Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mission Accomplished!



Argi, Teresa and me

A week ago we were on our way to the doctor in Guatemala without a clue about what could possibly await us after that split-second decision to leave Teresa (a 56-year old woman from a small village in Copán with a terrible infection in her face) behind for emergency surgery.

This whole week has been about Teresa. Each morning started with excited yells back and forward as my roommate Argi  and I happily exchanged how many more donations we received overnight in our Paypal accounts. The next thing would be a call to Teresa to see how she was doing and how many times she went to the bathroom. Yes, life turns surreal when your first thought on a Sunday morning is: I hope Teresa peed well! Not that the danger was anything surreal, because the medication is very hard on the kidneys and at the first sign of kidney failure, we were to take her of those specific antibiotics. Which could lead to yet another problem, since Teresa already turned out to be resistant to the first antibiotics prescribed. But all well, she had a blood analysis yesterday and there’re no problems on the kidney front.
Next I’d start writing people thank you notes, update the blog, inform people how to donate and so on while Argi would call the doctor in Guate for a daily update and make sure the right medications were taken on the right time. It was not so much time consuming as attention absorbing. And besides Teresa’s health, it was also the uncertainty whether we would be able to raise enough money that was quite stressfull.

Yesterday we went to visit Teresa who’s staying at her colleague’s house, just outside Copán. Logistically it’s much easier to stay there, with of all the nurses’ and doctors’ visits, but also because Helda’s home is, though tiny, well built, meticulously clean and much easier to maintain that way than Teresa’s own house where it’s a coming and going of neighbours, kids, dogs, cats and chickens. I think she’s secretly also happy to be away from the family and village hubbub for a bit. After all, a lot of people in her village, including some family members, believe that the maggots that were crawling out of her face were a result of witchcraft, which doesn’t do much good for relationships within the community.

Anyway, Teresa was doing great when we saw her, talkative and joking around. I think she only half understands the effort it has been on behalf of so many people to get her were she is now, which is fine, because she’s the last person to worry about that. She told us how friendly the people in the hospital had been and that it wasn’t half as bad as she had expected (Little does she know that she stayed in a private hospital, because the surgery was anything but regular, and yes, that’s why she didn’t have to share the bed with two other patients!) and how great people have been in general. She is very grateful for all help received. And it’s just about the money, it’s knowing she was not alone when she most needed help. 
On Thursday she’s going back to the clinic for a check-up and from there probably back to her mountain. Unless there are some major changes or complications, I guess this will be my last post on Teresa. Weird. Sad somehow too. Of course we’ll continue to visit and monitor Teresa in the following weeks, but all the excitement of last week will leave a strange hole behind.

On behalf of Teresa, her family, Argi and me, there are really no words that can thank you enough, all those wonderful people who stepped up and generously donated to help out a poor women many of you have never met. It has been an amazing experience, starting in great anguish, ending in a jubilant success, making Teresa’s health a small victory, if not for entire mankind, then at least for Teresa and for all of us involved, learning yet again that there are so many people full of compassion and generosity among us, and that makes all the difference.

Well, that leaves us here. Mission accomplished! We have raised more than enough money, a whooping total of $3,611! Please don’t send us any more money (but if you do, we’ll make sure it gets to Teresa anyway).


Thanks so much to the following people:

Agueda Interiano, Al Steele, Alejandro Ferraro, Alice Dearden, Alice Wilbur, Amanda Mopeth, Anna Smith, Annemie van Nieuwenhove & Geert van Vaeck, Argi Diez, Beatriz & Aura Martínez, Bill Corba, Bill Sain, Café San Rafael, Carlos Alvarado, Cesar Borregón, Darlene Carlton & Gary, Diana Pineda, Elisa Orsburn, Elizabeth Butler, Elsa Rubin & Lizzette Soto, Fito Alvarado, Flavia Cueva, Frida Larios, Hacienda San Lucas, Heather Butler, Helena Ihamuotila, Hilda Santos, Jennifer Casolo &; Pedro, Jessica Fashun, Jody Patterson & Paul Willcocks, John & Marianne Bodrug, Josue, Karen Leiva & Bill Hare, Katie Miller & Marc Wolf, Kristin Landau, Mark Zipperer, Michelle Fitz, Michelle Vandepas, Miguel Raymundo, Missy Kluth, Nina du Mée & Ingrid Schreuder, Open Edge, Paola Carías, Personnel Hacienda San Lucas, Oneida Rivera, Radiant Health Institute, Rina Peña, Robyn & Geoff Affleck, Ronald Speer, Señor X, Shannon Kring, Suzette Cardona, Wendy Russell and Yvonne Santiago. 

Teresa in the hospital with one of her sons

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