10:18pm: We’re on our final hour in the air from Houston to Portland. It’s been another long day of travel, leaving Antigua at 9am by bus. Leaving Guatemala City, killing time in the Houston airport, and now almost back to our own realities back in the States.
Yesterday was our final day. A group made rounds early at Casa de Fe to see patients one more time before heading out today. When they arrived though, many of the patients were out in the city on a walk or had already headed home. The team had a free afternoon in Antigua, a day to walk the cobblestone streets and see the city. We had a final team dinner, took lots and lots of photos and shared our gratitude with one another.
And now as I write our final post, in a way it feels like time to go back and in a way it feels like the week has only just started. Once we get into the rhythm of the city, the people and our schedule, it was time to pack up and start planning for next year. I remember writing our first post in the same position, with the same overhead lighting on a dark plane. This time feels different though. My heart feels fuller, and my mind a little clearer. My body doesn’t quite feel rested, and yet my soul feels rejuvenated. The experiences we shared in Antigua – with our patients, with the community and with each other – will be remembered forever. The feelings we have of community, faith and kindness will power us in the coming weeks to bring our mission home.
All week, I’ve been hearing stories of the trips past. About the general traditions or the stand out moments from a certain year. Things like “Remember when..” or “We always..”. Over the years, the returning team members have seen the city change, and they have seen how this weeklong experience has changed. With the help of Faith In Practice, Las Obras and their fearless leaders, this surgical mission has evolved into something so special and so close to the heart of so many.
For all of our team members who have read and are reading this, thank you for your commitment to our team. We couldn’t have done this week without you and your contributions to our team. For all of our family and friends who have read and are reading this, thank you for your support. We also couldn’t have done this week without all you do for our team members in the many ways you help us make this trip possible.