Thursday, August 28, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños!

On Thursday August 14, we celebrated the birthdays of 14 of the Family Support Center children and youth who have birthdays from June-September.  We played full-contact musical chairs and then set to work on the piñatas.  The birthday kids destroyed the piñatas and then rushed in to collect the falling candy and peanuts. 

Letting Dora have it.

Spinning around a few times before taking aim.

Following the piñatas, we sang and shared cake with everyone. 

Xelapan para todos!

Finally we gave gifts to the birthday kids and gift bags to everyone.  

Birthday kids!

Perhaps the most enjoyed gift of the day, a harmonica for Oscar.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pop Wuj Welcomed Timmy Global Health for Another Successful Brigade

Pop Wuj welcomed another Timmy Global Health brigade to Xela during the week of August 18, 2014.  The Boston College chapter of Timmy and various medical professionals traveled to Xela for a week of mobile clinics and cultural activities.  

Prepping meds in the Pop Wuj pharmacy
The team visited Llanos del Pinal, Xeabaj II, Pujujil, San Juan Buena Vista, and then finished the week with a clinic day at Pop Wuj in Xela.  Pop Wuj staff and Timmy volunteers saw nearly 400 patients last week.

Mobile pharmacy set up

Welcoming the patients in Pujujil

The view on the way to Xeabaj--gorgeous!

The line of patients outside of Pop Wuj on Friday.
Special thanks to Ashley Aue, the Timmy Medical Projects Coordinator, and the whole Timmy Crew for helping Pop Wuj reach underserved patients in rural Guatemala!

Photo credits: Amy Scheuren and various Timmys!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Clinic Renovations

The Pop Wuj Clinic has been in need of some serious repairs and renovations.  Over the last month and a half we have been cleaning out, organizing, repairing, building, painting, and cleaning to improve the physical conditions of the clinic.

The new wall for clinic room #3

Step one of the new storage closet

The completed closet!

We changed the space of the third clinic room, adding a new wall and door, while opening up a hallway to the bathroom.  We also built a new closet to help store supplies.  The lighting was improved as well.  

New paint!

The new pharmacy door and more painting

We replaced the pharmacy half door with a full-sized door and started using the pharmacy window to distribute medications to the patients.  Finally we painted the clinic and cleaned EVERYTHING.

The freshly painted triage space

The pharmacy, patiently waiting to be restocked

The new clinic #3

Clinic #1 with new paint

The view from the pharmacy

A special thank you to all of the folks who contributed hours and days for the improvement of the clinic, including Mako, Cesar, Carmelina, Yoli, Ashley, Carmencita, Roney, Carmen Rosa, Sammy, Hugo, Edmundo, and Pop Wuj Medical Spanish students Kristen and Rebecca.

The clinic was ready to go for the Timmy Global Health brigade that visited Pop Wuj the week of August 18, 2014.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Branching out: Reforestation in La Victoria

On Thursday, July 31st, a group of students and staff members of Pop Wuj climbed up a trail on the mountainside in La Victoria to plant trees. This activity is part of the Reforestation Project at Pop Wuj. We planted cyprus, white pine, and holm oak (encino).

Carmencita, speaking with community members and Pop Wuj students before starting the activity.

They were accompanied by the families that owned the plot of land on the mountainside.

Everybody worked together to dig holes, fill them with water, place the "arbolitos" (seedlings) and pack the dirt around them.

We made sure to water the little trees sufficiently to keep them healthy despite the recent lack of rain in the area.

We planted 35 trees and distributed the remaining 40 trees to the families who attended the community meeting.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cents and Sensibility: Scholarships and Immigration Discussions in San Juan, Chirijquiac, and Llanos del Pinal

In the past two weeks the social workers and projects coordinator at Pop Wuj travelled to two surrounding communities for scholarship meetings. In these towns, San Juan and Chirijquiac, Carmen, Chloe, and Sharon presented information on the dangers and negative consequences for Guatemalans, specifically children, traveling to the United States "sin papeles" a.k.a. undocumented.

A family from the scholarship meeting in Chirikquiac
In the presentation we talked with the scholarship recipients' mothers about the importance of staying in Guatemala and keeping their children within the communities. We emphasized the importance of bettering their lives at home instead of chasing the "Sueño Americano" that for these migrant children is in reality una gran pesadilla (nightmare).

With the groups of scholarship recipient mothers we gave a presentation followed by a group discussion about the topic and personal experiences related to the subject.  Another meeting was held in Llanos del Pinal with the mothers of the children in the Family Support Center.

The mothers were divided into groups with the workers at the FSC.

Erick Santos, a teacher at the FSC, reads his groups response to "What do you most like about living here?"

Another staff member at the FSC, Carmelina, reads her group's responses to the question,
 "Why do people go to the United States?"

Separately, this activity was repeated with the children and youth in the "Guardería" or the Family Support Center in Llanos del Pinal. The altered version of the activity included drawing responses to the two primary questions.

The activity was done with the older children "grandes" (seen here) and also with the "medianos."
The dangers these children face include violence, sexual assaults, extortion, discrimination, illness, and abandonment, etc. If they make it to the United States alive they face likely deportation.

Carmencita and Sharon explain the dangers of going north "mojado" a.k.a. undocumented.

The increase in the number of children traveling to the United States in 2014 is unprecedented. They make the journey alone or accompanied by "coyotes" (human traffickers) who usually abandon them along the way. Our activity was meant to discourage the children from risking their lives in attempts to head north.

The kids watch a music video of the song "Tres Veces Mojado," by Los Tigres del Norte, to finish off the activity.