Progress In The Casa Materna

Another week of adventure and making progress sometimes slowly, but definitely surely! This week hasn’t been as adventurous as last week when Kennet was here; we took the opportunity to travel around the lake visiting other towns and hiking around the mountains (with my new Solar BakPak that he gave me!!)  and finding the places with the best food and coffee. Although he’s now back home working in Honduras, he continues to be of help from afar with details such as finding the best pricing for lighting and curtains which he will bring to us next month.

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Passing by the San Juan museum
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Hiking the Cerro de la Cruz of San Juan

Xela

This week I traveled with Merlyn and Lesbia about two hours away Xela where were were able to find a lot of supplies still needed. Although we are extremely fortunate to already have some big items in the casa such as hospital beds, cribs, and exam tables, there is a still a lot needed to complete our supply closet. We are almost completely ready now with just a few items needing to be bought in in the US for cost-effectiveness. A missionary team coming from Erica’s church at the beginning of next month has been so kind to bring us these items.

Progress in the Casa
All of our areas have now been assigned and we are organizing each room. Right now the municipality is only giving us the upstairs of the clinic as they are claiming to use the first level as a new location for their Centro de Salud. We are still hoping that they will decide to give it to us in the future as their current location is sufficient for their needs and we could expand greatly our program and host teams that come to serve and educate the people of these communities. Upstairs we currently have the waiting area, bathrooms, a birthing room, a newborn exam room, the prenatal care room, the staff lounge, the administration office, the prayer room, the pharmacy, the storage room, and two postpartum rooms with three beds each. We are very thankful even for this space and the rooftop space that we have which we hope to utilize in the near future. As well we have beautiful gardens and as mentioned before, space for a kitchen and laundry area.

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Photos: Birthing room and the view from the windows- a small farm of cows and horses with avocado, coffee, and lime trees

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This week we were told that we would have electricity, but this has yet to happen. We have had a surveillance camera installed, and Kennet has helped us to purchase LED bulbs which are 90% more energy efficient than regular light bulbs, so once the electricity is actually working it will be pretty exciting.

We continue to work with the municipality to get approval regarding the legal aspect of the functioning of the Casa so that we can can work with the Ministerio de Salud to have everything in legal order.

Jessica Oliveira
A new friend of mine and huge asset to the Casa project has been Jessica, a Physician’s Assistant who works with Saving Mothers. Erica introduced me to her as she’s been working here in Guatemala teaching birthing assistant classes to the comadronas (‘midwives‘) here. The curriculum she developed is a several month long program and she has been working in different parts of rural Guatemala, San Juan being one of them. She is currently living near Xela teaching her new school, and has been a help to me with things such as where to find certain supplies, electronic records and patient documentation, contacts to many local people who can assist us, and much more including the best places to eat and fun places around the lake to visit on the weekends 🙂 All of our casa staff have graduated from her school and the casa will be a place where new birthing assistants can come and gain experience.

Birth
This week we had a birth! Every time I attend a home birth with Lesbia (or in the Centro de Salud which unfortunately has near to no medical supplies) I am so thankful for the casa and its opening coming soon. Thankfully the mother and baby are both doing well now, but the birth was a little complicated. The first-time mother was having trouble getting her little one out despite the babe only being 6 pounds. Her heart rate began to drop dangerously low but we thankfully we were able to assist the mom to push her out just in time. She wasn’t breathing upon birth but the Ambu bag came to the rescue and we were able to resuscitate her. Within a short time she was breathing and began to cry a little over the next hour.
The photo is with Lesbia shortly after baby was cleaned up and doing well.

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Global Health Media 
In my last year of nursing school, my community health professor showed our class these amazing educational videos. They are available in many languages and free to download which is absolutely amazing!  I remember thinking to myself that day in class, one day when I’m a community nurse I’m going to educate the people with these. Now all this time later, I was talking with Jes in Xela this week, and she reminded be about the videos and that there are many available about pregnancy, birth, and newborn care. I am so excited about these and how they will serve the people here!

Prayer Requests! 
-Permission for us to use entire clinic for our birthing center
-Electricity
-Legal aspects (working with municipality and Ministerio de Salud)
-Safety of the mother’s and babies in these communities
-An emergency vehicle for the Casa
– Alvarez- Cholotío Family: Lesbia and her husband Juan and their three daughters Elena, Oneida, and Cana (and new Pit Bull/Dalmatian pup Dolly) have welcomed into their family as their own. They have taught me about perseverance, servant-heartedness, and contentment in ways that I never imagined. My prayer is that God continues to bless them more than they can imagine for their hard work and service to their people.

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