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   January 27, 2003
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Hello Everybody,

I am starting this update with the notion that we are a little disappointed in our family and friends. We got a lot of encouraging emails about our clinic, saying that it looks really pretty and so nice...

Unfortunately, that was not our clinic. The pictures on the previous update were pictures taken during the volunteer work we started doing (every other) Saturday! Marco Antonio, a Guatemalan who has helped us out a lot, is a missionary to the little village (or "pueblo", as the Guatemalans call it) of San Louis el <??> (I don't know the exact name). San Louis el <??> consists of about 100 families, and lies just about 25 minutes north of Antigua. The people there are fairly poor, and a lot of them can't afford regular health care. 

One of the sad things about this little pueblo is their trash problem. Guatemala till this day has not found a good solution to deal with standard household garbage. They tell the locals to find a solution, and often block trash from being transported outside the village. The result is a beautiful hillside scenery with a nice creek totally destroyed by rubbish. Everywhere you look you see trash. Especially the local creek has suffered under this. According to Marco the creek was still crystal clean 20 years ago. However, now it is just a dark stinking stream of water. We might show some pictures on our next update.

Now to our real clinic. The picture below was taken on Mike's last day in Antigua, in front of our clinic.


The picture to the right shows the street of our clinic. The purple arrow points toward our clinic, the first yellow building on the left. As you can tell our street heads right toward volcano Agua. This fact is very helpful if you are new in Antigua and have more of a tendency to get lost... Across from our clinic is a convent, we have yet to look inside. Next to the convent is La Posada del Angel. This is a bed and break fast that was voted into the list of "10 Most Intimate Bed and Breakfast's in the World". Who would have thought?


The clinic itself is very simple but pretty. We have an open adjusting room, with two tables. One thuli with full drops and one simple portable adjusting table. The reception area consists of plastic chairs (which will soon be replaced by wooden ones!), a desk and a table with files on it. 

Behind our adjusting room we have a little courtyard. This weekend we undertook a big prettyfication project, since we are planning on using the area later. I would love to show you the pictures, but I just overwrote the most important picture by mistake. I'll make sure you get to see this later.

And now the long awaited pictures of our apartment: it will be a guided tour of only the outside. The inside is almost finished, but we are still waiting on some furniture that was promised to us by our land lord. So we decided to save those pictures for later. The first picture is taken from the street that our apartment is on. The apartment is behind a house, very appropriately called "Las Rosas". It is a beautiful house, with a courtyard full of roses. In the picture I am standing in front of the door that we use as our entry way, and their driveway. 


The picture next to it shows the long driveway. The motto of our landlord seems to be "the more green the better", and there are plants everywhere. Everywhere. Even on the steps to our apartment (picture below), which they cannot see from their house.

On a side note: we really like our landlords. In the last week they have invited us over twice already, shared a nice bottle of wine once and met their medical doctor friends from Guatemala City the other time. (The landlord himself is an MD too.) She is a baker, and it is just a pleasure (and very bad temptation) to walk by her kitchen in which she only produces pastries. 

The driveway is guarded by two ferocious dogs (don't ask me what type, but they're big), and backed up by two more of the same dogs in the yard. We took a picture of them on active duty :).



There, we finally arrived in front of our apartment. As you can see, it is above a carport, which normally houses 3 cars. Our apartment is quite big, and as you by now can see, even safer than big. We have a nice big kitchen, a living/dining room, a bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom even has a real shower! Unfortunately we just ran out of gas, so the water would normally be warm, just not today. And yesterday. This is not Dallas, so no gas runs on Sunday. Even if two poor Americans are not able to cook on their gas stove or take a warm shower.

Feel free to drop us a line, we miss you!

Love, Annette and Nathan