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Post from: April 2015

TEAMworks Guatemala- April 15,2015

Oh, Happy Day...

After an emotional day yesterday, we woke up ready to hit the ground running.  Unfortunately, running led to sweet Lori's foot getting run over by a van.  Don't worry though, she's okay.  She's a trooper!

The PTs and Craig were able to finish up modifying the wheel chairs for the kiddos in house one and also performed a little unexpected respiratory therapy.  They started working their way through the equipment in house five and will finish up tomorrow.  Under the instructions of Craig the wheelchair guru, Lori and Charity constructed a wheelchair cushion that significantly improved a young girls posture.

The STs were able to watch a representative demonstrate the smart pallet on Carlos.  It is a device that will help him improve tongue placement to make his speech more intelligible.  They also observed the feeding techniques used with other children, and they were able to give the nannies advice and recommendations to improve upon those techniques.

The OTs worked on nanny education in one of the more involved houses.  They worked on more effective ways to handle the children with aggressive tendencies by giving them position equipment as opposed to restraints.

A big part of our day was about lifting the spirits of not only the residents and nannies of Anini, but also all of our team.  We all needed a little uplifting, today more than any other day, to remind us why we are here and what we are trying to accomplish... Improving the quality of life for those all around us.  We enjoyed a wonderful picnic style lunch under the patio while the Guatemalan rain fell.  We shared stories, laughs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  After lunch, we switched on our "Anini Dance Party" playlist and had dance party número dos with the kiddos in house 4.  It was exactly what we needed.  The nannies and support staff have been overwhelmingly supportive and trusting of our services, and we could not be more grateful.  We have been emptying our 16 suitcases full or materials right and left by leaving gifts, books, toys and resources behind for the nannies and the kiddos.

Tomorrow is our last day at the orphanage, so please pray that we will leave behind lasting knowledge and resources to make life at Anini even better.

"Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody"

TEAMWorks Guatemala - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Today we visited a place that is dear to our hearts each time we come.  The phrase "diamonds in the rough" definitely comes to mind.  We saw old friends and made new friends. Charity was reunited with a young man that has had a special place in her heart since her very first visit to Anini. Anini is an orphanage for individuals with special needs of every age and houses 70 people total. We were greeted with a presentation and tour of the facilities as well as the school. Each house had an ambassador that introduced us to their 'families.' One young man led us in a very special prayer that touched every heart. One kindergarten class even welcomed us with a song. We then broke up into groups and started working.

Craig and the physical therapists worked together to modify equipment and were able to improve the posture of these children in their wheelchairs. They also fit orthotics and worked on walking with two of the toddlers.

Dana and Kori visited a room of adolescent boys and were able to share sensory techniques with the nannies as well as offer advice for a couple of special cases. They also provided positioning techniques, range of motion, and splints for the nannies and younger kiddos.

Paige and Cindy modeled functional language activities that could be done with the children to stimulate language development in a group setting. They also watched a group of kids eat and made recommendations for precautions to take for safe eating. They ended the afternoon with an awesome dance party! We are planning the playlists for more dance parties tomorrow!

Ashley was busy all day being every single persons right hand woman. She ranged kiddos, assisted with equipment, took wonderful pictures, and joined the dance party. She continues to keep us in line and on time every day. The kids love her smile and contagious laughter. She always has a hug or high-five for them.

Everyone was encouraged to see items that had been left on previous trips being used currently. The nannies are following through with techniques previously taught and this is very uplifting. It is so nice to know that our work has had a lasting effect.

Our hearts and prayers go out to a dear friend at home this evening. Know that we are praying for you and thinking of your sweet family.

TEAMWorks Guatemala - April 14, 2015

We spent the day working in Antigua.  We were not allowed to take pictures but we are happy to share some from our walk there.  They were a little unsure of us when we arrived but we were able to adjust so many chairs and fit the children with equipment that they started lining the children up in their wheelchairs for us to see.  They asked us to come back, it was amazing!  Please pray for this new relationship.  Next stop, Anini! 

Please continue to pray for strength, wisdom, and endurance as our TEAM finishes their work in Guatemala!  

TEAMworks Guatemala- April 13, 2015

Quick recap....our time in Campur!

After a good nights rest, we headed to Hermano Pedro. We walked in to see dance class in action! We were soon led to another area where the therapists started a line of patients to be seen.

