The day at the hospital began as we gathered together with the Guatemalan staff of the Obras. Padre Luis Saldana led us in prayer uniting us all together, reminding us of the joys and sorrows implicit in the important work that is done at the Obras.
The physicians and translators then went to the wards to do rounds, The patients for the day were brought into the pre-op waiting area. It was there that I met Manuela, a 63-year-old woman who had traveled two hours by car to the Obras to have her gallbladder removed. When she was young she lived in Guatemala City. Both of her parents and immediate family passed away, when she was young, so she was on her own most of her life. She met her husband who lived in a neighboring town and had two children. She became diabetic and lost her sight as a result of the disease. As she related her life story to us she often smiled and laughed with us as she waited patiently for her operation to begin.
When her name was called she was led to the operating room by a member of the Obras staff. He walked in front of her holding her hands leading the way for her. Her lack of sight did not deter her confident step, reflecting her strength of character and trust in God and the medical team.
The women recovering on the wards had a welcome diversion when Wendy brought to them tablets loaded with an educational nutrition app that she has been instrumental in developing with Global Nutrition and Empowerment. There are two different programs, one presents information on general nutrition, the other presents information for nutrition in pregnancy. The apps were designed with pictures, so that language would not be an issue. The women enjoyed interacting with the apps and definitely gave a thumbs up to the program.