20 November 2010

San Martin

Well world, another month in Guatemala has come and gone! Hard to believe that I'm about 1/4 through my year!

I spent this past week outside of the city of Chimaltenango in a small town called San Martin (central-East Guatemala) accompanying and translating for a medical mission team from Pittsburgh, PA. It was super fun!! We stayed in a Guatemalan-nice hotel in San Martin by night, and by day went out to very rural aldeas to set up free medical clinics. It was all ochestrated by the former vice mayor of San Martin, so he knew where to go/ how to get us there (different communities each day, from 20 min to 90 min away from San Martin!) We had a team of an eye doctor, 3 ER doctors, 1 Guatemalan dentist, and many nurses and other randos. It was a really great team, and I was so happy to join them this week.

Here´s some highlights...
- Free trip to the booming metropolis of San Martin
- Pineapple pie (omg, readers- you MUST try making this!) and lots of other delicious non-Guatemalan food (from an ex-pat who married a Guatemalteca and run a restaurant in San Martin)
- New vocabulary (Including uterus and gallbladder. Very useful.)
- 3 Minor surgeries (which I absolutely did not participate in or translate for)
- Free anti-parasite cookies for Juli
- 1 very steep hill + 1 very full bus = 20 terrified gringos rolling backwards
- Seeing 248 patients in the medical clinic in one day (about 850 people all week!)
- Giving out hundreds of pairs of reading glasses to people who probably can´t read

Like I said, it was a great week- even if it raised some questions about dependency on foreigners and the Santa Claus effect. All in all, though-- people who have had aches and pains and infections for YEARS got a real live doctor to sit down, listen to them, validate their problem, and give them free medicine, even if only 1 week´s worth- so I count that as success.

Hope all are well!
bendiciones, juli

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