Lori and Charity cleaned out an entire suitcase fitting orthotics and shoes on these precious kiddos. They tag teamed several times with both Craig and the OTs and SLPs to make adjustments on wheelchairs using everything from pool noodles to spare wheelchair parts, foam, and duct tape.  Kori and Dana were able to fit many hand splits on kiddos for functional hand use. Almost every kid could be fitted for Benik hand splits. They also used built up handles to create homemade splints when no other splint fit.
Ashely took on the PT and OT role of ranging these kids while they waited in line. Cindy and Paige assisted in positioning for better breathing and swallowing as well as feeding precautions for aspiration risks.

Craig, Leo, and Juan took on the wheelchairs! Craig's most challenging patient was Silvia. She presented with CP and a right side C-curve. She was seated in a sling seat, sling back, wheelchair that was far too big for her. We used a rigid seat and 2 rigid backs off of other chairs to fabricate seating that would position her properly. With many modifications we were able to attach this seating to her frame  and when we left she was seated in an upright position.

We worked so late that most of the workers had gone home and the doors had been locked. After we finally managed to pull ourselves away, we were able to enjoy some wonderful scenery and loads of laughter. Buenos noches from Antigua!

TEAMWorks Guatemala - April 12, 2015

What a beautiful place to spend the Lord's day.  We arrived this morning at our community clinic to find people already waiting for us.  We were surprised to find so many adults seeking our help today in addition to many children. Fortunately, we were able to modify some of our equipment to fit the adults. Many spare and extra parts were used to fashion different items.  A back brace was made from parts of a wheelchair armrest, foot orthotics were made from another armrest, and a prosthetic foot was created from a pool noodle and an orthotic.

We assessed children with many different disabilities such as hearing loss, autism, polio, spina bifida, congenital dwarfism, elephantitis, Down Syndrome, amputations, and many more.

The needs were great, our hearts are fulfilled, but our bodies are tired...

More Campur pictures to come soon!

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy..." Colossians 1:11

TEAMworks Guatemala - April 11, 2015

Day 3:

Another early day for TEAM Guatemala! At 4:30am, our drivers picked us up in Guatemala City. They loaded up the bus and the truck and we headed to Campur. We saw the beautiful scenery Guatemala has to offer during the 6.5 hour windy, curvy, mountanous trek. We were grateful that no one got sick during the ride. Our drivers treated us to the local radio stations during the entire trip. We had lots of dance parties and karaoke opportunities. 

We were able to set up evaluation areas in the indoor soccer facility in Campur. Craig was able to immediately fix a wheelchair for a little boy and give away several pieces of equipment. We wish we could have had more equipment; the need was greater than the supplies. For one person, he made a cane because all of the canes had been given to others. 

Many of the people that came to see us today had never received medical care. One of the young ladies is in a desperate situation. We directed her to a doctor and will follow up on her tomorrow. It was difficult to see some of the conditions and not have a quick solution to their problem or something to help them.

We met a 10 year old boy who had fallen on a machete at the age of 4 and lost his right eye and had left side weakness. He received a splint for his hand and a brace for his foot. He received a pair of shoes and was able to tie his own shoes with one hand. We were so fascinated with his ability to do this with one hand, we asked if we could video it. 

Cindy was able to work with a 17 year old young man who is hearing impaired. He uses a few signs that he has created and gestures only. Cindy was able to teach him a few signs and get him to vocalize some consonant sounds. He has the most beautiful, contagious smile. Askansas School for the Deaf donated a sign book in Spanish and this was passed on to this young man and his family. 

Charity and Lori were able to provide a wheelchair, braces and shows for a little girl with Spina Bifida. Initially, she was uncertain of the wheelchair. Once she realized that she would be able to move the chair herself, she began to propel herself. 

Dana and Kori were able to teach a 10 year old girl with a brachial plexus injury a home strengthening program and the tools needed to do these exercises. 

Several of the local girls came to see what was going on at the soccer facility. They were not in need of assessments so we took the opportunity to play with them (kick ball, parachute, and teach them some cheer moves using the pom poms we brought from home). A fun time was had by all. 

We cleaned up our therapy supplies and packed up the van and headed to San Pedro Carcha, where we would stay the night. We were greeted by the Mayor and provided a wonderful meal. Several of the children performed the cultural dancing in traditional costumes. We thoroughly enjoyed their performance. At the end of their performance, Craig presented the Mayor's family with a wheelchair. In March, one of his family members (20 year old male) was involved in a car wreck and lost both of his legs in the accident. He is still in the hospital but the family hopes to bring him home soon, and are grateful to have a way to transport him when they do.

*The TEAM is currently at a place with no internet, but we hope to post some pictures soon!*