Tuesday, December 30, 2008



It was one of those days when the sun was beating down with all its might. I walked to the store (which is practically next door) to buy a coke but ended up taking more than 30 minutes. There was a sweet 67 year old lady ahead of me. She would tell the 10 year old behind the counter what she wanted and Rocio would get it – item by item. As I waited I struck up a conversation. The lady had walked 2 hours to San Francisco just to buy a few things. She loaded up 5kilo of sugar in her burlap sack along with 6 bottle of whisky, a 5 kilo sack of rice, a couple boxes of yerba, a 2 liter bottle of honey, and a few other odds and ends. She put the sack on her head and prepared to walk the 2 hours home. I said to her that I was surprised that she couldn’t get any of that stuff in the town where she lives. She said, “I can buy it there, but it is cheaper here.”

co 2008 Amy McKissick

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Our burnt roof

The finished product...

December 26, 2008

We had quite an eventful Christmas Eve! About 8:00pm we had our annual family fire cracker show. Jeff is a big kid when it comes to fire cracker fun. He’s always looking for new things to blow up or how to maximize the noise. The kids love it, except for Micah. He wanted to be held inside the house. He still tensed up every time; held his hands over his ears, squeezed his eyes shut, and shouted, “Nooooo!” When sparklers were brought out though, he did not want to be left out. He was right in the mix, waiting to get his stick lit. Even after we were done, the kids were riled up that they ran around outside for the next half hour.

At 9:30 I holler to Ryan to come inside for the movie (our Christmas Eve tradition is to watch a new movie and stay awake till midnight). As Ryan rounded the corner to the kitchen he began yelling, “Fire! Fire!” I run outside and see a foot high flame on our thatched roofed patio! In the commotion of getting outside, Jeff broke his finger on the door – ouch! While I untangled the hose and attached it to the spigot, Jeff began throwing buckets of water in the air hoping to reach the flame. It was useless. The roof is so tall that neither the buckets of water nor the hose could reach. It was scary at first because we couldn’t see how much of the roof was affected. Neighbors rushed over with buckets. Jeff climbed a tree to get a better view and began spraying the hose on to the roof from up there. Once the flames were out we relaxed. For 45 minutes he sprayed the roof but the smoke seemed to be getting worse. Then we realized why……

As the kids and I were staring at the roof, we saw sparks coming throughthe underside. The thatch is so compact that even though Jeff was dousing it with water, the water was reaching only the top layer. So, Jeff and I stood on a table and began squirting the water directly at the sparks from underneath. We got drenched in the process (it was the first time I had been cold in months!). I held the hose and Jeff held the flashing light in one hand and the rake in the other, poking holes in the thatch. We were practically blind from water messing up our contacts. Jeff even left the scene to change into glasses but soon realized that was far worse, so he left again to put his contacts back in. The frustrating part was that when we put any pressure on the hose end, the connections popped off leaving us with no water at all. The kids were troupers. Ginny and Joshua physically held the hose onto the spigot. Water was praying everywhere and they were soaked. At one point Ginny began to whimper, but once she saw that we all were wet, she chilled. Ryan’s job was to hold the two hoses together because the connector was not doing its job. It was difficult and it took a lot of strength. Unfortunately he began to get attacked by ants. He began crying and Jeff had to spray him with water (his legs look horrible today)! We did that for 45 minutes but could not stop the sparks.

It was time to call in back-up. We called Tony, our team mate, who rushed over with his high pressure hose adapter and ladder (the kids were glad to be relived from their hose duty). He and Jeff dowsed the roof from on top again. Tony climbed on the roof and began clipping wires, throwing bundles of straw to the ground. It was the only way to put out the fire. At midnight - more than two hours since we first saw the flames – we were finally able to sit down and relax. And of course the kids immediately asked, “Now can we watch a movie?”

We sat on our patio looking up at the stars through the big whole in our roof and found several things to be thankful for….yesterday’s rain and a windless night tonight. We were thankful we hadn’t started watching the movie. We were thankful that it started on the best possible spot – the side - for Ryan to see it and in order to reach it. We were thankful our teammates were home and that we were all safe.

