Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guatemala Part One

I do not know where to start.  I am going to try and just tell all the details and then hopefully I will have a more thoughtful and introspective post later.  
We left from the church building on Tuesday July 6th.  We arrived in Atlanta and got all checked into our hotel room.  On the bus ride I still had not met many people and was still a little nervous of who I would hang out with on the trip.  Everyone ended up being so friendly and such great friends.  That night I stayed in a room with two great girls.  They are both still in college so it was fun to get to know them and to kind of remember what it was like to be carefree with all you have to worry about is yourself.  I definitely had ME time on this trip which was incredible.  That night it was kind of hard to sleep just because of all the nervousness and excitement of the trip that laid ahead of us.  We got to the Atlanta airport around 7:40 and check in was a breeze because we had printed our boarding passes ahead of time.  Once we checked our bags I told Miss Dee that there was no turning back now.  :)
We had plenty of time to get a snack and relax before we boarded our plane.  
Once they started boarding the plane is when I really started to get nervous.  I still did not feel like I knew anyone really that well and here we are about to get on a plane to another country and these are my links to reality.  The plane ride was very smooth and it was long but went by relatively quickly.  (The in flight entertainment helped, Date Night)  We arrived in Guatemala city around 12ish?  I really had no idea what time it was the whole trip.  Which was very nice.  Customs was extremely easy to get through and no one lost any luggage.  Leaving the airport you are greeted by a ton of people waiting for relatives to fly in.  Unless you are a passenger you are not allowed in the airport.  So it was pretty interesting the way we were greeted.  We met up with our group leader, Rick, and met some other people we would be spending the week with on our trip.  Some of them were even on our plane from Atlanta.  We were waiting on our bus to arrive and also for some more planes to fly into Guatemala.  I ended up riding in the van instead of the bus.  We were given fried chicken to eat in the van.  We made a little pit stop on the way where I had my last Milky Way for 5 days.  Chocolate was not very big in Guatemala.  We made it to the Hotel Santo Tomas around 4:30.  My roomie, Dee and I got to take a nap while waiting on the other group to arrive.  Dinner was always at 7 every night.  The nap was exactly what I needed because I had gotten a little headache from the plane and van rides.  Breakfast and Dinner was eaten at the Hotel everyday.  The breakfast was the easiest meal for me to eat.  Dinner was always a meat and a starch.  I did not eat a whole lot at dinner.  The first night it was roast beef with some sort of sauce with rice.  Most people drank coke but I would get bottled water every night since we could not drink the water out of the tap this was one way to get water.  We had a meeting that night after dinner and a little devotional.  We found out where we would be going and what we would be doing at the meeting.  I found out I would be taking vitals.  I had to ask what that meant.  It was taking blood pressure, pulse, weight and temp.  As I have no medical experience at all I was a little worried about this assignment.  I was told how to take blood pressure by two different people and I was afraid I would not be able to do it.  Luckily when I got to my clinic the woman that came with us had a digital blood pressure machine so I got to cheat for the two days I had to take vitals.  :)  I did have to take 5-10 babies pulses.  That was not as fun because some of them were really afraid.  The language barrier also proved to be difficult sometimes but it is amazing how hand signals are universal.  :)  The first day of clinic we were in a church building.  The dentists set up there station with three lounge chairs that you would find by the side of a pool.   They have 4 bins of liquid to clean the tools for pulling teeth.  These people just sit there and get there teeth pulled without flinching or making any sort of noise.  They get numbed but I do not know how much that helps.  
We only had one little boy that was upset and crying.  The other thing I was so impressed with was that these people wait all day to talk a doctor or dentist.  They get there around 9 or 10 and we did not get done until 4 or 5.  They wait ALL day.  How patient someone must be to wait that long.  They do not get upset or frustrated or angry.  They wait happily knowing they are going to get the care they need.  This bus is what we rode in every day to get to the clinics and back to the hotel.  I was probably in this bus for 12 hours total.  The roads are muddy and bumpy and very narrow.  They also are winding up and down mountains so sometimes you could look out your window at a 1000 foot drop or more.  I actually really enjoyed the bus rides.  One member of the team told us of a saying Let Go and Let God.  This was so true when riding in these buses and on these roads.  Sometimes you just have to have faith and hope that God is with you always.  I truly felt this way on this trip.


Ryla said...

What an amazing experience, and way to go taking those vitals!!

Nathan Williams said...


I'm so excited for you! That's a great adventure. I would never trade my time visiting South Africa for anything. I think you gain so much perspective when you walk in other lands.