Monday, January 27, 2014

Grocery Shopping in Guatemala

First, for a quick update on how the missionary "without a leg to stand on" is doing.  We went to the Doctor's office on Thursday the 23rd, and got the staples out.  Doctor Amenabar (with an accent over the second a) was very pleased and said that all was well and he will see us again in 4 weeks. 
Doctor Amenabar in his office
Elder Thompson keeping track of progress
Looking good and feeling better without the staples in.  Two weeks down, only 4 to go!!!

     Before President Burk came here a year ago, the Senior Temple Missionaries were on their own as far a grocery shopping was concerned.  They had to either walk to the nearby stores or hire a taxi to take them.  When President Burk became the temple president, he assigned two of the Senior Elders to drive his van, rotating each week, to take whoever needed grocery shopping.  Each Monday at 9:00 AM the van leaves the temple grounds for shopping at Walmart and Price Smart.  Whoever needs something can go.  If there are too many to fit into the van, then only one of  each couple can go.  We usually only need to go to these stores once a month to pick up case goods. 
This Walmart is bigger than the one in El Salvador and has a very good supply of everything.

This is like a Costco.  It is smaller than the one in El Salvador.
      We are very fortunate that we are young and healthy and can walk to three different stores locally whenever we are in need of something.  (as of two weeks ago anyway)  The loop that we walk goes past three different stores, depending on the way we take the loop.  We try to pick up a few groceries at a time so it is not so hard for "mi burro" to carry them home.  Lon puts on his back pack and away we go. 
This small mall is just about two blocks from us.  The Cemaco store is like an Ace Hardware.  This is where Elder Thompson found a kitchen sink sprayer and was able to hook it up to the shower so that he could wash my hair without getting the legs wet.  We bought his crock pot here also.  The mall has a small office supply store, a store called the Nauvoo where local people sell anything that they can make that pertains to "Mormons", a post office, a pharmacy, a Catholic store, a dry cleaners and several clothing stores.  In the parking garage in the basement is a small grocery store,  Yetro.
  This is the closest store to us.  They have just about anything, from groceries to cleaning supplies but not a big variety.  This is great if you just need a couple of things.  They seem to have the best variety of Campbells Soups in town. 
      If we need fresh fruits or vegetable, we like to go to La Torre
     It is the farthest from us so we try to be careful that Elder Thompson is not too loaded down for the walk home.  Their fresh fruits and vegetables are the best we have found and they have a very big selection.  Because it is so far from home, we usually only get the fresh things here as that is a big enough load. 
Paiz is the store that we use most often because it is closer.  It reminds us of Super Selectos in El Salvador.  They have a very good selection of most everything that we need.  It is located inside a mall, on the second floor.  We really haven't explored this mall yet, but they do have a POPS (ice cream), and a Pay Less Shoe store. 
     We have several pharmacies close by also and Elder Thompson has been able to find the prescriptions that I have needed these past two weeks.  We have the names and numbers of at least 5 taxies that are safe and reliable.  We feel like we are settled in and feel comfortable in the area we live and are looking forward to the temple opening again so we can get to know the people now. 
     Life is a routine for us, breakfast, exercise for me with the help of my dear companion, Lon takes a walk and does whatever shopping needs done while I read my scriptures and study my Spanish, lunch, Lon's turn to study and read while I either take a nap or read a book, supper, exercise for me again with the help of my dear companion, and bed.  Lon is not going stir crazy yet cause it takes a while to get me dressed, exercised and fed.  He is learning new cooking skills daily but will be ready for the temple to open on the 4th.  We miss it so when it is closed.  I know that I will not be able to start back until after the 6 weeks and then we will have to see if I can do a whole shift or not. 
     We know that our Heavenly Father is in charge and we are putting our faith and trust in Him.  He will guide us and strengthen us.  Life is good.  The road has a few pot holes and we have fallen into one of them but this trial will soon be over and we will have learned more about ourselves, each other, and our Savior.  We send our love to all.  You are in our prayers always and we thank you for yours in our behalf.  Love Dad and Mom, Grandma and Grandpa, Lon and Nancy

