Monthly Archives: November 2012

Don’t Miss This!

Ok everyone… we have a fundraiser on the go. Its a catalog of items from here in Guatemala that are made by the people here, and provide them with jobs and much needed income…. We have items like, purses, wallets, table-runners, backpacks, Christmas ornaments etc etc. If you are interested in getting a digital catalog to show at your school or work, email us at info@thedoppenbergs.com and I will send it to you. All proceeds from the sale of items go to the Hospital Infantil here in Guatemala. Thanks & God Bless!

And so it begins…. again

Hello everyone!  Wow, it feels like forever since I have written a blog.  I guess for me, I am a “Guatemalteco blogger”.  I don’t really blog in Canada…. In Canada life is life… nothing really exciting or interesting seems to happen.  I am happy in Canada… I love my family and my friends and I spend as much time with them as possible, knowing our time is limited before I return here to Guatemala.  Once I get to Guatemala, it changes… I have friends and family back home that are eager to hear about our adventures… and those that walk alongside us in our Mission that need to be kept up to speed.  Plus, sometimes things happen here that are just too crazy to not share.

It’s hard for me to believe I have been here for almost a week!  Time flies.  We have been very occupied modifying our new home that we are renting.  Samuel, our friend and the owner of the house, has given us a very good price on rent here.  He has allowed us to make any modifications to the house that we need at no cost to us.  This man and his family are amazing in how much they are helping us.  And some of these modifications are major!!!  He has put in a second bathroom AND a second shower for us.  There is no way that we could survive hosting volunteers with only 1 of each.  Sammy and Geoff have been working tirelessly the past few days on all the big and little things that need to be done.  We are almost there!   People here are so generous too.  We live similar to how we do in Canada, and we can only do it thanks to the generosity of the more affluent people here who give us furniture and other things to make us comfortable.  We live VERY simply however and we choose to do so, but we do not kid ourselves for one moment that we are NOT Guatemalan, we ARE Canadian and we need to eat a certain way… live a certain way… etc if we are to stay healthy and strong both mentally and physically to be of any help to anyone.

We have had many firsts already… killed our first snake (non-poisonous, I think hahaha)…. killed my first (not Geoff’s) dog on the road (sad but one of those situations where there is a cliff on one side and a chicken bus on the other so it was him or us)… We miss things about home, hot water being one of the biggest.  I had forgotten how cold showers can feel here.  So many other little things happen here that turn my life into a comedy show of sorts at times.  Me, Geoff and the boys sit and laugh about these things over dinner until we cry…. We laugh a lot here.  Seems a lot more than we do at home with all the noise and distractions.  Here, we have each other and life is much more uncomplicated.

It’s funny, when I am in Canada, Guatemala seems far away… and my heart aches for the people here.  When I get here, my heart is at peace.  I see the poverty right in front of my face.  I am literally bombarded with it hourly.  But somehow it’s different.  It is not that I am numb to it… or used to it.  It is that I feel like being here I am hopeful.  Like I am where I am supposed to be…. doing something constructive to help effect change in this little part of the world.

We met with Hermana Mercedes this past week for our “formal” meeting.  We discussed, over delicious fresh squeezed orange juice I might add, the past 6 months and the coming year.  Now, I may be at peace but that is not to say I am not frustrated at times by the speed at which we move.  Hermana explained that money is so tight that it is difficult at times to buy food for the nuns at the hospital.  The kids always eat, but the sisters do not always.  The big annual Christmas party that the Hermana’s hold every December that invites all former rehabilitated kids back to the hospital for a dinner and a fiesta (party) had to be cancelled this year… there simply is not any money.  They head up to the mountains, see someone in desperate need and use money to help… its not that they are mis-using the little funds they have… as a matter of fact they use it more wisely than I ever could… its that the money simply isn’t there.  Not in the amounts needed to run a hospital…. and to think, not one of them gets paid one dime…. imagine if there was payroll?

This frustrates me that we have been involved for this long already and we are still there… struggling to get food on their table and medicines to keep them healthy.  The Order of nuns is growing.  There are now 24 of them with 3 more Novitiates arriving by the end of the year.  That will bring the total Hermana’s & Novitiates to 27.  This is an amazing thing and it shows how much God is working in this place to grow it so that there will be so many more of these incredible women dedicating their lives to serving the poor.  However, if it was difficult to provide, food, medicine, education and basic necessities for 18 Hermana’s…. 27 is even more difficult.   But we know that God will provide!  And we will work very hard to make sure that we, as humans are doing all we possibly can!   Having the Hermana sponsorships will help once more people get involved.

The children in the hospital are precious as ever.  Most of the kids that were here last year are gone home and new ones have arrived to take their place.  The hospital never has any shortage of malnourished kids to rehabilitate.   One trip up the mountain usually results in at least one child returning with the Hermana’s to the hospital.  On our end, the child sponsorships are beginning to take shape and the kids should be returning for their check ups soon.  It will be great to see the beautiful faces again of those that have gone home, and we hope that these return visits will ensure that they do not end up back in the hospital.  We will be working tirelessly to get each and every one of these kids sponsorships so that when they come back for their monthly check-ups they go home with their medicines and food.  Be ready, if you aren’t sponsoring a child or a Hermana monthly, I will be pushing… it means so much… it really does…. it means life, period!

Marquitos is a perfect example that the sponsorships work.  For those of you that do not know, Marquitos was admitted years ago with severe malnutrion, blindness and one of the worst cases of cleft palate I have ever seen.  Over the years, thanks to Rachel, his sponsor, who began coming to Guatemala with us when she was only 14, Marquitos is at a healthy weight and has had 2 surgeries to fix his cleft palate.  Next stop, a blind hospital to see if anything can be done for his eyes and if not he will be admitted to learn to walk using a cane etc.  Sponsorships work!  Who knows where this boy would be without it.

Overall, while we are all missing people back home, it just feels good to be back here.  To be actively on the ground doing something.  Not that we weren’t doing anything in Canada, we certainly were… but just to be here amongst it all… feels different…. feels good.

I will be writing many blogs in the coming months.  People have said that I write too much… too long… etc… so sorry for all the words, but it is simply who I am and I find it necessary to communicate how I feel.  If its too wordy for you, then stay tuned, once our friend Dave gets here, we will be doing video blogs again… but that’s not until February.  In the meantime, more information and updates can be found on our official website  www.thedoppenbergs.com  so please visit often!

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this… and pray for us… and love us whether from here for from afar.  We love you all and look forward to sharing our journey with you!!!

God Bless!