“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
At morning devotional we discussed supporting each other as a team by taking the time to visit with other members of our group. We were challenged to take time out of our day to visit with at least one other team member that was not working in the same area of the hospital as us! This will help us to build support and trust among our group! We also talked about how important it is to be educated on the country we are working in. We learned that 60% of the Guatemalan population lives below the poverty line, 23% in extreme poverty. Of this group, the indigenous population is the largest affected. This poverty, and lack of ability for communities to provide for themselves, is the root of many of the problems Guatemalans face, and the reason we are here! After this, we headed to the hospital for the second day of seeing patients.
Our patient stories today come from the wheelchair clinic. The wheelchair team works in a small building behind the hospital. With no air conditioning, they assemble wheelchairs, see patients, and fit them to a chair according to their size and problem. Each chair takes about 30 minutes to put together and working with each patient can be difficult as they are often heavy and many are completely non-mobile. Some of the patients fitted today included a 22-year-old patient with spina bifida who had no use of his lower extremity. An 80-year-old man with one of his legs amputated above the knee, who lived alone with no one to help care for him. He moved only using crutches until today when he was given a wheelchair. The team also took his treatment a step further and refurbished his crutches he had been using for years! They saw a elderly man, who lives with his daughter and grandchildren, with arthritis and has difficulty walking. While his daughter and oldest grandchildren are at work and school, the man is taken care of by his youngest grandchildren, who are left with the tasks of moving him, cleaning him, and taking him to the restroom - a difficult job for anyone, yet alone young children. Today, he was given a wheelchair that will improve their ability to take care of him. With all of this, patients continually prayed over the team as they received their wheelchairs, giving thanks and blessings. Overall, today was an amazing day to see our team helping change and improve the lives of many people!
Apart from our work at the hospital, the team has enjoyed getting to know one another and hearing each others stories. With such a diverse group of people, there has been no shortage of conversation! The weather this week has been hot and humid! In the mornings and evenings the temperature drops to between 60 F and 70 F and gets up to 90 F during the day. We have had two instances of light rain. The food has consisted of a lot of rice and beans! Actually, beans are served with almost every meal here, including breakfast! We also have been served chicken, beef, and fish! At the hospital, every afternoon they serve fresh guacamole and homemade tortilla chips - amazing! The chefs also bake sugar cookies that everyone enjoys!