Our January team had a very productive trip. Hannah and Jess were kind enough to blog for us! And they have great pics. Read on about their time…..
Every trip is unique and special and this one was no exception. Steve Stahl MD, Hannah Griffin PA, and Jessica Meyers NP departed early on 1/14. We united with Jovita, her brother Juan, her sister Karen MD and her friend – Dentist Dr. Magda in Guatemala City and drove across the country to Camotan. We enjoyed a wonderful meal at a local Ranchero and even got to ride a horse. We laughed so hard the first night that we all knew we were in for a great week.
This trip was the first to resume mountain clinics post Covid. On Monday morning Dr. Steve, Dr. Karen And Dr. Magda stayed at the clinic and saw many of the established patients there. Jessica, Hannah, Juan and Jovita headed to a mountain village. We were joined by local Guatemalan surgeon Dr. Sosa. He was able to obtain a large donation of rice that we were able to provide to the families in addition to medical care.
We saw more than 150 patients on day 1. Dr. Steve joined us in the afternoon so we could see everyone before the rain came. We learned a lot from the first day and put systems in place that evening to make the rest of the week run more smoothly.
Tuesday and Wednesday we were joined by an American nurse named Susan who has lived in Guatemala for the past 15 years and her 16 year old son Zane. They were incredible additions to the team. Susan organized the pharmacy into an orderly and efficient system and helped with minor procedures and provided education to the families. Zane was an excellent and compassionate interpreter. On those days we went to a village much further up the mountain where there is essentially no access to healthcare at all. The cost to travel from the village into Camotan is a week’s wage and therefore not possible for the families in this area. The few that truly needed follow up care, OB care or surgery were identified and will be followed to ensure that occurs. Many of them just wanted to know their kids were ok or relief from minor ailments. They were so open to basic health education and genuinely wanted to feel better and live more healthy lives.
Hannah and Jessica were able to make a house call on an ill 4 year old and were welcomed into their home and were able to provide medications for the child and reassurance to the mother. We also got to meet their pig and watch the ladies make tortillas.
The final morning we all returned to the same mountain village we had gone to Monday and by this time we were able to see the same amount of patients we saw the first day in 1/2 the time d/t the more efficient systems we had instituted. We were also joined by Guatemalan medical students who helped triage and see patients as well.
Dr. Jovita and Dr. Magda put on a dental clinic where they performed many dental extractions of infected teeth and relieved many people of their chronic dental pain.
We all enjoyed our final night together in Antigua. The beauty of this trip was that we all genuinely enjoyed working together for the same aim – to provide help and hope to the people who need it most. There was rich conversation and belly aching laughter. We all left the week recharged and excited to continue carrying out this mission to spread our little bits of good together to create big change in this part of the world
Thank you so much for reading!