Today, we went to the second village that we service named El Pinal. There was a stark contrast at this village in that there was a lot more patients with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. There was also a lot of patients who had already sought medical care and were told that they needed a surgery that they couldn’t afford so they were coming to us for help. We also saw many patients with mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and domestic violence that were able to speak to either our chaplain, Gustavo, or our social worker, Jenny.
One of our providers, Lisa, saw an elderly woman, Dominga, who had a recent fall that left her unable to walk or move without assistance. She lived alone and relied on neighbors to bring her a tortilla or bits of food every few days. While we did have a wheelchair to give her, she explained that the wheelchair was not a feasible option for her since the ground in her house was uneven and she did not have anyone to push her. Since she didn’t have any way to get home, one of our leaders Patti was helping her find a tuk tuk (taxi) when our amazingly helpful security guard Gustavo excitedly reported that he had found a ambulance to take her home for free along with two local Guatemalan volunteers who lived near her and were going to help watch over her. While we weren’t able to provide her much for her today, Dominga repeatedly said how happy she was to see us and how she knows God is watching over her. If anything we hope that she left knowing that she was listened to and was able to receive some emotional healing with love and kindness.
Our dental team did incredible work again today pulling 504 teeth! One of our interpreters, Ann, told a beautiful story about how one of the dental residents, Nadereh, help soothe a scared child. It was the boys first time seeing a dentist and like many children and adults in Guatemala he had very poor dentition and tooth decay. While the dentists have local anesthetic that the use, the children still get very scared from the environment and the experience of having instruments in their mouth. Ann was having to restrain the boy as he was kicking and screaming so Nadereh started singing to him and he calmed down so much that Ann only had to hold his hand.
Tomorrow is our last day seeing patients in Guatemala and we can’t wait to see who we will meet tomorrow.