Day 1 - Saturday

Posted on: 04/14/2018

Author: Willeford, Mrs. Elizabeth

Scott and I are a very blessed to be part of an amazing team of doctors, nurses, and support staff heading to Retalhuleu in Guatemala. We are a team of about 50 and have two general surgeons that will be predominately serving the community with gallbladder and hernia surgeries, and two OBGYNs.  All the emergency and major surgeries take place in the hospital in Antigua, but the non-emergencies get sent to Retalhuleu where we will be later today.


We spent the night in Dallas and had a very early alarm to get to the airport for 6 a.m. and a flight to Guatemala City at 8:40 a.m.  After a technical delay and a plane change we were finally taking off around 10:30 a.m.


Once we got feet on Guatemalan soil after a three hour flight, it took a little while to separate out the teams, get through immigration and customs, and collect our bags. We were met by local staff members from Faith In Practice and loaded onto two very nice coaches for a 4.5 hour drive to our final destination, escorted by private security and a police vehicle.  Mr. G tells me that most of the trouble seems to occur in Guatemala City, but they want to make sure we are kept safe at all times. The traffic was really bad and it took us a full hour to get out of the city, but apparently this is perfectly normal and that actually we were making quite good time.


After a rest stop around the 2.5 hour mark in pouring rain, and rejuvenated with chocolate dipped bananas and fresh coconut milk, we continued the very bumpy journey to Retalhuleu.  The roads have many large potholes and I was so impressed by the talents of our bus driver who managed to avoid all the bad ones, in the heavy afternoon downpour.


Sunset set is 6:17 p.m. and we arrived at the amazing Hostel de San Martin around 7 p.m. with a much quieter bus then when we first started. It’s been a long day of travelling and we were very thankful to finally get our bags into our room and head downstairs for dinner to have some time to get to know our team members.


We finally get back to our rooms exhausted, and fall asleep to the sounds of peacocks roosting in the trees. I’m so looking tforward o seeing them and the beautiful grounds in the morning light!