We apologize for the delay, but better late than never! Please read about the final day of the recent Guatemala trip below!
Our prayers were answered at Anini with the caregivers being receptive and eager to learn the information we provided. We felt that being able to see the children and caregivers in their houses helped us to connect and establish a better relationship. Mike and Juan split off from the start to tackle the wheelchairs in house 5 and finish up any loose ends, while the rest of the group presented toys and equipment for the children and caregivers in house 1. They were excited to receive several large and much needed items, such as a bath chair, bench, and therapy ball.
The group then moved to house 6, where we provided several highly needed items as well. We were encouraged that the caregiver was implementing several suggestions from the day before, and we were able to give them a walker, physioball, educational toys, group activities around the house, and provided them with education on increased vocabulary and spontaneous language usage.
The therapist split up with Sophie and Kelly educating houses 2 and 3 with emphasis on functional group activities to increase social language and activity of daily life/ work skills. Then the rest of the group helped Mike finish wheelchair adjustments. Overall, Mike helped adjust about 16 wheelchairs at Anini!!! It was a huge group effort with our driver, translater and even the speech therapist helping fix some chairs. We are so thankful to have been able to spend so much time at Anini this past few days, and received a couple resident's email addresses to stay in contact. We are excited to come back next year!
In the afternoon we visited a new orphanage, where we were excited to see them already providing therapy services and school education to most of the residents and speech therapy was provided at the school as well. We were able to provide some updated equipment and give them a new stander which the orphanage director stated they use every day! Mike was able to drive to a rural farm in the afternoon and provided a new wheelchair for a sweet girl with osteogenesis imperfecta. We are hopeful this will allow her mom to keep her at home. It was a good end to our trip and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve these children!!
We started our second day back at Anini finishing up with the kids in House 1. We held a joint play therapy session with 3 of the younger children and finished modifying the wheelchairs for better positioning and performed some repairs.
Paige, Kelly, and Sophie moved on to House 6 where some of the higher functioning children are housed. We were greeted with huge smiles and requests for lots of hugs. While in House 6, we were able to evaluate some of the other kids not seen yesterday and develop a plan for more functional learning on a daily basis. They also implemented visual and fine motor activities. Charity and Caroline casted a little boy for AFOs in hopes that next time these will help enable him to have a better foot position to walk. It warms your heart to see how close they are and the love they share for one another.
From there half of the group hosted an impromptu mercado de zapatos (shoe market) for house 4 which are high functioning men. News traveled fast as we had many customers and were able to give away eight pairs of shoes and socks. We were also able to provide a sweet young man with a new forearm crutch which is his only means of mobility. At the same time, the other part of the group visited House 2. There the group interacted with some of the residents demonstrating more aggressive behaviors. They brainstormed some ideas with the aim to channel those behaviors to more positive outcomes.
In the afternoon, the entire group met back together in House 5. This house is home to the more involved older male residents, with the majority wheelchair bound. This was the pool noodle challenge. Every discipline incorporated pool noodles in various forms as solutions to challenges presented. For example, pool noodles were placed on wheelchair frames for arm pad replacement, hip alignment, and proper foot positioning. Pool noodles were also used to elevate the mattress head to decrease aspiration risks for one child and for another child a noodle was used to fabricate a protective barrier to prevent self injury! Also, Mike, our translator Leo, and our driver Juan worked together to fit a child with a new wheelchair and repaired three other chairs while there.
Our day ended with a Guatemalan thunderstorm and wonderful fellowship with our Guatemalan family.
Please pray that we can finish strong as we educate caregivers in each house about their specific needs. Tomorrow, we will also be visiting a new orphanage. Please pray for guidance as we explore this new opportunity and friendship.