Things are a little different here in Guatemala. There are limited resources that make each of the procedures a slightly harder to accomplish. In the operation rooms, the doctors and nurses don’t have access to the same machinery and supplies that they are used to. This means that there is a lot of improvisation and creative thinking that has to happen in order for the operation to go smoothly. I really admired the way that the different teams were able to put their heads together to make things work. Having limited resources also requires us to only use what we need so that nothing goes to waste.
Another prominent issue here is inaccessibility, which prevents many people from getting the care that they so desperately need. As I learned, there are many people here who have not been able to walk on their own for years, yet they have never owned a wheelchair. This is why the Free Wheelchair Mission has such a significant impact on the lives of the people who visit. Even so, there are some people who cannot physically get to the hospital to receive this care. Today, there was a woman suffering from a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident. She lives in a remote village that is difficult to travel to and she did not have the means of transportation to get to the clinic. Fortunately, a local psychiatrist heard her story, picked her up from her village, and brought her all the way here. I have noticed that community plays such a big role in the lives of people in Guatemala. Most of the people who accompany the patients to the hospitals have been neighbors who have taken on the role of caretaker.
Being able to serve in Guatemala is such a valuable reminder to be grateful for what we have back home. As David reminded us in this morning’s devotional about the rich young man, sometimes it’s hard to let go of the things that we hold most dear. We hope to challenge ourselves to give all that we have in order to better serve God and his people.
We are thankful to have been able to have wrapped up yet another successful day of surgeries and wheelchair distribution. It has been such a privilege to be a part of a mission that truly changes lives. Although the third day has been the most exhausting day for most of our team members, we know that we are doing things that really matter. The shared moments, warm embraces, and sweet smiles from the patients give us strength and motivation to work through the long days. We look forward to our last day of surgeries tomorrow!