Our first official day of work began with a morning devotional led by the team’s chaplain, James.
There are forty-eight team members on Team Morgan 648, including about a dozen Faith In Practice staff members. Approximately half of our team has traveled to Guatemala before, but this is the first trip for many of us.
Today was triage day. The anticipation and excitement on the bus to Hilario Galindo was palpable—returning team members were excited to be back and many of the new members of the team were anxious but eager.
When we arrived, people were already waiting outside the clinic to see the doctors. The group consisted mostly of women, but there were also men and a few children. We visited many of these patients and their families while they waited. Rather than inquiring about the reasons they’ve come to Hilario Galindo, we spent time learning about them and practicing our limited Spanish skills since our translators were busy with other important tasks today.
In the wheelchair clinic, a large group of patients from San Sebastian had traveled to the hospital together. We talked with some great people in this group—Isabel, Estacia, and Evelyn told us about the nearby volcano called Santiaguito, while Tomas, Vilma, and Maria educated us on K’iche’, which is one of more than twenty Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala. For future reference, good-bye is pronounced “chock-chick” and thank you is pronounced “mal-tee-ōsh.”
Meanwhile in the clinic, our doctors worked throughout the afternoon meeting with patients. We’re lucky to have several doctors who speak Spanish, but with the help of five translators, all of the doctors were able to communicate with each patient and understand their health issues to determine the best course of action. Two of these translators are Gerrardo and Kevin. Gerrardo and Kevin were incredibly helpful with their mastering of both Spanish and English, especially with the difficulty that comes with translating complicated medical terms.
The recovery and surgical areas were a flurry of activity as nurses unloaded and set up each of the rooms with all the necessary instruments and supplies. It was a wonder to watch them work together to create order amidst the chaos of unpacking supplies. Their efficiency was a testament to their professional skills and their ability to work well with each other. We’re so grateful to nurses like Nancy, who came out of retirement to join the team, and to nurses like Deb and Holly who are here for the first time.
It was wonderful to finally begin the work! We ended our day collectively exhausted. Some of us rested our brains, and some of us rested our aching bodies. However, other team members are certain to spend their evening working through the surgical and care procedures they will perform tomorrow. May God bless the hands of those who serve and bless the hearts of those in need of comfort and care.