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Today was our first day at the hospital to set up the operating rooms and to complete preoperative assessments. The crew worked diligently to unpack and inventory all the supplies and to create a plan for the week.
There are many of us who have completed trips on previous years, but many first timers as well. Among us all there is a certain amount of uncertainty and worry over how the week will go—from patients to supplies. Lorene spoke this morning about worry—she told us the story of the Mayan princess Ixmucane who had the ability to solve any problem. Lorene gave the team members Guatemalan worry dolls, known as muñecas quitapenas, as a reminder to share our worries with one another, with God, and with members of our group. “Let’s face our concerns with a group effort and in that way we can have an exciting first day.” What a gift to be able to share the worry load with the team!
We saw about 80 patients at the clinic for this week’s upcoming surgeries. Patients traveled far distances from villages for hours for this clinic. Dr. Balduf, our team lead and general surgeon, met with 82-year-old Marta, who had traveled almost two hours by bus with her grandson to be here today. Tuesday she will receive surgery to repair the painful hernia she has been dealing with for several years. These surgeries take place frequently in the U.S., but here in Guatemala patients sometime wait months for treatment. Marta is approaching her surgery without anxiety, and instead shined her light on all of us in clinic today. We are really coming together as a team and looking forward to all the other surgical patients this week in Reu.

-Callie Roth


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