This year we have quite the team hailing from Houston, to Minnesota, to the Pacific Northwest. Once everyone had arrived in Guatemala City, we hopped on the bus for a quick two hour journey to El Progreso where we would spend the first night. Introductions and the first orientation kicked off the trip and our weary travelers headed off to bed.
The next morning, guided by the light of the full moon and the aroma of Guatemalan coffee, the first 5:30 wake-up call felt doable. With bagged breakfasts in tow, we all piled on the bus for our six hour journey from El Progreso to San Francisco (no, not that one).
The journey passed quite quickly as we passed lush jungles and small roadside shops. Our first and only official stop was a quick bathroom break just before we took the bridge over Lake Izabal. The auto market was closed for repairs so we did not get a chance to grab local snacks, however this gave us all the opportunity to finish our fresh fruit before reaching the fruit quarantine zone as we entered Petén.
As we continued on we passed more beautiful scenery, some cattle, and even our hotel as we headed straight to the clinic for set up. First, there was a tour of the school so that everyone could assess their rooms, and so that no one was carrying heavy boxes longer than necessary while searching for rooms. It was all hands on deck to carry the equipment to the appropriate room and the teams assembled their stations efficiently.
After this we had lunch in pockets of shade throughout the grounds, took a team picture while (almost) everyone was in their Faith In Practice shirts, and then we headed to Hotel Gill-Town – our home away from home for the trip.
Everyone grabbed keys and scrubs and headed to find their rooms. We had devotional at 6 PM and discussed embracing the storms of life with grace. Small crosses were also placed on everyone’s seats to be worn throughout the week as a comfort and reminder of why we are here. Finally, the hotel provided a wonderful meal of chicken, veggies, zucchini, and a vat of guacamole. After eating their fill the team returned to their rooms with excitement and anticipation for the first day of patients!
We can’t wait to see what this week will bring and for the life-changing experiences for all involved.