Christmas Day the kids slept in till 9:00 and we open stocking as soon as they got up. Thanks to both sets of grandparents the kids were thrilled with their treasures. We ate chocolate crepes for breakfast and spent the rest of the day with our team mates, The Floyds. We sipped terere under their big shade tree and visited until lunch. We ate duck (that we had killed) and turkey (that they had killed), stuffing (box sent by Jeff’s parents) and cranberry sauce (from the Schmidt’s).
After lunch the guys cranked ice cream, Jean I cleaned up, and the kids ran around with popsicles in hand. Mid-afternoon the kids dug into the gingerbread houses (we cannot get ginger here so it was gingerbread without ginger) and the adults drank coffee ice cream punch. I made Reece Peanut Butter Cups. They were good but very messy (the chocolate could not stand the Paraguay summer heat).
Tony got out his guitar and Jeff his piano and we sang carols. When it got dark we shot rocket balloons (thanks Cox family) and played with silly string (thanks Floyd’s church). It was a fun day.

Christmas lunch with the Floyd family

co 2008 Amy McKissick

Friday, December 26, 2008


Christmas Eve 2008

Once again Christmas has snuck up on me. It is still 100 degrees outside and we are very hot and sticky. The electricity and water went out last night and are still out this morning. Patients have come throughout the day needing medical attention and Jeff sat down this afternoon to prepare for Sunday’s lesson - ministry continues. Where we live, we don’t see lights on houses, Christmas trees in windows, or hear Christmas carols. The stores don’t stock anything extra, people don’t dress festive and there aren’t any pre-Christmas parties. In a way, today feels like every other day….However, the kids have a Christmas tree in their room and our stockings have been hung with care on the mantel. My kids have been counting down till Christmas morning.

Paraguayans celebrate on the 24th when extended family gathers for supper. They cook all their traditional foods plus cletico (a fermented fruit drink). I asked neighbor girls if they exchanged presents on Christmas and they looked at me like I was nuts. Can you imagine Christmas without gifts? Paraguayans stay up and ring in Christmas Day with fire crackers. Christmas morning is one of the only days Paraguayans deem acceptable to sleep in.

This will be our fourth Christmas in Paraguay and I am still trying to get use to a simpler holiday season. I miss a real Christmas tree and my ornaments for childhood. I miss eggnog (I made it but it didn’t tastes quite the same) and sipping hot chocolate to the glow of Christmas lights. I miss family and friends and the fellowship that this time of years brings. Living here, however, I do not miss the pressure to spend money on gifts and house decorations. I enjoy being with my family instead of staying super busy with parties, baking, and travel. Christmas time in the states is at times overwhelming.

So what do we do in rural Paraguay to celebrate? Well, this morning, we killed a duck (for lunch tomorrow) and made Christmas cookies (both took all morning). This afternoon we delivered the decorated sugar cookies to a few families, visited a bit, and drank terere. Jeff is preparing to grill pork and potatoes for dinner. We will watch a new movie and stay up till midnight (the kids LOVE that tradition). At the end of Christmas Eve, we will join in the fun of setting off firecrackers. Tomorrow we will open our stockings (we don’t do under the tree gifts), have a crepe breakfast (it was a unanimous vote from the kids) and then spend the day with our team mates (they killed a turkey for lunch). We will sip terere, watch the kids swim, and eat watermelon. Tony will get out his guitar and Jeff his piano. We will sing to Jesus (in English!) and praise him for the incredible sacrifice he made by donning human flesh and allowing himself to be place in a manger.

I better go…it is 7:00 and Jeff has found the fire crackers. He has already blown up a tomato and an egg and is asking if we have any watermelon…..

Kids watching lunch being killed

Plucking Christmas lunch

decorating cookies

Eating the final product

Water balloon bomb

co 2008 Amy McKissick

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Season For Everything

Suture Stories
Last year, for about 6 months, Jeff sewed countless arms and legs (mostly men) and then he didn’t have another deep laceration case for several months…until now. We realize that machete and shovel wounds are more likely to take place in the spring and summer when people are clearing their field.

Our neighbor was gorged in the testicles by a cow. He was very blessed because his skin/sack was split a few inches but his “jewels” weren’t even touched! Ryan who has just finished reading Old Yeller said, “Maybe the cow had rabies.” Ginny said, “I hope it wasn’t Friend Cow.” Friend Cow is a cow that comes by the house every day around 5:00 to eat from our scraps bucket.

A lady needed stitches on her hand. Her boyfriend had gotten angry and stabbed her in the hand with scissors.

A three year old had half his big toe cut off by a shovel. The flesh and nail were gone and the bone was sticking out. The parents had wrapped a burnt towel around the toe. Jeff had to numb the toe in order to pick the towel pieces out and clean the toe. The poor kid howled the entire time. Jeff advised them to go to Caazapá and see a surgeon who might be able to do a skin graft. They did not go.

