Daily Archives: March 9, 2012

Just imagine…..

I guess I should begin with an apology …. as usual.  I always feel so bad when I don’t make the time to update everyone.  It’s an integral part of my job here but sometimes its just so difficult.  Some of you have been here… so some of you know how it goes.  Either we are working so hard from light until dark that I just don’t have time… or in the case of these past 2 weeks we are setting up the next round of projects, have some down time and simply don’t get to it because relaxation is so much needed.  I left off quite a few weeks ago… and so much has happened… but it’s always that way here.  Many people have come and gone.  Time is different here and as I sit here writing and think back… wow… lots of people have come and gone through our humble door here in Guate.   Dave and Justin left after just under 2 months…. Mike and Jess have been and gone…. Vanessa, John, Kyle & Jared too….  Dave was doing our weekly update videos and Mike was kind enough to train Zack on how to edit so they will thankfully continue.  Jess cut all the nuns and novitiates hair and did the hair and makeup for Fernando & Elisa’s Church wedding.  Vanessa painted signs and murals… The Attema family was here and it was such blessing to have them here to share in this journey with us!   We got to share in something special with them too…. a visit with their Compassion Sponsor Child, Santos.  Words cannot describe how absolutely awesome that was!

Fernando & Elisa’s Church wedding has come and gone.  What a fantastic time that was.  Guatemalan’s sure know how to celebrate!!!  John & Kyle joined us for 10 days.  Great guys who worked hard and had tons of fun with us here.  Jared came on the best week yet… our relax week!  We did manage to get a few days of work in and then it was time to head to the beach for some much needed R & R.   We slept, read, played, ate and merely existed for 3 glorious days.  One of the best moments was having the sheer pleasure of releasing some baby sea turtles back into the Pacific Ocean.  There is a Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Monterico and we had a blast letting the tiny babies go home into the sea.

It was a bit weird to relax… things here have been so go, go, go for the past 3 months…. So much has been accomplished like:


  • a new kitchen
  • renovations to the existing kitchen
  • an addition with 3 bathrooms, 3 showers and a laundry facility
  • a new dorm with bedrooms that can accommodate 1,2 3 or 4 Hermana’s
  • a new roof over the main building and repairs to other sections of damaged roof
  • 2 new pantry cupboards for food storage
  • 2 new gardens stocked with nutritious veggies
  • a chicken coop to raise chickens for meat
  • new signage and murals
  • a dental clinic that saw 186 patients and cleaned, filled or extracted hundreds of teeth
  • various shelving units, cupboards & furniture repairs
  • english & spanish classes
  • a new classroom and library for the pre-university novitiates
  • knitting, sewing and crochet classes, including a new sewing machine, and materials
  • a refurbished underground cistern so they can have fresh water when the municipality turns off the water every day from 6am to between 4-6pm
  • shoes, shoes and more shoes for the Hermana’s and the kids in the hospital
  • new wiring throughout the hospital to prevent fire and provide light where there was none.  This includes replacing roof panels with transparent panels to provide natural light & reduce the electric bill.
  • The graduation of 2 Novitiates from Nursing school!!  There are 2 more in University studying to be doctors and several others up and coming heading to nursing school!  Also funding Hermana Mercedes and Hermana Elba for PHd’s.


  • 2 homes built for families in need (1 is still in process of building)
  • repairs to existing homes
  • water delivery
  • clothing delivery
  • food delivery
  • hygienic product delivery such as toothpaste & toothbrushes (Thanks Dental Team from Canada!), soap, shampoo and feminine products.

Lots done… much yet to do!  But it has been a great beginning!

Now, I have something very important that I need to talk with you about…. we have realized that what we need to do here is so much more than just deliver hand outs.  We need to provide ways in which the Hospital and the community can become self sufficient.  There are many people here that need help and many different ways to help them.  One of the best ways we have seen here to help people is to provide them education and jobs.  We have spent a lot of time thinking and praying for answers… solutions…. ideas… anything….

Our prayers have been answered.  We met a man and his family within our first weeks here.  His name is Vidal and we are now good friends.  Vidal’s brother has land for sale.  Not just any land, but land in the lushest most fertile area of Guatemala.  Land that Delmonte, Tim Hortons and other companies own to grow their crops.  Vidal and his brother know Hermana Mercedes very well and they know of us and our mission.  They want to help so they have offered us some land to begin a farm at a very reduced price.  This is such a fantastic deal that we simply cannot pass up.  We would be able to build a permanent home base on the corner of this property and then farm the rest.  The home would house us, our volunteers & also have quarters for families visiting their children in the hospital to stay… a pseudo “Ronald McDonald House” of sorts.  The farm portion would provide jobs for Guatemalan’s…. provide food for the poor… food for the hospital… money for the hospital through the sale of the crops and this would allow the hospital to not only make the budget each month but to perhaps have extra money for them to run at full potential (right now they are operating at roughly 25% due to money constraints) so more kids can be helped!  What an incredible opportunity that has been put before us… but once again we are frustrated… frustrated by the constraints of money.  We simply cannot do this alone… we need help… and that is where you come in!!!  The best way that you can help is to partner with us in this.  We are offering you an opportunity to provide money, food, shelter and sustainability for the people of Guatemala for $1000.00.   For that amount you get your name (literally on a plaque) on a parcel of land that is 50ft x 50 ft.  Stay with me here… close your eyes and … just imagine….

Just imagine that while you sit in your comfortable home in Canada you are helping to provide a much needed job for someone…. just imagine they are tending to the land that has your name on it… planting, watering, weeding, and eventually harvesting food… just imagine that the food from the land will either be used to feed the Hermana’s and the malnourished kids at the Hospital and aid in their rehabilitation… or it will be used to feed a hungry family up in the mountains…. or it will be used by the Hermana’s to take to market and sell and the money used to run the hospital, buy medicines, lab tests, operations for the kids etc etc…. The possibilites are endless…. Just imagine….

I use the analogy of “just imagine” because that is the tag line of the lottery in Canada….  For us, and the people here who count on us Canadians (and that includes you) the offer of this land is like winning the lottery.  A lottery that literally has the potential to keep people alive…. and that to us is worth so much more than imagining driving a fancy car, buying a fancy house or other things like that.

If you are interested in helping in this way please visit our page at www.ctenc.ca/ritadoppenberg and click on the “Donate” button or send a cheque made out to “Commission to Every Nation Canada” and enclose a note saying for “The Doppenberg’s in Guatemala”.  Do not write this on the memo line… leave that blank and enclose a separate note.   Then drop me an email at ritadoppenberg@cten.org and tell me that you sent the donation in for our “farm”.   Together we can help these people help themselves and build a bright future… Just imagine…..

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