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"You don't have a leg to stand on"

Well, we have made it to the one week mark and are very happy to have this first week behind us and look forward to a week from now with more mending and progressing.  With all the temple missionaries out of town or entertaining family we thought we would be on our own this week.  But with the Area Offices here and the CCM (MTC) we have about 50 Senior Couple Missionaries serving within walking distance of us.  Doctor and Sister Craigon, Senior Missionary Doctor for one of the missions here, brought in dinner for us on Tuesday, and checked up on us.  We had never met them before.  Doctor and Sister Cameron brought us the walker on Monday and checked up on us.  They are the Doctor for another of the missions here. 
 I am able to get to and from the bathroom much easier than trying to get the wheel chair down the hall.  By Friday, I am now able to get myself off the bed, into the bathroom, and back all by myself.  I'm growing up!
     On Thursday morning, Lon was concerned that my leg was real hot and worried about infection so he went to the CCM and had Sister Burbidge, the nurse at the CCM, come over to check it out.  She called the Doctor and they agreed that I should come in the next morning for him to look at it and ordered some antibiotics for me to start that evening.  You have no idea the fear that ran through me knowing that I had to get into a car and out of a car and into the Doctor's office and then back into a car and out again.  Lon worried all night about keeping my right leg straight as our wheel chair has no leg brace to hold it up.
    Friday morning we were ready at 9:30.  Lon figured out that he could use one of our trash cans to support the leg, and if I needed it, I also had my barf bucket with me.  Smart man!
I look like a missionary ready to go to work, don't I?

 Elder and Sister Burbidge picked us up and drove us to the Doctor's office which is right next to the hospital.  We had about an hour to wait for the Doctor as he was in surgery and it was fun to hear Sister Burbidge tell of some of the things she faces having to deal with all those young missionaries.  She thinks that futbol (soccer) should be banned along with basketball and a few other activities.  The Doctor was very pleased with the knee.  He said that there was no fluid under the knee cap and my mobility was good and to keep doing what we are doing.  Of course, Elder Thompson complained that when he did the exercises with me I complained and whined, but when the Doctor did them I was a perfect patient.  I don't think the Doctors believed him but he tried to get their sympathy.
This is Elder and Sister Burbidge from Murray, Utah bringing us home from the Doctors
Sister Burbidge thought the trash can was inventive.

Elder Thompson is becoming quite a good cook.  He made his first crock pot meal and we enjoyed it very much.  We may try spaghetti this week.  That sounds good to me.  Our neighbors brought in their version of Taco Soup tonight, George, it was nothing compared to yours. 
     The trip totaled me and I took a good nap while Lon went for a walk.  He took some photos of some of the rain gutters that we pass each time we walk.  The one that I fell into was one of the better ones.  It will ever remain a mystery how it ever happened. 
This is the one that got me!!
     We do walk on the road because as the next pictures show, you can be on a sidewalk when all of a sudden it doesn't exist anymore.

We have decided that this is the public restroom along the walking trail.  There is always someone using it.

     Well, that about sums up our week, not too exciting but all is well.  We are in good spirits and just taking each day as it comes.  We know that "though trials and tribulations oft have come my way, I can feel Him near me as I kneel to pray.  I've a testimony, sacred, dear to me. One that lies within my soul, something I cannot see".  I haven't sang that song for many years but those words are always a comfort to me.  Our Father in Heaven is in charge and we are definitely in His hands.  Thank you for your prayers, we are feeling the power of them.  We love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week.  May God bless you with those righteous desires of your heart.  Love Lon and Nancy, Grandma and Grandpa, Dad and Mom

