|In This Issue:
The Kendeda Fund and Our Construction Donation Goal
From the Desk of Felipa Archila
Remembering Padre Aplaas
Program Updates: Midwife Training and Maternal Infant Sponsorship
A Visit from Lou Seyler
Hospitalito Diabetes Conference
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There is still much work to be done!
To donate online to medical services, follow this link
. Your help ensures that we can continue to offer quality health services to those in need.
You may also click on the link below to donate via Acceptiva.
And checks can be mailed to:
Amigos Hospitalito Atitlan
420 NW 11th Ave., Unit 802
Portland, OR 97209-2966
Phone: (503) 595-0553
Fax: (503) 905-0509
Important Notice for Medical Volunteers
There are new requirements for all medical personnel to legally volunteer at HA. Please visit this page
on our website for more information.
Special Thanks to Our Most Recent Donors:
Afinzadora General SA
Andrew Scott & Bryna Silver
Archdiocese of Oklahoma
Archdiosese of San Francisco
The Most Rev. George Nirderauer, Archbishop of San Francisco
Aseguradora General SA
Aspen Publishing Co.
Canadian Guitar Festival
Charles & Linda Whitmore
Cheryl Somers & Robert Stanley Ingersol
Christopher & Joan Clark
Clara & Enrique Neutze
Concord United Methodist
Dave Fernandez de Velasquez
Douglas & Paula Hurren
East Salem Rotary
Eighth Day Faith Community
Elsbeth & Jurg Jaggi
Fridens Lutheran Church
Fundacion de la Reina Sofia
George & Grace Gilson
Gerd Georg Kettel
Glen & Betty-Lee Blackmon
Heather & Freeman Jelks
Iglesia Alfa y Omega
Iglesia La Hermosa de Juda
John & Leticia Jacob
John & Mary Long
John & Rita Nelson
Kerry & Alice Richmond
Levi Strauss Foundation
Linda & Lawrence Monk
Lynne & Stan Abraham
Makini Chisom Straker
Maria Lise Iannuzzi
Marin County Guatemala Mission
Martha Jo Morehouse
Mecca & George Manz
Michael & Jeanne Wagman
Posada de Santiago
Renate & Mark Campbell
Robin & Jodi Jafari
San Juan Church
San Ramon United Methodist
Savannah Community Foundation
Servicios Portuarios SA
Smile Network International
St. Paul's Episcopal, Bellingham, WA
Susan Davies & Richard Talkov
Vashon Island Rotary
Victoria & Michel Wattiaux
Women International Leaders of Great Philadelphia
And A Hearty Thanks to Our Recent Volunteers!
Dr. Brent Burket
Dra. Jennifer Thoene
Dr. Wilson Douglas
Dra. Sarah Taylor
Dra. Anabel Ruiz
Dr. Tim Manzo
Dra. Caroline Durieu
Dra. Jayni Parikh
Dra. Michelle Yates
Dra. Erica Mintzer
Dra. Makini Chisolm Straker
Dra. Beverly Lai
Dr. George Gilson
Dra. Esther Smith
Dra. Dawn Marie Stanek
Dra. Emily Lange
Dra. Marisa Messore
Frontier School of Midwifery
Smile Network International
David Fernandez de Velasquez
The deadline was July 15, 2011, in order to claim the remaining $102,000 of the $750,000 dollar for dollar challenge grant from the Kendeda Fund… we had to raise $102,000 in four months.
More than 250 letters and 1,700 email appeals went out a few weeks ago to all of you, the wonderful volunteers and supporters who make up the Hospitalito Atitlan family.
Then we held our breath.
Your response was quick and overwhelmingly generous. More than 120 donations poured in… gifts ranging from $25 to $20,000 and before the deadline… we reached our goal.
You can imagine our elation that so many of you continue to care and want to bring quality healthcare to the Mayan population here at Lake Atitlan.
Your generous donations will complete the hospital construction this year and we will move into the second floor with the education room, laboratory and blood bank, kitchen and laundry, physician on-call rooms, nursing staff dressing room, a development office and administrative offices.
Special thanks go to Bonnie O'Neill who chaired our capital campaign and currently chairs Amigos Hospitalito Atitlan. It was Bonnie who secured the Kendeda Challenge grant from a very generous American woman philanthropist who prefers to remain anonymous, but whom we at Hospitalito Atitlan call our "Angelita".