It is also the season for snakes as the men clear their land. At the beginning of the week, a man waited patiently to see Jeff. Finally at 5:00 it was his turn. He had been bitten by a snake. He killed it and brought it for us to see. It was black and about 4 feet long. Gross! Jeff’s Boy Scout days paid off because he was able to recognize it as non-poisonous, plus the man wasn’t having any symptoms of a reaction. The man just wanted to be sure because last year he was bitten by a poisonous snake and spent a week in the hospital. That same week Jeff had two others come with snake bites which got Jeff thinking that he needed to bone up on his venomous snake knowledge. Word got out that he was collecting (dead) snakes to compose a photo file. A teacher at the school brought a poisonous 2 feet long mboi chumbe (coral snake). In North America the “red and yellow (touching stripes), kill a fellow” and “red and black, venom lack” would apply but not for South American snacks.

A lady came who lives 30 minutes from us had been bitten on the thigh by a venomous snake. Jeff immediately sent someone to find her a ride to Caazapa (45 minutes away) because we don’t have any anti-venom here. The site was already read and swollen and the lady was vomiting and turning pale. We heard yesterday that she was ok and had to spend two days in the hospital. The anti-venom is expensive but it saved her life!

On The Road

Just as we sat down to eat Ginny’s birthday dinner, a truck drove up followed by many spectators. A drunk policeman in uniform was going too fast on his motorcycle and had a one man crash. His face was pretty torn up, missing teeth, swollen eye, etc. Jeff thought he had a couple facial fractures and sent him to Caazapa.

Jeff saw an 8 year old boy who was just ran over by a tractor trailer. He was alive but had a huge hematoma over his right lower abdomen/ hip / femur and is urinating blood. Jeff quickly sent him away to the nearest surgeon (traveling on motorcycle with 3 people will take 1 1/2 hours).

Jeff telling a Bible story on our front porch before he sees the sick

co 2008 Amy McKissick

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Encuentro Sunday

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today was a beautiful day for an outdoor church service. About 50 of us gathered at Eginio’s field this morning. The ladies began chopping food for the soup and the men set up tables and chairs. When lunch was cooking over the fire and the mandioca was peeled, we gathered in a big circle as Pedro gave the welcome. We sang several songs and then Pedro began to share about baptism. People here seem to think that they have to have everything perfect in their life before they can be baptized. One man told Jeff, “Once I become baptized I cannot mess up any more because if I do it will make the whole group look bad.” Some else told Jeff that they felt they needed to become a saint before they could be baptized. That public profession of Jesus Christ is enough to alienate them from friends and family. That is the town gossip for the weeks to come. To the believers, baptism is something to be taken very seriously.

Today we had the joy of seeing Nilsa baptized. She is my house help and one of my good friends. She gave her life to Christ two years ago at a youth camp. She had thought about baptism but was waiting to be perfect. Jeff explained the act of baptism in a way that she understood for the first time and she excitedly announced her decision last week. In her testimony she encouraged others to do the same because Jesus changes lives. Because we baptism in the animal's water tough, the believers clean it out early in the morning. When we have to have the baptism early on so the animals can drink again.

Around 11 we gathered again in a circle and listened to the Christmas Story. At noon we quickly ate lunch since it was threatening to storm. The thunder was music to our hears since it hasn’t rained in 5 ½ weeks. It has been super hot and everything it so dry. Our dirt roads pour dust into the house and I have to sweep my floors 3 or 4 times a day. Some of my friends have abandoned their vegetable gardens because the plants cannot grow. Just as we were driving home at 2:00 the sky broke loose with refreshing drops.

Lunch prep

Singing praises to Jesus in Guarani

Our future leaders!

Baptism in a cattle trough

Nilsa's baptism

Fellowship and drinking terere go hand and hand

Lunch time!

co 2008 Amy McKissick

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy 7th Birthday, Ginny!

December 13, 2008

Last night we decorated Ginny’s bed with balloons and birthday posters while she slept (a McKissick tradition). For breakfast this morning Ginny requested chocolate chip waffles with seven candles.

For lunch the Floyds came over and we ate corndogs and watermelon from our garden (again at Ginny’s request).

At 5:30 we had two Paraguayan families over. The kids swam and Jeff grilled pork (Ginny’s favorite meat), sausage, potatoes and onions. Jean helped me make an awesome angle cake that was a big hit.

Jeff ended the birthday bash by lighting some really big/loud firecrackers (he is just like a kid!). It was a very special day!

