and during his initial exam the doctors noticed a large growth on his neck. Vito said the growth had started when he was 8 years old and he had never had the opportunity to be treated. After taking a closer look, the surgeon said both surgeries could be done and so in addition to having his hernia repaired, the neck cyst was removed and for the first time in 60 years, Vito could turn his head. Now he shares his wide smile with all who come to his bicycle repair shop. Each time he sees us, Luisito, an active 6 year old, continues to shout with delight "you operated on me, look, look!" as he holds up his hand to show where an extra thumb had been removed. This week of the surgery campaigns has been a blessing for all, doctors, patients, family members, surgery team, project staff, in which simple acts were shared, and once again, connecting, changing and marking lives forever.
January - June, 2012 The two Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project laboratories, located at the clinic sites in La Laguneta and Nueva Esperanza, were recently approved and licensed by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health. After several years of following paperwork trails and fulfilling numerous and ever-changing requirements, our two lab techs, Amparito Carrera and Karin Coslayá, received these licenses with immense satisfaction. New equipment, purchased at the end of 2011 to meet licensing requisites, allows the labs to perform blood chemistry exams in addition to the basic exams carried out previously. The doctors at the medical clinics can now have readily available results about cholesterol, triglycerides, lipids, blood glucose, uric acid and others to help with more accurate diagnosis of patients' medical concerns. New equipment and licensing approval has also allowed our labs to expand their services and from January to June, 2012, the number of exams performed at the labs has risen by 46%. This expansion of services, carried out by caring professionals, continues to contribute to the high quality care provided for the many patients who place their trust and confidence in our health care project.
December, 2011 During 2011 we continued to welcome groups and individuals who donated their skills, time, energy and heart to expand the scope of the services offered by the Health Care Project. Returning for a fourth year, the Health Care Project welcomed Sonja Bontrager and a group of students from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. This has been a significant and meaningful connection for Sisters Dani and Kris as Newman University is sponsored by their congregation, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. An additional result of this ongoing relationship was the awarding in December of the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, recognizing the efforts of Sisters Dani and Kris in helping the oppressed and underserved and for providing a link of understanding and compassion between them and others in the world. Four young people, who are students at the Maria de Mattias Institute in La Labor, provided community service during the school year in the dental health education programs. Their sense of responsibility and enthusiasm in participating in the programs was refreshing. Our friends from various church groups, including those from Fort Recovery, Ohio and St. Mark's in Columbus, Ohio returned this year, continuing the tradition of support and sharing the gifts and grace of God among us. Dr. Connie McCarroll, longtime volunteer and great friend of the health care project, spent a week with us sharing her expertise in pediatric care. And in June, the mother/daughters team of Rachel, Amanda and Grace Lewis shared their exuberant energy as they participated in the different activities. It was great fun to have them with us. All of these wonderful experiences have helped develop long lasting professional relationships and personal friendships that connect and change the lives of everyone involved.
November, 2011 After months of excited anticipation, the day finally arrived and we moved into the new clinic at the Our Lady of the Rosary parish in La Leyenda, San Pedro Ayampuc. The move was culminated on November 15, 2011 with the blessing and dedication by Fr. Enrique Landaverde, FMM, local pastor. A special significance was added to the day by the presence of Jim McDonald, board member of the Grace Center, St. Paul, MN, which provided the financial resources for the construction of the new clinic site. After 15 years of service in a small, dark clinic next to the church, where waiting to see the doctor meant standing outside, patients now come to a clinic that is open, bright and inviting. A large waiting room also provides an area for small group gatherings and patient education. Medical services provided on a daily basis in this clinic include: nursing care by Amayda De Leon and patient consults with the doctors, Aissa Del Cid, Ivonne Garcia and Adela Jauregui, medical director. In addition, patients can obtain medicine, if necessary as part of their treatment plan, at the new community pharmacy attended by the pharmacy aides, Eva Muralles, Dania Folger and Delmy Ortiz. Our clinics have always been well known for the personal, human touch in the way in the doctors and staff provide service. And now in La Leyenda, not only do the patients receive care that is given with dignity and respect but in an environment that promotes healing and wellness.
October, 2011 Once again, natural disaster, this time in the form of a tropical storm, caused havoc in Guatemala. In our local area, intense flash flooding happened in the town of San Pedro Ayampuc and thanks to the generosity and collaboration of the Guatemalan Rotary Club, the Aero Club and neighbors of Cayalá, the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project responded to needs of those most affected. In addition, the local communities continue to be affected by areas on the main road where earlier rains have caused erosion and several spots where the road has completely collapsed. Transportation and communication have become daily struggles for people already weighed downed by so many problems. And as we acknowledge the reality of life in Guatemala and especially in our local area, we know that the presence of the health care project and the efforts of the network of many committed persons are making our mission and the redeeming love of God real in the world and providing the possibility for a better quality of life.
