Tag Archives: medical missions

Now Available in Guatemala!

Exciting news! Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is now available in Guatemala thanks to Casa del Alfarero (Potter’s House) in zona 3, Guatemala City! Even better, proceeds of each book purchased through Potter’s House will support their health program. For contact information or to learn more about the work at Potter’s House, visit their “Contact Us” page: http://pottershouse.org.gt/contact-us/ . Glossary basket pic

 

Don’t live in or visit Guatemala? Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is still available on Amazon.)

¡Felicidades a Guatemala!

Congratulations to Guatemala on her new president-elect Jimmy Morales! We hope and pray that Jimmy Morales will be a true servant-leader for his country. May truth and justice prevail under his leadership, and may Guatemala flourish in the years ahead.

In honor of the election held this past Sunday, we are offering another “BOGO” (Buy One, Get One) sale on Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. For each copy you purchase (up to 10 copies) between now and midnight on Monday, November 2, you will receive another copy FREE! This is a perfect offer for organizations or teams working in Guatemala. No coupon code required, so make your purchase today!

“What’s a Masako?”: A Moment in the Life of a Missionary Doctor

"What's a Masako?"

Part of being a missionary doctor is that lots of people want to get to know you. Maybe they’ve heard good things about you. Maybe they just want to check you out before they need your skills. Maybe they know you’re going to need friends. Whatever the reason, you’ll probably get invited to a host of social events.

Of course, when you’re still adjusting to the country where you’re serving, there’s a lot to learn: new words, new customs, new foods, new locations, new faces and new names. Mix all of that together with a social event, and you might get a story like this…

A young missionary doctor in Guatemala was filling up his plate at a party when his wife came up behind him. We don’t know exactly what she said, but, we do know that the doctor replied without looking around. “What’s a mah-sah-koh?”

Then he turned…and realized what a “mah-sah-koh” was or, rather, who is was: the  Japanese animal-rescue worker! Thankfully, she was more than gracious and even became a friend.

But, ah, yes, the embarrassment of being the new guy on the block! Do you have a story of a misunderstood new word? What about tips for graciously mending cross-cultural miscommunications?

Here at Understanding the Guatemalan Patient we can’t really help you with Japanese names, but we do hope to save you potential embarrassment when it comes to Spanish/Mayan communication. Check out some of our archived “Word(s) of the Week” posts to get a flavor of the terms found in the book!

A Taste from Guatemala: So what makes an avocado smoothie awesome?

Avocado Smoothie pic

It all started at Las Puertas, a restaurant once located on the island of Flores in Lake Petén Itza. There they served the best smoothies – or licuados as the menu called them – in town. Along with traditional licuado flavors like melón, they offered a more exotic choice: aguacate! You read that right…avocado it was! Thanks to a Japanese friend who was living in Guatemala, this smoothie became a new favorite.

Not convinced that an avocado smoothie could be good? The idea may make American taste buds tremble, but an adventurous person like yourself will surely give it a try!

Here’s the recipe.

Awesome Avocado Smoothie

Yields: 1 generous serving

Add all of the following ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!                 

10-12 ice cubes

1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (almond milk if you prefer)

3 slices from 1/2 of an avocado

1 teaspoon vanilla

sweetener (to taste)

Everyone has their own “sweet scale”. Do what you like, but you may find that you enjoy this treat without any sweetener, especially if you have more European tastes. It’s all thanks to the final ingredient, which is…

1 teaspoon lime juice

Yes, the sweet tang of lime makes this licuado awesome! Without knowing about the lime, this smoothie would be…not the same.

Sometimes it’s like that with words, isn’t it? Knowing just the right word can really flavor up a conversation. That’s what Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is here for – to help you take your conversations with Guatemalans from adequate to awesome.

If you already own a copy, don’t forget to send us your feedback via the contact us page or post a review on Amazon. We’d love to hear from you! And for all of you spunky smoothie sippers, let us know your thoughts on the licuado de aguacate as well!

On a Medical Mission Team: Understanding Mayan Spanish Speakers

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You’ve dreamed of this day. You’ve studied and saved for this day. Now here it is: your first day seeing patients with a medical mission team in Guatemala.

The still-cool morning breezes waft through the metal screens over the windows of the concrete building. You smile at your first patient, a man from the campo who looks like he has labored long throughout his life, and begin a conversation. Since you’ve studied Spanish for several years now, your team decided you don’t need one of the in-demand interpreters as much as other team members, so you’re on your own for this conversation. Shouldn’t be hard, right?

Then your patient says, “Me duele mi canilla.” 

Your optimistic thoughts screech to a halt. Canilla? You’ve never heard that word! So much for those years of studying. The way he set his worn hand on his leg makes you think there’s some connection, but you want to know…and you don’t want your ignorance to make him feel uncomfortable.

You calmly look around. No interpreters nearby.

Then you remember that little blue book your dad gave you when he dropped you off at the airport. “Might come in handy,” he said.

You pull it out of the bag on the table next to you. It’s a glossary. Where are the “c” words? Oh, yay, there it is! 

canilla – leg, lower leg

You look your patient in the eye with a smile and say, “¿Se duele su canilla?” You set your hand on your leg like he had. “¿Cómo su pierna?

¡Sí!” He nods his head vigorously. “Me duele mi canilla.”

Oh, good! Now you can continue with your consultation.

Later you get a chance to ask one of the translators about canilla. He laughs. “Canilla is like an animal’s leg,” he says. “People, especially those who grew up speaking a Mayan language and speak Spanish as a second language, use it for a person’s leg, too.”

Ah, now you understand even better. And maybe tonight you’ll look through more of those words from that Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. It seems like it really might come in handy.

Gearing up for a medical mission trip to Guatemala or know someone who is? Maybe you’ll want your own copy of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. Check it out on Amazon today!