In the middle of all the birthday preparations, Tyler fell and received his first stitches. It is really nice at times like these to have a doctor in the house.

Special birthday breakfast


Ginny and her angel cake

Happy Birthday Dear Ginny...

Jeff stitching Tyler's head

Tyler's first stitches

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flat Tires

December 10, 2008

Well, we were able to avoid car trouble for a couple weeks at least. Sunday we noticed a flat rear tire after church. Jeff and Tony fixed it with our spare (which has been patched up 8 or so times) but with an hour that tire was also flat. This morning Jeff borrowed Tony’s car and drove 45 minutes to San Juan to buy two new tires. Fortunately we could diagnose the problem this time and it didn’t have to be towed….unfortunately they are very expensive heavy-duty mud tires. Now one is mal-aligned and we'll have to go back to San Juan to get it adjusted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 de Mayo Mobile Clinic

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It was a hot afternoon when Jose arrived at our house to introduce himself. Jose is a pastor in 3 de Mayo (35km from San Francisco) and invited us to his town for a mobile clinic. Jeff brought up the idea at the Sunday leaders meeting and all were in favor of going.

A week and a half later we were heading to 3 de Mayo - Jeff in the mobile clinic carrying two believers and all his equipment and me in the Suburban carrying the kids, Tony (our team mate), Alyssa (a team mate from Villarrica), 3 believers and our lunch.
When we arrived at the health post there were already quite a few patients waiting. The all listened intently as Jeff opened with prayer and began sharing from the Word. In all Jeff saw 35 patients, Alyssa consulted with about 15 people for eye glasses and Gustavo and I stuck about 15 people for lab work. This time the believers didn’t formally stand up and take turns giving their testimony, instead they positioned themselves among those waiting and struck up Spiritual conversations. There were also 4 male believers from 3 de Mayo present who were sharing with the crowd. It was also a great opportunity for our believers to rub elbows with believers in other towns. The all seemed very encouraged by their various conversations.

Jeff sharing the gospel the patients waiting to see him for their physical needs

SIM team mate, Alyssa, fitting people for glasses

Guatavo, a nursing student, drawing blood

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Tree Woes

It is hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner when it is 100 degrees here! Ug! We did put up our pool and Christmas tree on the same day…not too many people can say that. Micah – very much 2 years old – within having the tree up 24 hours has knocked it down, broken numerous (plastic) balls by “bouncing” them on the tile floors, and has pulled the Christmas lights plug from the wall breaking it.

Life is good!

Here is a picture of the two year old mentioned above.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Anatomy 101

Thursday, November 28, 2008

Jeff had the opportunity to do another dissection with the missionary kids when our team mates butchered their pig. Eight 1st-4th graders watched with wide eyes as Jeff dissected the pig’s heart and eye ball. He explained blood flow and circulation and about the valves and chambers. The kids were surprised at how big the heart was (the pig’s heart is about the size of their heart) and that people can use pig valves when their own heart valves don’t work. With the eye, he explained the vision process as he cut into the various layers. The kids thought the “eye jelly” was pretty cool. Jeff also gave a bonus dissection on the brain and lungs. Jeff explained about strokes and when different parts of the brain are affected, different parts of the body can be affected. To this, one boy asked, “What part of the brain is affected when you have a breast stroke.”

All the kids looking on as the dissection begins

Jeff cutting open the pig's heart

Pig's eyeball...gross

As i researched information for the kids i can across these interesting heart and eye facts.

The eye continues to grow, gradually, to a length of about 24-25 millimeters, or about 1 inch, in adulthood. A ping-pong ball is about 1½ inch in diameter, which makes the average adult eyeball about 2/3 the size of a ping-pong ball.
The average person blinks about 12 times a minute. That's 10,080 blinks in a kids day (14 waking hours). That's why when someone says "it happened in the blink of an eye," they mean it happened really fast.

An eagle can see a lot further than a human. It can see a rabbit about 1 mile or 1760 yards away. The average person needs to be about 550 yards away to see the same rabbit. That's why when someone says "you must have eagle eyes," they mean you can see really far.

People who are color blind just can't see things in as many colors as people who have normal vision, and they cannot see certain colors like red, green, and some blues.
It is a common misconception that bats are blind. Almost all bats can see, and their sense of sight and smell is well developed, but these bats don't use their eyes to "see" where they're going. They use sound waves. They make high pitched sounds and then listen for the echoes caused when the sounds bounce off an object. Some bats can fly at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour. Their "radar" must be pretty good to fly that fast at night! Now you know why if someone says "you're as a blind as a bat," they mean you missed something or didn't see it.

