Health Sciences at Belmont University

9Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 6

Mission to Guatemala
from Lisa Haack

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

Buenos dias! After all of our hard work this week, we spent Friday in Antigua having fun.  We went to the Filadelfia coffee plantation where most of us got to see coffee plants for the first time.  We took an adventurous ride up to the top of one of the mountains and took the zip line course down.  The view along the zip line course was amazing! It was such a perfect and beautiful day.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch there at the café and then headed off to the market to go shopping. The market was a bit overwhelming, but we all learned how to barter to get the best deals on our souvenirs and gifts.  To end the day, we went out to dinner with our translators at a steak house, Hacienda Real.  The food was incredible.  We were all sad to say good-bye to the wonderful translators and drivers who took care of us this week.  Our last night at the Nazarene Center was rather interesting.  Apparently a new group of Guatemalan teenagers are having a retreat here this weekend and they kicked it off with a big party, which sounded more like mob preparing to attack us.  They eventually quieted down for a few hours and we got a couple of hours of sleep.  We are sleep-deprived and preparing to load up to head to the airport.  We had an amazing week here in Guatemala.  God showed up and did incredible things through us.  It has been a wonderful time, but we are excited to get back home!  See you soon!!!

7Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 5

Mission to Guatemala
from Carolyn and Markus

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

Today we went to Magdalena Milpas Altas, Sacatepequez, to Karamion which is a center for children with disabilities. First we met with the directors, who are husband and wife, and learned all about the center. They started it on their own and gave up everything, including their home, in order to help children. They don’t have any support, but trust in God to provide.  It was great to see such an awesome demonstration of faith and obedience to God’s will. We split into groups to start therapy and worked with children with different types of disabilities: autism, torticollis, Down’s Syndrome, meningitis, and spina bifida. I worked with a little girl with spina bifida with the help of Jessica, PT and some more of the OT/PT team. We worked on prone lying, trunk extension and postural balance reactions on a therapy ball, and ball catching for stability and balance.

6Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 4

Mission to Guatemala
from Joe Muchmore

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

Another exciting day for Team Catalyst. After a two-hour scenic drive, we spent the day with the wonderful staff and children of the JT Children’s Foundation. The JT Children’s Foundation provides therapeutic services for children with disabilities and their families who reside in the Tecpan, Guatemala area. They preach the importance of a holistic approach to healing and this is evident in their practice. After learning about the organization, we had the privilege of watching a performance that was prepared through music therapy sessions with a group of children. The performers graciously invited us to join and we happily danced and laughed with our new friends.

5Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 3

Mission to Guatemala
from Katie Hein and Julie Golden

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

Today was full of adventures! We visited 4 different loactions. In the morning we went to the Children’s Rehab Hospital and the Guatemala Association for People with Down’s Syndrome.  Then in the afternoon we went to Hope for Tomorrow/Nutrition Center and Las Conchas.

The Children’s Rehab Hospital Day 2- We met little Carlos, Kenneth and his wife to have little Carlos casted for AFO’s. Meanwhile, the rest of us participated in the morning therapy sessions (OT/FT- fisotherapy (PT)). The Guatemalan FT’s asked us for help with an exercise program for Christopher, one of the boys who suffered from Meningitis and is extremely weak. The only thing they have done for him in the past month is have him on tilting board to have him in a vertical position for 30 min. Lisa and Jessica (DPTs) evaluated his lower extremity and trunk strength, range of motion, and vestibular-occular system. He was getting bored with laying down, so  we sat him up to work on strengthening and postural control.  He was automatically happier and willingly participated in the activities.

4Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 2

Mission to Guatemala
from Darcy King

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

In order to beat rush hour traffic our group got an early start with breakfast at 7:00a.m.  Even though we thought we had an early start, we know that the Shalom Foundation staff were hard at work long before we got out of bed.  Today was the first day we experienced the weather we had been anticipating.  The sun was out in full force and many of us got a little more than our fair share.  Our first destination for the day was a children’s rehab hospital.  The hospital staff gave us a tour of the facility and then we broke up into our respective professions to participate in therapy sessions.  We had the unique opportunity to collaborate with the OTs and PTs at this rehab center in order to exchange ideas and share information.  This was a humbling learning experience for clinicians and students alike.  During the OT sessions we observed how they conducted group therapy sessions, learned about how they taught families to make piñatas to be sold as a source of income, and had the opportunity to work one on one with many of the children.

3Mar/13Off

Mission to Guatemala: Day 1

Mission to Guatemala
from Lisa Haack

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

All three flights came into Guatemala without problems Saturday.  Much to our surprise everyone “passed” immigration and no pat-downs were required.  Guatemala welcomed us with weather that reminded us of home…45 degrees and windy!  Burr!!!  In contrast, the reception was warm and we all settled into our rooms.  We were grateful for the amenities including flushable toilets and a warm shower.  It was a restful sleep with an occasional celebratory fireworks launched from near-by. ;)

11May/12Off

Mission to Guatemala – Day 6

Mission to Guatemala 2012
by Allison Toole

Today we woke up in beautiful Antigua!  Its safe to say we all got an amazing night of sleep after a hard day of work yesterday in Tecpan!  I was part of the team that spent the day at the JT Children’s Foundation and it was such a rewarding experience! We saw 5 patients in the morning and 4 patients in the afternoon.  It was amazing to see the teamwork between us and the clinicians there in Tecpan.  The parents of the patients we saw were so open and wanting to understand how they could help their children out even more at home. We started out by assessing their children and ended each session with educating the parents on exercises and strengthening techniques they needed to do at home.  We stressed to the parents that most of their children will not get better unless they continue doing their exercises at home.  Overall, the teams had a very rewarding experience at the JT Foundation and felt very blessed for the opportunity to work with such beautiful children.