February, 2011 Miracles do happen and we are here to give witness! On November 1, 2010 we initiated our Miracles Do Happen campaign with the goal of raising $100,000.00 which was needed to carry out all our services for 2011. The response overwhelmed us and again, we realized how very blessed we are here in the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. On February 14, 2011 we were jumping with joy, sharing the good news that the Miracles Do Happen campaign goal of $100,000 (plus a little more) had been reached!! With happy hearts, we say thanks to each and all of you for helping make this miracle come true. And in the name of all the patients and persons who will benefit from your generosity…GRACIAS!
January - March, 2011 In January 2011 we learned that mining exploration licenses had been awarded to two Canadian Gold companies who intend to construct and carry out underground, as well as, open pit gold and silver mining operations in San Pedro Ayampuc. After evaluating the environmental impact and the devastating affect that these types of mines have had on the health and quality of life of the people in other areas of Guatemala, we began an educational campaign in our local communities with the purpose of helping the population of the affected communities be informed and prepared and to accompany them as they put together a Commission to organize and direct a community based good will consultant assembly, according to Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, in which the population can give voice to their acceptance or rejection of mining activities in their area. A number of organizations, such as NISGUA, the Indigenous Women's Movement Tz'ununijá, the Franciscan Peace and Justice Office and MadreSelva Ecological Collective have been assisting and supporting us in this effort. At the end of April we had conducted 35 sessions with over 3000 participants. In addition, on March 30, we spearheaded a passive demonstration that involved more than 5000 participants, including local schools, social development organizations and concerned community members. We ask your prayers and support as we continue to accompany the communities in the collective struggle for the well being of all. "Let everyone stand up, let everyone be called, let there not be a group, or two groups among us that are left behind the others." (Popol Vuh)
January - December, 2010During 2010 we continued to welcome groups and individuals who donated their
skills, time, energy and heart to expand the scope of the services offered by the Health Care Project. For the ninth time the surgery team from Dayton, Ohio carried out a weeklong surgery campaign. The dedication of this team was inspiring as they performed complex surgeries under very simple conditions helping to make lives better! Returning for a third year, the Health Care Project welcomed Sonja Bontrager and a group of students from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. This has been a significant and meaningful connection for Sisters Dani and Kris as Newman University is sponsored by their congregation, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Five young people, who are students at the Maria de Mattias Institute in La Labor, provided community service during the school year in the dental health education programs. Their sense of responsibility and enthusiasm in participating in the programs was refreshing. Our friends from various church groups also returned this year, continuing the tradition of support and sharing the gifts and grace of God among us. Vic Weltig, longtime friend and supporter of the healthcare project spent 10 days with us enlivening us with his energy and open spirit. All of these wonderful experiences have helped develop long lasting professional relationships and personal friendships that connect and change the lives of everyone involved.
October, 2010 Hard to believe that 15 years ago this great work was started but it's true and so on October 1, 2010 we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. On staff, there are still 3 of the original 8 who were there when the project initiated, Sister Dani and Hilda and Silvia. The celebration started off with sharing together a festive luncheon along with the presentation of honors for those completing 5, 10 and 15 years of service in the Project. Then the afternoon was spent in a wonderful community celebration as hundreds of well wishers participated in the cultural activities that included typical dances presented by some of the different schools, presentations of awards and signs of gratitude for the services provided in the communities, reciting of poems, mini raffles based on questions about the project (it was great to see how much people know about the project) and traditional marimba music. The cultural afternoon was followed by a celebratory religious Mass with Fr. Bill Beuth, CPPS as the main celebrant and Sister Dani, Administrative Director, Tono Reyes, Director of the Environmental Health Program and Dona Martita, a community leader giving the homily and sharing their reflections with the many people who filled the church in La Laguneta to over capacity! The church was beautifully decorated and filled with different floral arrangements that schools and groups had sent to the Project to say thanks for these 15 years. After Mass there was a surprise visit of live mariachi music followed by an authentic Guatemalan performance called the quemada de torito (burning of the bull), where someone is inside a frame in the shape of a bull and covered with firecrackers that go off as the person dances around! Then fireworks lit up the night sky as everyone enjoyed the traditional Guatemalan food of tamales. Great fun was had by all in celebrating the immeasurable good that has been shared in service during these past 15 years. And after months and months of rain, including the night before when the team members and volunteers got drenched as they worked into the night preparing and setting things up for the celebration, the only time it rained this day was when we were all in Mass...God and the spirits were blessing all this day! And so we say thanks to each of you for being part of what the Health Care Project has shared and the good that has been done during these past 15 years…Happy Anniversary!