Blinking helps to wash tears over our eyeballs. That keeps them clean and moist. If something is about to hit our eye, we will blink automatically.
Our body has some natural protection for our eyes. Our eyelashes help to keep dirt out of our eyes. Our eyebrows are made to keep sweat from running into our eyes.
The study of the iris of the eye is called iridology.
The shark cornea has been used in eye surgery, since its cornea is similar to a human cornea.
The number one cause of blindness in adults in the United States is diabetes.
The eyeball of a human weighs approximately 28 grams.
The eye of a human can distinguish 500 shades of the gray.
The cornea is the only living tissue in the human body that does not contain any blood vessels.
Sailors once thought that wearing a gold earring would improve their eyesight.
Research has indicated that a tie that is on too tight cam increase the risk of glaucoma in men.
People generally read 25% slower from a computer screen compared to paper.
Men are able to read fine print better than women.

Blood flow throughout the human body is greatest during systole. However, blood flow in the heart is greatest during diastole. When systole occurs the heart contracts, causing the coronory arteries to constrict and reduce blood flow through the heart while increasing it throughout the rest of the body. The opposite occurs during diastole.
Your heart beats: 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, and 2.5 billion times a lifetime (on average)
Your heart is approximately the same size as your fist and weighs less than a pound.
Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as you can with your fist. This is approximately the same amount of force your heart uses every time it pumps blood throughout your body.
In an average lifetime, the heart pumps 1 million barrels of blood.
The aorta artery is the largest artery in the body with a diameter the size of a garden hose, and yet it takes 10 capillaries to equal one human hair in thickness.
The sounds made by your heart when it beats are the sounds of the heart valves opening and closing.
Many people place their hand over the left side of their chest thinking it is the actual location of their heart. In actuality, the heart is in the center of your chest. However, it beats stronger on the left side of your chest because it is slightly tilted to the left, and it taps agianst your chest there.
When the ancient Egyptians would prepare a body for burial, the heart was the only organ that they would leave in the body. They believed it had powers necessary for entering the afterlife.
The average adult heart beats 72 times per minute at rest, but it can beat 200 times per minute during exercise.
Enough power is generated in the heart in one day to drive a car 20 miles.
Your heart pumps 9 pints of blood per minute.
The heart is the hardest working muscle in your body.
Your heart pumps 1,500 gallons of blood every day.
Women hearts beat faster than men.
The human heart can create enough pressure that it could squirt blood at a distance of thirty feet.
The first open heart surgery was performed in 1893.
The right lung of a human is larger than the left one. This is because of the space and placement of the heart.
In a lifetime, the heart pumps about one million barrels of blood.
In 1967, the first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa.
Most heart attacks occur between the hours of 8 and 9 AM.
At one time it was thought that the heart controlled a person's emotions.

A pig heart is very similar to the human heart in anatomy, size and function. Its availability in most areas of the world, along with the similarities to the human heart, make pig heart tissue ideal for transplant into humans.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


December 1-3, 2009

Each year our mission team has a three day working/business retreat in December. The reason it is a working retreat is because we utilize that time together to meet as committees (housing, social, financial, MK education, and language and orientation). Each of us are required to be on at least one committee. It helps our team run smooth when we plan together for the following year, make changes and always try to improve what we are currently doing.

In between meetings we do find time to enjoy praise and worship (from our muscaly gifted team mates) and hear God's word (Bill Schmidt and his wife came from the US to minister to us in this way). We also had time to swim which is the highlight of the kids.

As tradition, the kids put on a simple Christmas play. This year they sang a few songs and memorized sections of a Christmas story. Ryan's friends being typical 8 and 9 year olds gave us a rock concert to the tune of Winter Wonderland by Stryper. It brought many laughs.

Ryan playing the drums in a Christmas rock song he and his friends did

Tyler had a blast in the pool

Micah hanging pool side

Beating the Heat

How many kids can you fit in a tub sized pool?

A lot.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Today we had our annual Thanksgiving reunion at our team mates house. This year we had 45 of our missionary family there (only a couple weren’t able to make it). It is always such blessed time of fellowship and a lot of food. Since turkey is hard to find, each year the Floyds kill one of their own turkeys for the occasion.

Visiting with team mates

Visiting with team mates

Always a lot of food when we get together

Micah and Tyler eating turkey

Ginny, Joshua and Ryan enjoying Thanksgiving lunch

For us in the Southern Hemisphere, Thanksgiving and Christmas are associated with the taste of watermelon. Here Micah and his buddy, Caleb enjoy a mid-afternoon snack.