After our team finished at the JT Foundation, we got on the bus and headed over to the where the other team had spent the day building steps and installing a rope.  I was completely in awe when we pulled up and saw the numerous amounts of kids that lived in this part of the village! They were SO loving and immediately hugged and greeted us as we got out of the van.  After talking with the other team for a while, I was told that the kids were very eager to help out with their project and were an integral part in helping build the steps.  It warmed my heart to know and see how hardworking these children are… that isn’t something I am used to seeing every day.   It was a very humbling experience to see how grateful these children were for all the work we did.

I can’t believe how fast this week has gone by! I feel like I have learned and grown so much in such a short amount of time. My heart is completely on fire for this beautiful country and I cannot wait for future opportunities to come back and hopefully continue these projects we have started here this past week.  Today is zip lining and shopping in the market and we are all very excited to explore the market and get some good shopping in (including the delicious coffee!!)

10May/12Off

Mission to Guatemala 2012 – Day 5

Mission to Guatemala 2012

Feliz Dia de Madre!  Today is Mother’s Day in Guatemala.  We all got this message at 4 am with a 5 minute blast of fire crackers in the courtyard!

The team headed to Tecpan – a rural farming village about 2 hours west of the city.  We teamed up with JT Childrens Foundation – an organization that provided physical and occupational therapy for kids. 1/2 of the team stayed at the foundation assisting with therapy and the nurses gave CPR training.

The other half went out into a community in the mountains. We were at Melvin’s home. Melvin is a 14 yr old kid with CP. His home is on top of a steep incline – maybe 200 meters from the main road. Melvin walks down the stairs to the main road to get to therapy.  The stairs have been washed smooth over time. His handrail….barb wire! Yikes.

We spent the day cutting out new stairs and installed a rope for a hand rail.  Pretty good day of manual labor.  We did of course find time to play with all the kids.  Spanish is the 2nd language in this area. the main language is a Mayan dialect of Q’eqchi.  Super nice folks.

After work we headed into Antigua were we will be for the next 2 nights. Friday is our day off – zip lining and shopping.

9May/12Off

Mission to Guatemala – Day 4 – More

Mission to Guatemala 2012
by Rachel Haddock

Today was as busy and fun filled as the previous few days. I was a part of a team who spend the majority of the day at the school meeting classrooms full of children ages kindergarten through the 6th grade. With entry into each classroom we were greeted with songs. We watched as they made gifts for their mothers and had time to play as well. We spent the rest of our time painting a classroom that was built a few years ago and really needed a fresh coat of paint.

The highlight of the day, for me was when we went into the village where we got to see how great the poverty is and what seemed to me was the 'real Guatemala' and what daily life is like for people here. We met a wonderful family whose daughter is suffering from chronic renal failure. She was hooked up to a make-shift dialysis device and we heard from her mother that the young girl wanted most was to ride a bike again before she died. This statement was not only incredibly touching and heartbreaking but motivating for our team. As we left them, we made the decision to buy her a bicycle before we left. In the middle of dinner she and her mother and father came to the Nazarene Center to get her gift. We were all overwhelmed by her father's gratitude and her mother's tears. The little girl was so excited and was able to practice immediately, her joy was undeniable. It was so humbling and rewarding to know that we made a difference in her life and hopefully made her time before and after surgery a time she can enjoy and have fun like other kids.

I am looking forward to the adventures and challenges that we face tomorrow but I am so encouraged after tonight, seeing the impact we made simply by giving a little girl a bike- something we take for granted everyday back home.

9May/12Off

Mission to Guatemala – Day 4

Mission to Guatemala 2012

Our first visit was to Lucy. The nursing team and I were honored with an invitation inside her home, and witnessed a kind of gratitude for that home (which had been built by The Shalom Foundation) that far outdid what any of could have expected from someone living in such extreme poverty. Our hearts broke in unison when Lucy disclosed that the beautiful baby girl in her womb was past due, and that she completely lacked access to any kind of hospital, clinic, or even midwife to facilitate delivery… Las Conchas simply didn’t have anything to offer her or her baby to be… And Lucy simply didn’t have access to transportation. Her plan, when the time came, was to take to the bumpy dirt road outside her home and walk until she passed someone who could help. Not long after, we ran into Julio, another man Shalom had provided for in the past. With one of his precious daughters wrapped around his legs, Julio lamented that he no longer had a job and that he was struggling to provide food and fulfill basic needs for his family. Heart-wrenching visits like these passed one by one throughout the day until finally, standing outside a small tin home on a hillside of the Las Conchas community while the nursing team examined another helpless baby girl, I stared down the steep dirt road toward the masses of other small tin houses, and thought to myself that there was simply too much.

Luckily, I had someone there to remind me that miracles happen one by one. And the reminder was well-timed. Today was a day of miracles. I even think I may have contributed to one very special miracle at the clinic that we visited in Las Canoas. The nurses were overjoyed at the bags and bags of medical donations that we brought with us. They dug right into everything, and with great care they organized it all between the two small rooms that functioned as their office and exam room. Their gratitude for the donations was unmistakable. still it wasn’t long before I became aware of a rather large deterrent to their actual ability to use many of the supplies that we were leaving them with: They couldn’t read any of it. In fact, they couldn’t read any of the bottles or instruction sheets for any of the drugs that they had so neatly organized in their cabinets from previous rounds of donations. It was therefore with great honor that I was able to translate the function and dosage information for their entire cabinet. The nurses enthusiastically noted and labeled everything, with their minds undoubtedly full of the many local people that they would now be able to treat with the medicines they had received.

The need here is overwhelming. But with the right mixture of generosity and sharing of skills… perhaps these small miracles can be even more so.