May, 2010 One evening near the end of the month of May a co-worker called asking about the possibility of using one of the Project's vehicles to rescue her brother's family south of the city because he had just called and said they were being bombarded by ash, sand and burning rocks from the nearby Pacaya volcano. After several phone calls, we began to hear about the tremendous explosion that was happening and then the volcanic sand started falling heavily in our area which is about 25 miles north of the volcano. Needless to say, our co-worker did not go to rescue her brother as the situation became too dangerous and the health care project suspended services as it was too treacherous to be on the roads. The volcanic eruption produced a heavy black sand which created havoc on the roads, weight that crashed in tin roofs and became even heavier like concrete when mixed with water, which came the next day when tropical storm Agatha hit Guatemala with force. Several of the communities where we provide services suffered mudslides, burying families, homes and making precarious situations even worse. Over the course of the next week, we visited a number of these sites, meeting with survivors, taking food, water and clothing, responding in what way we could to the devastating situations that we encountered. Over the course of the next months the rains have continued and our main road used by over 100,000 people daily, has developed 3 spots where half the road collapsed. This created a very dangerous situation as traffic and water continued to go over the weak half still standing, causing even more erosion of the only connection our whole area has with the capital city. As of August, a small road crew continues to work on the larger of the areas having repaired one site in July, but the road continues to erode away and the rains continue to fall. Our efforts in the health care project are now focused on providing support to families who were affected by these disasters and have not received assistance from other sources. And in the midst of these tragedies there have been moments of grace and hope…like listening to Paola, an older woman of great faith who shared her story of being rescued by her sons and neighbors after being completely buried alive in mud. She stood sharing her story with us the day she was released from the hospital, only 4 days after this had happened.
December, 2009 During 2009, The Environmental Health and Sanitation Program carried out an intensive training program with 30 secondary school students in the Kakchiquel indigenous village of San Jose Nacahuil. The students responded enthusiastically to the program and requested that a continuation of the program be implemented during 2010. In addition to further education and training on topics such as use of natural resources, managing environmental pollution and destruction, adequate waste management and sustainable development, the students also requested help in implementing a recycling program from which materials will be used to develop a tree nursery thus obtaining the resources necessary to implement reforestation actions to help protect the water sources of their own community. Having been empowered through their increased awareness of the needs of their own community and the consciousness that they are able to respond with viable solutions, these students are committed to carrying out actions that will improve the quality of life for their community. In December of 2009 Sister Therese Wetta, ASC of the international council of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ visited and had the opportunity to participate and share in the beginning activities with this group of enthusiastic and dedicated young people.
October, 2009 Over the course of the past 15 years, the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project has been providing services in borrowed space in the 5 communities where the medical clinics are located. In addition, much of the administration is done out of the parish house where Sisters Dani and Kris live. Two local parishes and another organization also lend storage space for the different distribution warehouses. Seeing the growth of the Health Care Project and the consistency of services over the years, several years ago, we recognized the need for a permanent site to help maintain the services provided and allow for long-term sustainability of the Project. And thus the idea was born of creating a center that would be the hub or the heart of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project, providing a central place for administrative, training and distribution activities and would be the center from which all the various services and activities would go out into the different communities. After some time of planning and preliminary work, in October, 2009, the first step in realizing this dream of a permanent center for the Health Care Project was carried out with the construction of a retaining wall along the front of the site. The architectural design and construction plans have been developed and donated by MU Arquitectos and now we are ready to do some serious fundraising to make this dream come true!
December, 2008 To help raise environmental consciousness and put into practice even more what we have been promoting in our Environmental Health and Sanitation Program, at the beginning of 2009 we stopped giving free plastic bags at our pharmacies and are no longer using plastic bags for the dental health kits. If, for whatever reason, a patient requests a plastic bag at the pharmacy, we ask them to contribute Q1.00 which is then donated to the Environmental Health Program to help support their activities in reducing waste and promoting recycling. Over the course of the year we decreased our overall plastic bag use by 98%.
January, 2008 We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Adela Jáuregui as the Medical Director effective January 1, 2008. Adela comes with 20 years of experience as a doctor and has been providing medical service with the Health Care Project for 7 years, during which time she has shown leadership and a deep commitment to living out the mission of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project. We welcome and support her as she begins this new responsibility.