I grew up without extended family or siblings and I envied those who went to family reunions or stayed with grandparents. In my adult years it made me sad to think that my kids wouldn’t have cousins to be silly with. But being here in Paraguay, God has given me all that I longed for and more. It is hard to put into words exactly what my team mates mean to me and unless you have visited us in Paraguay and have seen firsthand who I work with, I cannot expect you to understand the quality of my closest friends.

SIM Paraguay at the moment is made up of 14 family units who work together better than what I imagine blood family could. We pray for each other regularly and talk about the things God is doing in our lives. We cherish time together because sometimes those SIM family reunions are few and far between. Since we don’t live too close together we spend the night at each others’ homes frequently or we share meals as we pass through. God has gifted these men and women in incredible unique ways.

Before we left the states I hoped for a team with lots of young children. Well I got that - as of today we have 20 kids 9 years and under, plus 4 teens. My children count every one of those kids as their best friends and they thank God for them at night. My kids are never happier than when they are together with teammates. I could not ask for better friends for my children to hang out with. My kids have aunts and uncles and many cousins whom they are very silly with. I have relationships with some of my teammates that I think borders on a sister relationship. I am so incredibly thankful!

Pictures of my incredible team mates

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Piques and Children

Wednesday September 10, 2008

I have mentioned before about piques – a flea that burrows under the skin, lays eggs that hatch. The newly hatched piques burrow in the same wound, lay eggs that hatch and…..the cycle continues creating a deeper and larger wound. We get them all the time. They first show as a small black dot under the skin. In the next stage you can see a white bubble surrounding the dot. The infected area is tender and you can feel them burrowing (especially at night when you lay down in bed). If caught early they are easy to remove, just lance the spot and pull out the egg sack.
Last week in the clinic Jeff saw a pregnant 13 year old and her three siblings (2, 4 and 5 years of age) who had hundreds of piques on their feet. Jeff picked countless piques out of the heel of the 13 year old, leaving a raw area 3 inches wide. The clinic cleaning lady who tediously worked on the feet of the children was in tears over the neglect of these kids.

Monday Jeff and I went to follow up with this family. They live in a poor area of town and have no water or electricity. The three small roomed “house” is bare. I saw no furniture, no toys, and no clothes. Ursulina, the 13 year old is extremely shy. She never looked us in the eyes, or invited us in or answered when we asked her questions. The kids huddled in the shadows of a corner, staring at us and giggling among themselves. Ursulina has only a 3rd grade education and cannot read. She had to drop out of school in order to care for her brother and sisters while the mom works.

The kids feet were swollen, caked with brown dirt and were covered with black, necrotic-looking skin. The 2 year old walked on his heels and the 4 year old walked on the side of her feet due to the soreness caused by the piques. Jeff sprayed the yard for piques and I changed the dressing on Ursulina’s heel (actually she had already taken her dressing off and the wound was covered with dirt!)

As we left the house I was in tears. I wanted to come back when the mother was there and see what kind of a person could allow her children to suffer like that. Everyone around here knows about piques and how to take them out. I went home and vented to my house help, Nilsa. It turns out that she knows the family. The mother is a maid for her boyfriend’s mother. Nilsa agreed that since the mother was done with work by 2pm, there should be no reason for the neglect she was showing. The mother has 3 other children who live with a relative outside of town. Nilsa mentioned that the mother is a bit “slow”.

It brings tears to my eyes even now to think that Nilsa went yesterday on her own accord and spend 2 ½ hours picking piques out of the kids feet. Nilsa asked the mother why she doesn’t take care of her kid’s feet. Her only explanation was that Ursulina was the “Senora” now (a derogatory comment probably because Ursulina will soon have a baby of her own) so she can watch the little ones. She also mentioned that the kids cry when she tries to get them out so she stops (Paraguayans do not like to see their kids cry so they give in to them).

Jean and I went today to apply antibiotic cream to the feet and cover them with gauze. We also gave them new shoes and perhaps the first shoes they have ever worn. Remember when the crippled beggar asked Peter and John for money as they were heading into the temple? But they said, “Silver and gold I have none but what I have I give to you.” The man began to jump and praise God. When we gave the 5 year old the shoes she jumped, she ran, she stomped, and all the while her head was down staring at the shoes. It was priceless!

Bandaging pique infected feet

Bandaging pique infected feet

Learning to walk in shoes

A big smile after receiving her new shoes