Tuesday, July 26, 2016
God is good, and so very faithful! After a good night’s sleep, and the assistance of some pharmaceuticals, I had awoken feeling a hundred times better. I was well-rested and ready to face the day. It’s a good thing, too, because we were absolutely slammed!
It seems that there is a great deal of political unrest in Guatemala. I did some research into it and discovered that the former president and other high-ranking officials had resigned and were under arrest on charges of corruption and racketeering. The people are angry with their current president as well, as they feel he lacks political commitment and doesn’t put the needs of the people first. All of these problems and more have left Guatemala in a state of desperation with underfunded social programs such as healthcare. Understandably, the people of Guatemala are frustrated, which led to protests and demonstrations, known in Guatemala as “manifestaciones” (manifestations). There were manifestations scheduled to happen in Guatemala City on this day. What this meant to us was traffic like I hadn’t seen since I lived in Southern California! It normally took us 15-20 minutes to get from our hotel to the Planet Kids building where we held the daily clinic, but today it took us over an hour. We didn’t see the actual protests as our driver took us around the outskirts of the city, but we certainly felt the ramifications of it. On a positive note, we did get to enjoy a long, scenic tour of Guatemala City. 🙂
When we got to Planet Kids we were greeted by a line around the corner of the building, as we were quite late, and word had spread about our free clinic. Once again, the day passed by very quickly because of how busy we were.
One rather alarming thing happened that day that had me more than a little concerned. A couple of our translators had fallen ill the previous day. One of them stayed home to recover, but the other returned to work some more. It was discovered that he – and presumably the other, based on the symptoms – had contracted scarlet fever. Knowing that I had worked closely with both of them, and also knowing that I am immunocompromised, I admit I was worried. I prayed and prayed that I would stay healthy, despite everything going on around me and all the illnesses I was exposed to! Most people would (and probably do) consider me crazy to go on a medical missionary trip knowing my health concerns, but I knew God had led me there for a reason and that whatever happened, it would be according to His plan.
Among the patients we saw that day, I recall one itty bitty baby who had been born premature, and at one month old weighed just 4 lbs. The doctor examined her thoroughly and found that, despite her tiny size, she was perfectly healthy! We saw countless patients who were running fevers, had mystery rashes, and were suffering from out-of-control diabetes and high blood pressure. One large family stands out in my mind because each and every member had severe scabies. It reminded me how sad the state of affairs in Guatemala is when a family like this can’t afford to see a doctor or get medication for something as common as scabies. I thank God for the practitioners who so generously gave of their time and talents during this trip.
The old woman I mentioned in my previous post was back again collecting more freebies. Being mindful of her poverty and life circumstances beyond anything I can imagine, I helped her with a smile and a cheerful heart. Praise the Lord for frequent reminders of His grace and love.
By the end of our fourth clinic day we had seen about 800 patients. We were all feeling tired, but thankful for the opportunity!
Just for fun, here’s a selfie I snapped after we closed up the clinic for the day:
After the work was done, we headed to the hotel to rest a bit and then walked over to a nearby restaurant for dinner. The walk to and from dinner that night was definitely one to remember. There was an uneven stretch of sidewalk that was about 18″ wide, and we had to carefully navigate that with cars zooming past within arm’s reach!
I thoroughly enjoyed our group dinner. I had really missed seeing everyone the previous night, so this was a great time of fellowship for me. I loved hearing the stories everyone shared. It was wonderful.
After dinner, we (carefully) made our way back to the hotel. I collapsed into bed and slept very, very well!
To read about our final days, and see an important announcement, click here.