December, 2007 It is with great sadness but with hearts filled with profound gratitude that we say farewell to Dr. Margo Young, CPPS who completed her time as Medical Director of the Health Care Project at the end of December, 2007. During these past 12 years Margo has given unconditionally of herself, always reaching out to others, sharing compassionate, heartfilled service with innumerable patients. During this time Margo also coordinated many medical campaigns that helped to provide otherwise unavailable specialized services for the communities of our area. These included the surgery campaigns that she developed with her colleagues from Dayton, Ohio and Rome City, Indiana. Responding to special needs, Margo did not limit her vision to our area as she mobilized the Health Care Project to reach out to others after the disasters of hurricane Mitch in 1998, the earthquake in El Salvador in 2001and hurricane Stan in 2005. In this same year, Margo spent 4 months sharing her gifts and talents with the victims of the Asian tsunami in southern India. Margo has also been instrumental in guiding the medical staff in the implementation of an interdisciplinary practice model with a focus on team interactions and personalized service which is now the hallmark of our medical clinics. Her unwavering leadership has helped the Project to grow and evolve into the wonderful service organization it is today. Her healing presence, wisdom spirit and welcoming smile will be greatly missed. Together we ask God's blessings and grace on her new endeavors and continued journey.
September, 2007 For the second time in four years, in 2007, the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project was named one of the top non profit health/educational organizations in Guatemala by the Juan Bautista Gutierrez Foundation in their annual "Helping Those Who Help" campaign. Our 4 primary school health education programs were the focus for this year's award. The national recognition and generous monetary award motivates us to continue our commitment of providing quality health services to those most in need. Join with us as we give thanks for this special gift that has been shared with our outstanding project.
January - December, 2007 At the beginning of 2006 the Health Care Project was invited by the University Radio Station to broadcast a program about the services of the Project. Since that first show in 2006 and throughout all of 2007, the Health Care Project participated once a month in the program Medical Classroom, providing information about community health services and instructing listeners how they can carry out the health promoting activities in their own homes and communities. Each month a different group from the Project shared their knowledge, expertise and accomplishments so that others could learn from our experience, thus allowing the impact and effect of the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project to reach out on a national level.
September, 2006 On September, 2006, the personnel from our 2 dental clinics helped promote and participated in a parade sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive to celebrate Dental Health Month. Six schools from our area took part in the festivities which included a large rally at the end of the parade. As part of the activities, one of our participating schools was awarded first place for the demonstration show that they performed before the large crowd. A educationally fun day was had by all…including our two dentists who walked the 3 miles of the parade!
October, 2005 A milestone was reached and celebrated in October, 2005 as the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project commemorated its tenth anniversary. Throughout the first week of October a number of activities were carried out to honor and celebrate the founding of the Health Care Project 10 years ago. These activities included free dental exams and cleanings, sharing of an anniversary cake with the patients from the different communities along with raffles, prizes and music at each clinic site, 10% discount on all lab exams, and a pack of vitamins for each person who came to the pharmacies during the week of celebration. A festive atmosphere was present as each clinic site decorated and displayed photos of the history of the Project. The Environmental Health and Sanitation team gave a series of 10 conferences centered on health, quality of life and the environment. These talks were carried out in the different communities where the Project serves in order to confirm and continue to share identification and solidarity with these communities. Sister Dani and 2 team members also participated in a radio interview about the services of the Project. The celebrations culminated on Friday, October 7 with a special luncheon for the Health Care Team and invited guests. This was followed by a community Eucharistic service that was attended by over 700 friends, supporters and beneficiaries of the Health Care Project. The celebrations continued into the night with a fiesta of tamales and music in the village park of La Labor, San Pedro Ayampuc.
April, 2004 The Health Care Project team, patients and friends continue to remember fondly our dear friend Kim Shepherd. In April of 2004, we all were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Kim at home in Ohio. In addition to coordinating and doing the preliminary planning and setting up for four surgery campaigns, Kim shared her smile and presence in many ways with the people of Guatemala . Two hand painted murals by Kim grace the wall of one of the dental clinics. Each nurse's station has a colorful growth chart drawn by Kim and her way of sharing joy with kids was infectious as she handed out "Mardi gras" beads and small toys to those who came to the medical campaigns carried out up on the mountain. Kim shared her big and loving heart in such a way that it stretched from Dayton to Guatemala and back again, touching many people along the way. We thank our God for the generous time she shared with us and we miss her dearly.
August, 2003 We are proud to announce that on August 5, 2003 the Juan Bautista Gutierrez Foundation named the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project as one of the top not-for-profit health/educational organizations in Guatemala. From a field of 139 participants in the Foundation's annual "Helping Those Who Help" program, we were awarded third place, which in addition to the national recognition also included a generous monetary donation to help continue the services of the Project.
May, 2003 On May 18, 2003, the Sangre de Cristo Health Care Project, along with the Maria De Mattias Secondary School Institute, celebrated here in La Labor, the canonization occurring in Rome, Italy of Saint Maria De Mattias, foundress of the religious congregation, Adorers of the Blood of Christ. In addition to assisting at the celebratory Mass, Project members provided a station with health screenings during the day's activities and members of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Team presented a workshop on Recycling. Over 1,500 people joined with the family of the Maria De Mattias Institute to rejoice in this memorable recognition of their patron and namesake.