Day 6 – Last Day
Totals from previous day:
General Med - 197
Pediatrics - 77
Gynecology - 40
Dermatology - 41
Dental 34/extractions - 68
Cervical screening - 41/Biopsy - 1/Cryo - 1
Wheelchairs - 17/Walkers -5/Canes - 6/Crutch - 1
Referrals - 109
Total # patients - 602
Pregnancy tests - 7
Urinalyses - 70
Hemoglobin - 45
BP - 1
Sugar/Glucose - 50
Plus 6-8 Ear washings -times two!
And Prescriptions filled: approximately 602
Grand Total of patients:
This morning felt weird because we weren’t racing briskly in the dark in costumes to the 5:30 a.m. devotional. Blessedly, we started an hour later today.
This is our last morning in "Rehu", (short for Retalhuleu) at our lovely hotel, where peacocks roam freely and you often greet them on the staircases. They call to you from the trees, imagine a loud meow sound, and they even join in the morning songs.
As we prepare to say our goodbyes to one another and to Guatemala, we are reminded that blessings abound. The group shared some of the most meaningful moments and emphasized the magic of working as a team. In the case yesterday, of Iliana, the young woman who had polio, practically every team was involved - from PT/wheelchair to physicians to pharmacy and then our beloved photographer, Josie, ran to get a Polaroid camera to get a photo that the family could take with them. Iliana’s days were not long, and this would likely be the only photograph the family will possess of her.
Pastor Andy talked about how it is not being a doctor or nurse that motivates people to come on this mission - it’s their “faith in practice” - faith in the practice of healing.
It is something to behold.
Josie Johnson shared: "As the team photographer for six years now, I have had the opportunity to see many patients receive reading glasses. This is always a wonderful moment because they can suddenly see clearly something they have struggled with for years, like reading or sewing. Usually, patients test their vision as they try on various lens strengths by reading the yellow sheets they carry with them as they navigate the clinics. I have heard before from many patients that they want glasses, so they can read their bibles, but I have never seen so many patients actually carrying their bibles with them as in this village! One man was holding his Bible very close to his face as he was trying on different pairs, and he started to cry with joy when he could finally see the words on the page. It was a really special moment to witness!"
There was so much gratitude on behalf of the patients. Josie told of one patient yesterday, a poetry teacher at the school where we were working, who wrote a poem to Team 598. "He had very much wanted to perform it for us orally because it rhymes so well, but we just couldn’t get a break! I asked him to write it down, which he did, but he decided to go print it out on this lovely paper instead. Pretty amazing!"
“Medicos De Los Estados Unidos
Sean Siempre Bienvenidos
Con Corazones Fortalecidos
Ven Los Nuestros Adoloridos.
Con paso firme y adelante
sigan siempre adelante
luchando por hacer el bien,
los guarde el que nació en Belén.
Gracias les dice Guatemala
la patria que no se iguala,
La fe en Práctica en su misión
que vibre siempre en sus corazones.
Esta obra de benevolencia
tendrá su recompensa
Dios les guarde día a día
y les de sabiduría.”
“Doctors from the United States
Be Always Welcome
With hearts fortified
To see the pain in ours
With firm and forward steps
Striving to do good
Protected by the one born in Bethlehem
Guatemala thanks you
For this unequaled homeland
The mission of Faith In Practice
Resounds always in our hearts
This work of benevolence
Will have its reward
God keep you day by day
And give you wisdom.”
Another letter came from a group of teenagers who had been seen at the Caballo Blanco clinic. Rebecca Bloch-Lopez read it out loud to the group this morning. This is the letter:
“Buenas tardes comon es tun has mejores doctoras del mundo lost queremos mucho contodo nuestra corazõn. Fue un honor trabovar con ustedes y las gueremos mucho y esperomos que vengan pronto y podernos ver Dios Las Bendido siempre y que no se olvidende Guate y que es un pais hermoso y que Dios los guarde donde quieran qye voyan”
“Good afternoon. As you are the best doctors in the world, we love you very much with all our heart. It was an honor to work with you and we love you very much and hope that you come back soon and let us see God bless you forever and that you don’t forget Guatemala and it is a beautiful country and that God protects you wherever you go.
Daris, Antoni and Karla: with much love
The Faith In Practice Team is equally grateful. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the Guatemalan volunteers known as "red hats" (as they wear the recognizable red cap with the Faith In Practice logo), for their hard work in their communities before we arrive, getting the word out to those who are ill or in need of medical care, and then organizing their arrivals over the two days so that approximately the same number show up and can be seen in the time allotted. It is "seamless in its chaos" as Doug Alexander put it.
Also, we are grateful to the Faith In Practice staff in Guatemala and at home, for their dedication to this mission. The preparation for these trips is incredible, from packing thousands of bags and pills and labeling to making hotel and travel arrangements for the group. This particular group was a large one, at 43 people, and required two buses and countless meals, snacks and waters.
That brings me to the drivers, William, Oliver, and Cesar, who we appreciate so dearly, as they transported us safely over some rugged terrain for hours and hours each day. These fabulous young men were also invaluable to the pharmacy team, as they took each prescription we filled and carefully explained the instructions for every medication to the patients, which were sometimes quite lengthy. They were so conscientious that they would sometimes come to us to clarify the dosages and instructions. And they did most of the eyeglass tests.
And the group is so grateful for the Guatemalan people for showing us true graciousness - patience, kindness and love. Despite their impoverished circumstances, they dressed as though they were going to church. They showed humility and respect even after waiting all night to be seen. They gave us the gift of their graces, and we are changed forever.
This has been an amazing week. On a personal note, as a non-Spanish speaking, non-medical first-timer, I feel almost unworthy being the one to report this week. It is truly humbling to witness these doctors and nurses give of themselves so completely, and many of them do it year after year. As we depart, we pray that the healing that has occurred here, leaves these precious people in a better more comfortable place. Amen.