The Clinica Maxeña is a mission of the Diocese of Helena, Montana and Sheila has been part of it almost from the beginning, though she had to leave for many years during Guatemala's Civil War. Along with Father Kevin, who joined the mission this year, and BVM Sisters Mary and Anna (alas, I don't have their last names!) Sheila forms a small North American community in this very Quiche Mayan community. Unlike Suchitoto, this is a town where you don't see any foreigners outside the Clinica group and visitors like Maria del Carmen and me.
Today I toured a very beautiful and very special part of the Clinica Maxeña, the natural medicine garden. There were some familiar plants - oregano, mint, marigold - but others that seemed fantastic, like this plant with long leaf blades and tiny flowers along the sides of the blades. It's good for taming parasites, I was told.
Another plant with broad, flat leaves thrust up a group of delicate bell flowers (I didn't learn its purpose):
Indeed, an enchanted garden. I hope those who work with the traditional medicines made from these plants will be able to keep the knowledge and interest alive among the people of Santo Tomas.