Sunday, August 3, 2014

Guatemala 2014 Medical Mission Trip

We made it home Sunday after 10 days in Guatemala and now almost a week later we are finally recovered enough that I am sitting down to give a little update.

It was a great way to celebrate 7 years of marriage serving alongside my hubby!  I feel so blessed (even though he is a goober and keeps his sunglasses on his nose for a picture at dusk).

Here is the team.

When you go on any mission trip I think managing expectations is one of the hardest parts.  First of all on a short-term trip you know you are going to see far more need than the help you can bring. Second, at least for me, I usually anticipate that all my "plans" will end up different than I imagined.  In this case though, as this was a medical mission trip, it was hard for me to actually have plans since I don't offer any medical skills and was just planning to be a helper.  But I certainly didn't know what was in store for my heart these 10 days.

Our first two days we spent at Fundaniños an orphanage.  But let me back up.  Before we left for the trip we found out that our accommodations had changed.  Originally we were set to stay and clinic out of the orphanage Fundaniños but due to construction in the guest housing quarters we were relocated to a coffee plantation. This plantation was the vacation home of the founder of the orphanage and profits from the plantation go to the orphanage.  So we were NOT roughing it by any means.  We had spacious beautiful home to stay in and although some things were different from our home (no A/C, all toilet paper must go in a waste basket not the toilet (EVER EVER EVER), no fans (something almost every room in Texas has, and not to drink the tap water) we were in fact spoiled in our accommodations.  The older I get the more I realize just how bad we become at adapting. There was even a pool that we could fill up each evening with fresh hot (heated by the volcano!) springs water.
directly above picture credit: Darby Stewart

At Fundaniños we did a hodge podge of items which included check ups on all the kiddos, landscaping manual labor, and playing with the kids.
So for our first two days we had to make an 1.5 hour drive from where we were staying to Fundaniños. Can't say I was sad about the drive though because it was an amazing way to see the country.  The beauty of the landscape, the poor rural living and the wealthy areas as well. Here are some of the things we saw while driving around.
The pictures of the school buses are actually public transportation people sit on top, pile inside and even hitch a ride on the back when the hills are steep (which you can see in the picture above the bus pictures). Also the last picture is of a home on the lake so you can see the starch difference of wealth and poverty in Guatemala.

On Sunday we went to church and worshiped at our partner church. It was amazing to worship alongside our brothers and sisters that speak a different language.  Most of the songs they sang were familiar to us which was exciting and cool to sing along side them in worship of our Lord. Our amazing interpreters for the week joined us after church. The rest of Sunday was spent running errands in preparation for the clinic.  We gathered supplies and medicines.

The clinic was in a rural village near where we were staying.  We did four days of clinic and the last day we made house calls to people who couldn't make it to the clinic but who we found out about throughout the week. We saw over 500 people in four days that were from five different surrounding towns.
So basically the way the clinic worked was each person that arrived was given a number and waited in chairs outside.  A lady named Ingrid from the village helped us run the doorway and keep everyone organized.  As we were available patients would come in to the triage area (which is where I was stationed) and gave us their basic info along with why they were at the clinic to be seen.  From there they would go to the vitals station to get weight, BP, and pulse before heading to a providers station.  Our medical team was made up of 1 doctor, 2 physician assistants and 1 nurse practitioner, 4 nurses, and 1 EMT. Each provider station had an interpreter who would not only translate the health and medical conversation but they were an integral part of sharing with each person why we were all there in the first place.  They were able to present the gospel and pray for each person who was seen over the 4 days of clinic. 

My heart was broken most of the week constantly reminded that the need for the love and hope of Jesus is great. A burden that we are to make disciples not just converts and a conviction to continue to pray for everyone that heard the gospel.  Praying that the Holy Spirit would work in hearts, that Truth would reign and that the Good News would spread quickly.  

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