Sunday, June 22, 2014

Guatemala, part 2

Y'all, please forgive the disjointed-ness of this post.  I am still processing a lot of what I'm thinking and feeling about this past week.

The team just prior to departure

This trip was everything and nothing like I thought it would be.

The team after clinic
The minute we touched down in Guatemala City, I had this overwhelming sense of peace.  I was flooded with memories and a sense of familiarity.  The countryside, the volcanoes, the was as if nothing had changed.

The beautiful countryside

We arrived in Guatemala City around mid-day on Saturday, and quickly met up with our hosts, Pat and Charlie.  They treated us to lunch at Pollo Campero, a culinary must when in Guatemala.  We then journeyed about an hour and a half to our destination, Chimaltenango.  Our host home was absolutely beautiful, situated on about 4 acres on the top of a hill overlooking the village.  Their home "smelled like freedom."  

About half of our medications

The next day, Sunday, was spent organizing medications.  The majority of that time was spent counting and separating pills into individual bags so we could easily hand out the things that we knew we needed a lot of: Tylenol, ibuprofen, and vitamins.  Most of these things were donated to our team by our community at Houston's First.  While their contribution may have seemed small, these medications were the most sought after during our clinics!

The team counting and labeling medications

That afternoon, we had the honor of attending Pat and Charlie's church.  What a wonderful house of worship.  Never in my life have I felt the presence of God so palpably.  Worship with this Guatemalan church was a party!  Their band had two keyboards, two guitars, two drummers, 4 violins, three trumpets, 2 trombones and a flute.  They also had 4 young girls who danced in the front altar during worship.  Although I had no idea what they were saying, it was such a wonderful picture to be able to dance and raise my hands, knowing that God received my praise regardless of the fact that I didn't understand a word.  After the sermon, the leaders of the church prayed over us.  My goodness, what a sweet blessing.  We didn't have the opportunity to be commissioned by our home church, so we were so excited to be prayed over by the church.  Again, I didn't understand what they were saying, but we all felt the presence of God moving.

The nearest volcano, Acatenango

Monday through Wednesday we had three different clinics in three different locations.  In those three days, we saw around 460-470 patients.  Going into the week, the missionaries we were working with estimated that we would see around 300 patients.  We saw a lot of people with aching backs and bodies: a result of a lifetime of manual labor all day, every day.  We saw a lot of people with similar complaints as the United States: upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, abdominal pain, etc.  We saw some complaints that aren't so common in the US, mostly parasites.  I was surprised at how few people had diabetes and high blood pressure.  I suppose limited food due to poverty and manual labor keep the people relatively low risk for cardiac complications.

The team after our last day of clinic

The stark difference between the Guatemalan people we were serving and the American patients we serve at home was their attitude.  The Guatemalans were kind, friendly, humble people who were so excited just to see a doctor.  They were even more excited to receive vitamins, Tylenol, ibuprofen.  Coming from a background in emergency medicine where patients often feign allergies just to get the pain medication of their choice, I was so surprised at how extremely grateful these patients were for such ordinary medications.  The journey to a pharmacy and the cost of medications make even over the counter medications invaluable.

"Las Doctoras"

As I communicated with y'all before I left, the theme of this trip was fishes and loaves.  I'll take a moment to share the math with you, although obviously I can't prove the miraculous.  We took 4000 Advil and 2000 Tylenol.  We separated the Advil into bags of 30 and Tylenol into bags of 15, which makes 266 bags total.  We saw 460+ patients throughout the week, and practically every patient left with a bag of either Advil or Tylenol, or both.  Y'all, would you believe we had medicine left over?  I can't explain the abundance, but everyone received what they needed, with plenty left over.  Fishes and loaves!

One of my favorite places on earth

For those that partnered with me, either prayerfully or financially, I cannot begin to say how thankful I am!

I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me, and I hope to inspire you to find and live your own story.

No comments :

Post a Comment