Faith In Practice Team 611 travel to Jalapa to build a clinic, Day 2
"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world."
Anne Frank...Diary of a Young Girl
Day 2 of our mission trip starts early. The two most frequent words we will hear this week are "early to rise" and "on the bus". We start each day at 5:30am with devotional led by Daniel Davidson and songs led by Carol Harris (who has quite an undertaking with this group). The devotional prepares us for the start of each clinic day, sets the priorities and needs of the patients that we will see as well as the needs of the members of this team. After devotional we will have breakfast and board the bus, leaving Antiqua for our trip to the Department of Jalapa.
We will have clinic in two different villages, two days each. First day of clinic will start Monday so we will set up clinic today, Sunday, in the town of Monjas. The local Guatemalan villagers will be on site when we arrive, helping to unload trucks and trunks and deliver them to classrooms usually in an elementary school. Faith In Practice will not agree to go to a village or town unless the village leaders promise 40-50 local volunteers to be present on clinic days. The plans for the village clinics are developed throughout the year in multiple meetings between village leaders and the Guatemalan staff in Antiqua. The Faith In Practice volunteers will set up working clinics; Adult and Pediatric Medicine Clinics, OB/GYN and Cryo Clinics, Dental Clinic, a Laboratory and a Pharmacy. The Referral Clinic will be staffed by Faith In Practice Guatemalan staff out of Antiqua, they will be responsible for scheduling and transporting patients to the appropriate hospital when the surgical teams arrive from Faith In Practice at a later date.
Jalapa is a Department of Guatemala located in the southeast area of the republic. We will hold clinics in the city of Monjas and the city of San Carlos Alzatate where the most recognizable feature of this town is the volcano of Alzatate. The economy of these towns are agriculture and livestock due to the fertile valleys (called "sandy places" by the locals). The population is made up of indigenous Mayans (Poqomam and K'iche' Mayans) and Ladinas (of hispanic background).
In traveling to Monjas, the area appears very arid, more brown than green, dusty and dry and barren (get the picture). The trip showed dramatic scenery consisting of deep valleys, tall cliffs and lots of switchbacks on narrow roads. Lucky for us that our bus drivers are excellent. They will also help out in Pharmacy when clinic is open (again, lucky for us).
We arrive in the village and the local volunteers are already on hand waiting to unload the trucks. The unloading begins with local volunteers and Faith In Practice volunteers working together hand-in-hand to build a clinic. It is an amazing sight to behold (several photos will be attached) to show this interaction of two countries working together to provide health care to patients with a great need. Large boxes of wheelchairs are carried into the mobility clinic. They will be assembled according to the size of the patient. Melissa Howell in devotional this morning expressed these words, "I feel that when we give the gift of a wheelchair to a patient, we are giving a gift to the entire family." In prior clinics, we have witnessed patients arriving in clinic on the backs of family members, in a wheelbarrow, plastic chairs and makeshift crutches and canes made out of tree branches. Melissa could not have said it more profoundly.
The tedious work of building a clinic continues with each clinic setting their clinic up in the way that works best for that clinic. We have a box lunch in the clinic . Upon completion, we board the bus for the ride back to the hotel in Jalapa (a 45 minute bus ride). Faith In Practice is ready for opening day in Monjas. Please continue supporting our team with your thoughts and prayers.
In closing, the words of Mahatma Ghandi; "Be the change that you wish to see in the world".
Goodnight from Guatemala