We also want to extend an open invitation to come visit Hospitalito. You will see firsthand what a beautiful and amazing hospital your generosity has made possible.
From the Desk of Felipa Archila
Head of Nursing, Felipa Archila at her desk at the nurse's station
Dear Friends and Donors,
Greetings and I wish all of you thousands of blessings in your lives. It is my privilege to tell you how much we have benefited from your help and the confidence you’ve shown us through all your many generous donations.
During the last five years I have had the opportunity to be part of the Hospitalito family, along with my fellow medical staff I serve the people who come to us with their health concerns.
During the years of the Hospitalito’s life we have had many difficult situations. Now we have all succeeded in constructing a building that is large enough, and this enables us to give even better patient care. We are filled with pride for this great blessing and the patients are more satisfied.
Your donations of medical supplies and equipment, instruments, carts, beds, medicines, etc. are necessary and useful for the comfort of our patients and the quality of services we can provide them.
And for this I want you to know how important and what a great benefit it is to receive each of these donations that you have sent. We hope to continue working together in providing medical care to the people of Atitlan and the neighboring villages.
I am very happy to be a nurse at Hosptalito Atitlan and happy every time I see improvements for the patients. Also I understand that we still have much to accomplish but we hope with time and with good efforts we will succeed in improving and expanding the services available to our patients and reducing the need to transfer patients to other hospitals.
Thank you very much for your time, your efforts and for your donations to Hospitalito Atitlan and I hope that they return to you in a multitude of life’s riches.
With much caring….
Head of Nursing
Remembering Padre Aplaas
Preists, Bishops and Archbishops visit the Hospitalito in July
July 28th 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of the brutal death of Father Stanley Rother. He was killed in the rectory of Santiago Atitlan’s Catholic Church; another person had been silenced in Guatemala’s burning civil war.
But unlike so many other victims, Father Rother’s name is still remembered to the outside world. At his death, Father Rother (in Santiago Atitlan known as Padre Aplaas) served under the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and this year they planned a pilgrimage to Santiago Atitlan to honor and commemorate Father Rother. Several from this group have been conducting interviews and gathering information in preparation for his beatification process, which is now proceeding in the Vatican.
The US ambassador to Guatemala, Stephen G. McFarland, spoke about Father Rother during the packed Rother Anniversary Mass, held in the local church. He pointed out how Father Rother, because of his love for his people, stood by them during times of hardship, even at the cost of his own life. The ambassador said that the injustice that gave rise to the civil war still exists in Guatemala in the form of extreme inequality, and that we must continue to work to remedy that.
All of you who have followed the progress of Hospitalito Atitlan know that we would not be where we are today had it not been for the unwavering support of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. The hospital is a continuation of the sixty-year-long relationship between the Archdiocese and Santiago Atitlan. The town’s first hospital in Panabaj (destroyed by tropical Storm Stan in 2005) was built by the Archdiocese in the late 1960’s. So, when the Oklahoma delegation visited Santiago Atitlán in July, it made sure to stop by the new hospital to see our recovery progress. Carol Davito, secretary to Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, remembered her visit to the hospital a mere year ago, “then the building was a shell, and I am amazed over how quickly it has progressed,” she commented on the now functioning hospital.
Archbishop Beltran sprinkled holy water over many hospital rooms with a cypress branch. Once again, head nurse Felipa Archila had used her decorating skills and adorned the hallways and education room with flowers. She asked for a special blessing for the nurses’ station, where she later saved the cypress branch in a vase. Juan Tzina, on the Hospitalito Board of Directors, talked about how his father helped the Oklahoma priests to translate the Bible to Tz’tujiil, the local language. His work forced him to escape Santiago Atitlan during the civil war and he did not return for eleven years.
The group prayed to Father Stanley, asking for a safe trip for all of them, and for the well being of the new hospital.
Hospitalito staff also had to do some curing. Anne McGuire, department head at Saint Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma took a bad fall in Panajachel and had broken a finger. Volunteer emergency doctor Makini Chisom Straker from Mt. Sinai in New York applied a cast that took care of the immediate pain. The delegation continued its busy schedule by returning across the lake to Panajachel that evening. The Hospitalito Atitlan feels doubly blessed to have such good friends both on earth and in the realm where future saints roam.