Monday, January 13, 2014

Home alone 2

Dear Family and friends,
     Well our week has been busy with new adventures.  Tuesday through Friday the temple was so busy.  This is the last week we will be open for three weeks so the people have filled the temple each day.  We expected Saturday to be even busier than last Saturday, when we had 19 sessions.  The Area Office of the Church gave us back our passports just in case we needed them during the break so we hired a taxi Friday afternoon and went to purchase bus tickets for a weekend trip to see our mission family in El Salvador.  The other Senior Couples here have a few trips planned to sightsee Guatemala during the break.  We were excited to be able to go on a couple of these trips and get to know these people better.  And then the Reid Klutz Gene (as my sister Judy calls our gracefulness) attached me!!
     At about 3:00 we put the backpack on Lon and headed out to the store to get some bananas and milk.  We took the route that is mostly down hill from our apartment.  We had gone about a mile when I forgot the rule of "look down, look down" ( I love that song from Les Miserables).  The sidewalks are non-exsistant and the roads have lots of holes and manholes without covers and just rough so you have to watch where you are walking at all times.  Well, Lon and I are visiting about our wonderful day in the temple and our trips that are planned and I forgot to look down.  My left foot went into a cement rain gutter, twisting as I fell and my right knee came down hard on the uneven cement.  I went down very hard but sat up and rubbed the ankle and knee and had Lon help me up so we could continue and I have never felt such pain in my life.  I sat down on the curb  and then laid on the grass, we happened to be where there was grass.  After a little while, we tried it again, only to have to lay down again.  The pain was so intense.  Lon was trying to figure how we were going to get me home.  We had a mile walk, uphill, then the cross over with all the steps to go up and down, and we had no phone numbers with us and after the third time of trying to get up, I told him that without a car I was going nowhere.  Lon said a prayer in his heart and told our Heavenly Father that we were in trouble here and needed some guidance and help.  Just then a lady backed out of her garage and pulled over to ask if we needed help.  Our little angel helped Lon get me into the car and we headed for home.  She was such a sweet little lady.  I was in the front and she would reach over and pat my head and try to comfort me.  I started throwing up now.  Lon figures it was shock but I figured it was my Minears kicking up.  Which ever it was it was not good.  But thankfully he had his backpack so that was my bowl and I didn't destroy her car.
       When we got to the house, Lon ran upstairs to get President Harris to help get me into the house.  They got a kitchen chair and carried me to my bed.  President Harris couldn't get the mission doctor on the phone and they were trying to figure out what to do with me.  After they gave me a blessing they both knew that it was time to get to the hospital.  One of the temple guards brought down a wheel chair from the temple and the temple van and loaded me in to it.  That would have  been a fun picture to have, trying to get me up into a van with two legs that didn't want to work. 
     The ER at the Hospital Herrera Llerandi was wonderful.  The doctor, Dr. Castillo, took care of the throwing up first.  They started an IV with anti-vert medicine then the ex-rays of the feet.  It wasn't good news.  He called the orthopedic surgeon Dr Amenabar and they showed Lon the ex-rays.  The left foot has a hairline crack at the ankle and the right knee cap is broken in two pieces.  The only good news was that the two pieces were about even so the screws and wires would be easy to attach to put it back together again.  I was admitted to the hospital to have surgery the next morning, Saturday the 11th at 8:00 AM.
     My nurses were wonderful.  Sometimes it was sign language that we used, but I thankfully had enough words that I could tell them what I needed.  They took such good care of me.  Of course, there was not much sleep on that night, the pain was so intense and I had to lie flat on my back and I have never been able to sleep that way.  I told Lon to go home about 8:30 and the temple guard again picked him up and took him home.
     The surgery went great and this is how I woke up.
My left foot has the boot on so I can put some weight on it to get to the bathroom and back to bed.  The right knee is to be immobile for about 6 weeks and I can slide it along as we use a walker to get around.  The pain medicine is working great, but there is no sleep in a hospital.  On Saturday afternoon, a group of people are in the first part of the hospital room waiting for the patient to come from recovery.  I am in a two bed room.  The 23 year old girl has had a tumor removed and she has olverian cancer.  There is a lot of crying, conversation, and cell phones going off all afternoon and night.  They have come from 6 hours away and the mother, sister, and aunt spent the night with the patient, I think mostly because they had no other place to go.
  Sunday morning the doctors came in and I told them it was time to go home so I could get some rest.  Lon had taken a taxi this day to get to the hospital and we were trying to figure out a time to have a taxi there to take us home when the mission doctor and his wife walk in.  His internet had been down and he had just found out about all this and came straight to the hospital.  They brought us home and went to get the prescriptions filled.  They are going to get the walker for me to use also.
    This would have been a great picture too.  Lon is walking backwords pulling the wheelchair with me in it up to our door and the doctor is holding onto my leg to keep it out straight when Lon comes to the step up and trips.  Suddenly my leg is straight up to the sky and Lon is on the ground.  At the time it didn't seem funny but as I think of it now, what a sight that must have been.
     I am so thankful to be home.  We both slept great last night and I took about a two hour nap today.  Our missionary family here have brought in food and are taking care of us.  They don't all go anywhere at the same time until their trip to the Xela temple.  Yes, that is the very temple that we tried to visit twice while we were in El Salvador.  Just don't think it is meant for us to go there.  But we will wait and see how the recovery goes. Thank goodness we have these 3 weeks to recover before the temple opens again.  There is no plans to come home at this time.  The doctors are great and we expect a full recovery.
       Please remember me in your prayers and if you live near a temple, please put our names on the prayer rolls.  That is the best help you can be to us now.  We are in good spirits and Elder Thompson has promised not to feed me hotdogs every day.  He is taking very good care of me.  We send our love to all.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy
Lon decided that as Sister Petersen always said, without a picture it didn't happen
my left ankle is turning real pretty colors

