God was certainly smiling on Team Thompson as 18 volunteers arrived in Houston from across the United States mid-day on Saturday without any travel hiccups, ready to catch the connecting flight to Guatemala City. The majority of the team were returning to Guatemala having last volunteered in March, 2019. After a year and a half of the COVID pandemic, it felt great to re-connect with fellow volunteers knowing that we were in Guatemala to help others who have had it so much more difficult than we have.
Team Thompson is welcoming three new volunteers to the team this year.
Rachelle, from Seattle WA is handling the Ultrasound Clinic. She’s always wanted to volunteer for a medical mission, and jumped at this opportunity to serve and share her professional skills. She’s here because Dr. Joe Austin was looking to recruit a Radiologist for the team, and Rachelle’s boss shared an email about this volunteer opportunity. She’s not sure yet what conditions she’ll be using the ultrasound for, but knows that the service is much needed and is ready to see patients.
Kathy, also from Seattle, WA is joining the team as a Pharmacist. She is a fluent Spanish speaker originally from Puerto Rico. Kathy entered the healthcare profession to help people, and acknowledged that Americans are so fortunate to have good access to healthcare. She is excited for the opportunity to bring her background and knowledge to people who are underserved. It is especially rewarding for her to be volunteering in a Spanish speaking country.
Marco, from Santa Rosa, CA is serving the team as an interpreter, but as an Emergency Tech in his job at home, he’ll likely be helpful running lab tests, doing EKGs, wound care, vital signs, and basically be a “jack-of-all-trades”! What’s more, Marco was born and raised in Guatemala, is fluent in Spanish, and has wanted to have an opportunity to give back to his first home. In his words, he’s “happy, excited, and blessed to be serving in Guatemala, and this is the right organization to be doing this with.”
After a long travel day and before dinner, Rev. Linda McCarty (President and CEO of Faith In Practice) gave an emotional welcome to the team. We were reminded by Linda how important the village clinics are in bringing much needed medical services to the Guatemalan people who have endured a very difficult year and a half. Her passionate and eloquent words were a perfect end to a long day.