Program Updates: Comadrona Training and Maternal Infant Sponsorship
Traditional midwives learn about the human reproductive system
Once a month the comadronas – Atitlan’s traditional village midwives – get together for a day of education in obstetrics. The classes rotate between medical centers in Atitlan, and this month we had the privilege of hosting them. When the comadronas come to Hospitalito Atitlan, its always a lively and interesting day! This past week the comadronas gathered to learn about reprodcutive anatomy and methods of contraception.
Improving the education of the comadronas helps them do their job better, and they are then able to disseminate this information to the wider village. Our volunteer nurse had a great time helping the women to understand better the anatomy of their patients and answering lots of questions the comadronas had about various patients they had recently seen.
Coming together as a group not only facilitates education but also is an excellent time for socializing and advice sharing among this special and important population. We are extremely proud of the success of this very important program, which helps to reduce maternal and child mortality in the Lake Atitlan region.
We were also joined by Dolores Xitamul (shown teaching above), a nurse from the town’s government health center.
Maternal Infant program provides care for the underserved
Hospitalito Atitlan’s Maternal Infant Sponsorship Program continues to grow, with 20 women now receiving healthcare and education. It is a good way for you to stay connected to Santiago Atitlan and to help a woman who would not otherwise be able to afford pre-natal care. In agreeing to take part in the program, expectant mothers agree to take pre-natal vitamins, attend all scheduled check-ups and monthly educational classes covering important topics for a new mother. For $25 a month you can help a disadvantaged woman and her baby to get off to a healthy start. The mothers love the program too.
More information can be found by clicking here.
A Visit From Lou Seyler
Lou and Cassie deliver a Sleep Sheep for newborns
Hospitalito Atitlan was very pleased to welcome Lou Seyler from Newport News, Virginia. He returned to Santiago Atitlan with his niece Cassie Sorrels, who studied Spanish and graciously volunteered her time in Santiago’s Puerta Abierta pre-school.
In 2006 Lou visited the old hospital in Panabaj, just months after the mudslide and was touched by the tragedy. It was apparent that the old hospital wouldn’t recover from the disaster of Tropical Storm Stan and a new hospital had to be built. Lou was the first to step forward. He made a donation in the name of his parents. His father was a small town doctor in Commerce, Texas who delivered many babies. One of Hospitalito Atitlan’s birthing rooms is named in memory of Louis W. Seyler, M.D. and Mary Dean Seyler.
Lou was a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama where he learned Spanish. He later worked as a social worker and family therapist. During his month in Santiago Atitlan he delivered a workshop for staff about panic disorder and met with individual patients to help them to understand how to deal with this crisis. Lou is very interested in child rearing as well, and talked with community leaders to learn about local child discipline practices. He hopes to draw on this information for future education projects he plans to implement when he returns to Santiago Atitlan. Lou also lent a hand building cabinets for the patient rooms, a man of truly many talents.
Hospitalito Atitlan welcomes non-medical volunteers and other specialists and we look forward to Lou’s return!
Dr. Nestor Carrillo leads diabetes workshop at the Hospitalito
“Diabetes kills more people in Guatemala than violence” declared Dr. Nestor Carillo, ex-Director of Health Services in Sololá, at the first of two diabetes “charlas” (educational sessions) hosted by Hospitalito Atitlan. Diabetes mellitus Type 2 is considered the “silent” global epidemic. Currently over 350 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with diabetes with 90% of the cases attributed to diabetes mellitus. The health, social and economic impacts of diabetes mellitus are tremendous.
In the opening remarks Blanca Azucena Pacheco, the event organizer, explained that “an individual diagnosed with diabetes has an extreme reduction in quality of life. These patients are more likely to suffer from co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease, hypertension and depression. Poorly controlled diabetes leads to serious complications including kidney failure, blindness, neuropathy and lower limb amputations.” Additionally, a diabetic patient will have a medical expenditure many times higher than someone without diabetes and tend to miss more work days, become disabled and suffer premature death.
Initially the prevalence of chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer was concentrated in wealthy nations but this trend has shifted and currently 80% of the cases occur within poor and middle income nations—the ones least able to afford this costly epidemic. Guatemala is one of these poor nations having to confront this fast-growing epidemic.
Seeking to bring attention to this issue locally Blanca Azucena Pacheco, a future masters in public health student from California and a current volunteer at Hospitalito Atitlan, partnered with Gabriel Salazar, a local Nutritionist, to organize the first annual Diabetes Charla in Santiago Atitlan. In an effort to stem the effects of diabetes in the Lake Atitlan area, we look forward to continuing these Charlas in the coming years.