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our walking route

     Tonight we thought that we would show you a little of our new neighborhood.  We don't have a temple parking lot to walk around here in Guatemala.  The Pitcher's have been here for about 6 months and they too love to walk.  They have scouted out the best route, and safest route for a good walk and gave us the map.  Our first day, we did get lost a couple of times because we couldn't find any street signs.  The Pitchers were temple missionaries, but have been called to be the secretaries to the Area Presidency so they no longer have the same schedule, so they couldn't go with us.  But with map in hand, off we went. 

When we stopped looking up and looked at our feet, we found the street signs.  We have a huge, busy 4 lane highway in front of the temple.  We have 3 pedestrian crossovers that we use in our walk.  We cross over the highway, just in front of the temple on the crossover that the church built.  As part of the agreement to allow the temple to be built, the church had to provide this crossover. 

  Pretty nice crossover. We either start here or we finish here.  The whole route takes us about an hour, depending on how slow I climb the stairs.  The other two crossovers look like this.
  The route is up hill and down hill.  We have seen some interesting sights and these next pictures are just some of the things that we have seen.   

Lon feeding the bird bushes just across from our front door
This is the President of Guatemala's house. We walk past it daily.  You can tell when the President is home by the amount of guards outside.

all the homes either have the razor wire

or they have the broken glass imbedded in the cement.

This park is a private one just a little ways from our apartment.  Only the people who live in this area are allowed to use it.

Your vest and the license plate of your bike have to match so it is very hard to steal a bike and use it here

The sidewalks are non existing in most places so we walk on the road, but as you can see, they are not real smooth so you have to watch were you are walking.

     We hope you enjoyed seeing some of our surroundings.  We do live in a very nice area.  As we get to visit other areas of the city, we will see how the rest of the people live.  Our three days in the temple were very busy.  With the temple only being open for one more week before it closes for repairs, the people are coming in the bus loads.  Saturday was a very busy day.  We started at 5:00AM (well not us, we started at 11:30) and we did 19 sessions, finishing with a 6:00 session.  We got home just after 9:00.  Tomorrow, Monday, we are going over at 1:30 to help the laundry out.  There was dirty clothes stacked everywhere when we left yesterday. 
   We are getting to understand our duties in the temple and only get lost a couple of times a day now.  The temple is so similar to the Boise Temple, yet just enough different that we do get turned around sometimes.  We are enjoying our service here and look forward to a full week of service this coming week.  We send our love to all.  We pray that your New Year has begun with health and happiness.  Feliz Anos.  Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad, Lon and Nancy, Elder and Sister Thompson