Day 5 - Wednesday

Posted on: 04/18/2018

Author: Willeford, Mrs. Elizabeth

Another early start for us with devotional and coffee at 6am.

Lynette’s message today was on a Life of Faith; we can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength.

Let’s have the faith for him to lead us in our decisions, our dreams, our forgiveness of others. Faith that we are making a difference even if we can’t see it, that our prayers are being heard even if we don’t see the answer.

He’s got your life and you can trust Him with it.


We started off the day again following the doctors around on their ward visits. Sweet Lorenzo is doing fantastically well after his hernia surgery yesterday and got the green light to go home today. You should see how the patients smile when you tell them that!

Candido is recovering well and needs probably one more day which is still incredible after the massive surgery he had on Monday.

Carlos is already sitting up and feeling so much better. His surgery was a bit more complicated than initially expected; his gall bladder was in bad shape and was removed, and his previous hernia procedure had gauze in all the wrong places (you will need to ask Dr. Whitehead for the explanation of that) and it was complicated to remove and fix, but he should also be able to go home tomorrow.


The patients that go home each day were each given a bag of toiletries which have been donated and put together by some ladies in San Angelo. It’s hard to know who to thank, but if you’re reading this you know who you are and it was so appreciated by everyone!


The family of one of Dr Burkett’s patients called him aside - actually more like waited for him and pounced on him - and handed him a gift out of gratitude for helping their daughter.  

These people are adorable and I’m so determined to learn Spanish so that I can say more than "buenos dias" and "mucho gusto" the next time we come here.


As the doctors started their first surgeries I wandered over to the wheelchair area.

Elfego is about 27-years-old and was born with an undiagnosed condition. His mother was abused by her ex-husband who drank and from her perspective she said that the baby got scared in the womb which was why he was born with the abnormalities.


Dr. Pizzola suspects brain damage in the womb because the left side of Elfego’s body has some feeling and movement. He lives at home with his mother and she’s worried because he’s started having some seizures.

With the help of the wheelchair team he got a specially modified chair with extra head and back support, and will be able to get up and out of bed while he listens to the radio which he loves to do.


Today was hard for me in the wheelchair area. I think I’m probably tired, but after hearing Elfego’s story I felt I needed to get out and visit the kids at the daycare for some playfulness and smiles.

The kids get a break around 10 am and a few of us went over there to be silly with them for a bit and sing some nursery rhymes and give out dresses. Such precious, animated songs, and they loved their new outfits!


The daycare supports the local village.  We learned the site of the hospital and daycare used to be a coffee plantation and the idea was that the coffee would help to supplement the income of the hospital.


Here in Retalhuleu we are at about 2,000 feet above sea level. The agriculture of the area is predominately coffee, bananas and rubber. Closer to the coast are the sugarcane plantations, and above us in the mountains they grow macadamia nuts.


Lunch today was really good; chicken and rice and perulero or wiskil otherwise known as “air squash” as it grows on a tree. It looks like a pear and tastes like zucchini! The produce here is amazing and so fresh, and its been fun trying new things, although Scott tried a mystery fruit yesterday and had to take a benedryl after his tongue and lips started tingling.


Fun Fact:

The sewer systems here in Guatemala don’t work quite the same as in the U.S., and we were asked on the first day to please use the trash cans provided to dispose of the toilet paper, not to flush it. For all numbers. Gracious.


The lights finally came on for the wheelchair team at 4:59 pm and they finished up about 10mins later with 41 wheelchairs assembled and given out which is a record in one day.


The afternoon was busy for the general surgeons with 10 procedures each, and the PACU team only wrapped up at 5:40 pm.


We all boarded the final big bus at 6 pm and headed back to the hotel. The early mornings and hard work is defintely taking its toll on everyone today; lots of tired faces on the ride home but I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone and say it's all completely worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat.