Mission to Guatemala
July 6-11, 2018
Boy’s orphanage “Our Lady of Consolation” (Nuestra Señora Consoladora)
GOALS FOR 2019
1. Dental instruments
2. Shoes for the children (sizes 4-7).
3. An autoclave (a steam sterilizer).
4. new tennis shoes for the nuns who work very hard, and who really need comfortable shoes.
This was the third time I visited “El Hogar de los Niños” at Guatemala City. It was an exciting trip because my dental co-worker Kathy from Annandale, her son Alex and her sister Diane, who is a physical therapist, came along to share this beautiful service.
We were also very happy and grateful to install the new Dental Clinic at this location. My dream come true! The dental clinic is beautiful and has everything we need to provide good dental care, such as a cavitron, curing light, and new high-speed, low-speed tools to ensure the clinic is ready to provide good dental care to all the children who need it. On Saturday, July 07 we celebrated Mass and the dental clinic was blessed.
My dear friend Diane described her observations and experiences during this time, which captured perfectly the success of our mission:
Susana "Scarlet" works in the same dental office as my sister Kathy. My sister is a dental hygienist. She has a seventeen-year old son Alex. Kathy and Alex were planning to go with Scarlet on a mission to Guatemala in July, 2018. As a pediatric physical therapist I had always wanted to do a mission trip so I joined them unsure of how I would be able to serve.
I work as a physical therapist in the school setting in Ohio. Parents of the children I provide services to donated their children's outgrown orthotics along with shoes, toys, and clothing. Kathy and Alex gathered additional toys and clothes. I was the first physical therapist to join this mission.
We went to an orphanage in Guatemala City which houses about 40 boys in K through 6th grade. Additional boys and girls come into the orphanage during the day to attend school. The orphanage is run by nuns who care for and teach the children, as well as feed men in need each morning and women and children in need each afternoon.
My original intention was to provide physical therapy services to the children. Once I arrived I was informed that several children with multiple disabilities had recently been transferred out of the orphanage.
The children I saw had minor issues-- pronated feet, inturning feet, bruised collarbone etc. I dispersed every foot orthotic that I had. A big need was shoes and thankfully due to donations I had a suitcase full. The larger shoes actually went to the nuns who had flimsy non-supportive shoes and had relatively small feet-- sizes 4 to 7. They stated they are to officially wear black or gray shoes but wanted the colorful shoes after feeling how comfortable they were!
I had time to spend with the children but spent most of my day treating the nuns-- many chronic problems from a hard life of cooking, gardening, laundry, cleaning, and kneeling on hard surfaces to pray (the kneelers in the chapel are not padded). Many of the nuns entered the convent as young as 14 years of age. Several of them had fallen in the kitchen within the past few days of me treating them. I soon realized the issue was a tile floor that became slick with water with no type of nonslip flooring and shoes with poor traction. I have been creating a list of needs for the nuns-- non-slip floor mats in the kitchen, supportive black or gray shoes, and foam pieces to kneel upon.
Alex, my nephew was an immediate hit among the boys who loved the companionship of an older male. After my sister, Kathy, cleaned each child's teeth, Alex would give them a rosary, toothbrush, toy and item of clothing. The children were so appreciative of every toy, piece of clothing, and shoes. They loved interacting with us and enjoyed all the attention that we gave them.
Following the saying of the rosary one evening the children and nuns sang "Welcome America" as a nun strummed a guitar. During our final afternoon the older boys played a classic Guatemalan song on the marimbas. In the outdoor sinks the little boys were busy brushing their teeth in tune to the song.
My nephew has had the privilege of many extensive trips in his life-- France, Aruba, Cancun, etc. He, however, described this as his best trip ever-- Kathy and I agreed!!! The nuns told us they are praying for our return!
Thank you to Scarlet and her family (sister, aunt, nieces, cousin) who provided our transportation in Guatemala and assisted with scheduling the students and nuns for our services.
Diane, Kathy and Alex …
Dr Victor Morales and family members helped every day to ensure that everything was well taken care of.
I did not attend to the children’s teeth on this occasion, because I helped Diane with English-Spanish interpreting between her and the children and adults.
Having Diane with us was a blessing because we discovered many needs on this mission.
Thank you to all friends and donors for your support in achieving this mission. Blessings to you all!
Susana Scarlet Sandoval
Mission to Guatemala
July 12-14, 2018
Girls’ orphanage “Mother of Consolation” (Madre del Consuelo), Cuilapa, Santa Rosa
This was my second time back at “El Hogar de las Niñas” in Cuilapa, Santa Rosa. It is a very hot location. I was excited to see the girls again. Some of them were new, and others had already been transferred to another Home.
At the orphanage, 80% of the children are girls and 20% boys. The girls live there and the boys come during the day for school and leave again early afternoon. School starts at 8.00 a.m.
On this visit, the girls received a manicure, with the permission of Mother Ilze who is the principal.
GOALS FOR 2019
My goal for this year and next year is to provide shoes for the 13 sisters at the girls' Home. This is part of bringing hope and love to those who need it. They smile regardless of how hard their lives are. The dental care makes their smiles even brighter.
After school, some of the girls learn how to wash their clothes by hand; others learn how to cook; and how to clean. They wash by hand at “La Pila”, which reminded me of when I was a young girl and washed my clothes by hand at my mother’s house.
My visit this time was very short, and I wish I could have stayed longer. Hopefully next year. This year the children received toothbrushes, clothes, toys and Holy Rosaries.
These are the sisters who take care of the children. They work very hard at this place. They need comfortable shoes and personal items.
They have not received much support because in June the volcano erupted and donors have mostly been helping people who lost their homes and families.
My continuing goal for this year and next year is to provide shoes for the 13 sisters at the girls’ Home. This is part of bringing hope and love to those who need it. They smile regardless of how hard their lives are. The dental care makes their smiles even brighter.
Thank you to all friends and donors for your support, prayers and care. Many blessings to you all.
Susana Scarlet Sandoval