Friday, August 5, 2016

Seventh trip in the bag!

Ladies and Gents, that's a wrap; we've made it to the end of the week. Everyone is tired, but fulfilled, AND WET! We had a torrential downpour here for a couple hours, but luckily, everything is packed and dry. Kimberly trained Harvey on his water therapy skills, and he passed with flying colors. The rest of Kelly's House team spent the morning in the hospital, following up on their visit from Wednesday. Katie worked with the babies that have cleft lip and palate and their moms to optimize their feeding.
Bessie, Abby, Jordan, and Noelia did VBS at the hospital in the afternoon.
Noelia and Jordan finished their day at the Elderly home, where they visited and were able to listen to the residents stories. The Safe Haven team spent the afternoon is a variety of meetings, including meeting with the parents, the special education teacher, and the psychologist and director of the Village of Transformation. Donations were given out and explained, last minute details were wrapped up, and good-bye hugs were shared.
Isobelle, our photographer, gave a great gift to the mom's at the hospital today. She was able to take pictures of the mom's with their babies at the request of their parents in case their 'babies go to heaven.' What a beautiful thing!
What a week! We came with 64 bags of luggage and are coming home with 20. We have truly seen growth, healing, and transformation this week. We are leaving a piece of our hearts behind, and yet they are fuller than when we got here. We look forward to seeing you all state side! Signing off. <3 BRIGHT Children International.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Keep on Truckin'

The week is winding down and closure is beginning. The Kelly's House team helped organized the physical therapy room to make it easier for the Kelly's House PT to do her job. Bekki created c-splints (tools to keep ones hand open) for all the residents. Katie and Marci assessed the older kids and created academic goals that future volunteers can implement. Pam continued her Hoyer Life training and adjusted more wheelchairs and walkers as the children have grown since last year.
The Safe Haven team divided and concurred the mountain today. Amy began her morning in a meeting with Phil, a house father, giving him reading strategies and advice for continued education in his home. She then went to Kelly's House to work on academic skills with a teenager there with Muscular Dystrophy. Jim had a meeting with a house dad this morning as a means of encouragement, and the rest of the team went to see a house mom to follow up with one of her children.
In the afternoon, the entire team went to Safe Haven Village to assist with after-school tutoring, and then had a parent meeting to follow up on speech, OT and behavior for their child with Autism. Abby went to the toy room this morning to play, then ran VBS at the hospital, and then went to Kelly's House to assist in organizing. Bessie started her day with a little girl with Autism and then pulled Brook and Megan for collaboration.
She then went to the hospital to run a mommy-and-me music group, and then went to Kelly's House to review the alphabet with a resident. Jordan helped assemble wheelchairs, and intentionally interacted with two boys at Kelly's House. We've got one more day to finish up our goals before we pack it up and move it out. Check back in tomorrow for our final edition of Guatemala 2016!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

La Fiesta!

Wednesday proved to be another successfully exhausting day.
The mild/moderate team was able to meet with four families in the village of transformation to discuss the progress and concerns of their adopted children. All of these families were ones that had concerns last year, and it was amazing to see the amount of positive change these children have made in a year. Kimberly and Harvey were able to get every child at Kelly's House in the pool today for water therapy. Kelly's House and the Elderly Home received training on how to use the Hoyer lifts we provided to them. They were incredibly thankful and excited to learn.
Our physical therapist also adjusted wheelchairs today.
Bessie did music at the preschool and with the moms and babies at the hospital. She also visited a few kids at Kelly's House. Abby continued to train the nannies on how to play with the toddlers in the playroom, and she reported that they have already started interacting and playing with the children. Jordan lead a biblical discussion at the elderly home, and he was so encouraged at their spirits and willingness to share. The evening ended with a fiesta and some major dance parties. We will continue to divide and conquer through Thursday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Fun, Flexibility, and Fumigation

Today has been quite a busy day! Everyone is starting to feel the exhaustion kick in and most are itchy from the bug bites. But we continue by the grace of God to make progress. This morning the Kelly's House team finished their assessments with the children and were able to take a child on the playground to watch him motor plan movements he's never before completed.
They spent their afternoon assessing around ten babies at the Nutrition Center that were either showing motor delays or speech & language issues.
Bessie, Abby, & Jordan were able to get kids in the brand new play room! The children LOVED it, and played and participated in music.
The mild/moderate team spent the morning in the Special Education classroom with the teacher and her students observing and interacting with the kids, as well as participating in their exercise routines.
Their afternoon was spent with the same teacher in her tutoring session with both students from the special education class as well as the general education school. The last hour was spent brainstorming and sharing ideas with each other as to how to inspire growth in these children. We have Jim currently leading a bible study for the dad's of the Village of Transformation & Safe Haven, and we are preparing to evacuate our accommodations for bug fumigation. Praying for a few less bites. We'll check in tomorrow!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Our first day at work

The team members were able to get started at their work today in their respective areas. Everyone was excited to begin working and is looking forward to seeing what the week has to offer. The Kelly's House team was able to begin multidisciplinary assessments with kids with moderate to severe disabilities. Bekki was able to help with feeding and was able to get a girl to independently grasp an adaptive feeding utensil. Marcie identified reinforced and academic skills that can be addressed for each child. Katie completed oral motor stimulation and helped with feeding. She also checked visual tracking for choice making, as this is a part of communication. Kimberly and Harvey were able to get four kids in the water today, and will continue to work her magic in the pool. Pam and Caitlin looked at motor skills like rolling, sitting, standing, and also trained Kelly's House's personal physical therapist on handling children.
Safe Haven was such an encouraging experience. The interdisciplinary team consisting of Jim, Tina, Linda, Amy, Megan, Brook, and our translator Michaell, listened to the progress that the children have made since last year, and gave some basic advice on current issues. Linda began an assessment with a teenagers with Autism.
Bessie, Abby, Jordan and Noelia showed up to set up the play room to find a room that was current storage. SO the morning was spent moving beds and mattresses, painting, moping, and sorting previously donated toys. The final project is looking awesome! What do you think? (A HUGE shout out to Isobelle, our photographer!)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Funday!

Hola mis amigos. We have had a wonderfully productive day here at Hope of Life in Zacapa, Guatemala. This morning after breakfast, we went to church in the village with the local families. We were able to come back to Hope of Life for lunch and then a tour of the 3000 acre compound. The tour gave the new team members an opportunity to learn a little about Hope of Life, see the various areas and meet the residents of the elderly home, Kelly's House, the nutrition center, and the families at the Village of Transformation. After returning to the Rancho, the team sorted and repacked 31 bags of donations in preparation for tomorrow. The Hoyer lifts were assembled, and the Kelly's House team was able to observe feed time with the residents.
People shared what moved them about today during out debriefing, and we heard about children wanting to be picked up and loved, an awesome sermon at church this morning, seeing the progress of children from last year, and socializing with the senior citizens that don't get many visitors. We are ready to break into our teams tomorrow morning for a divide and conquer therapy mission! We'll catch ya tomorrow evening!