Day 3! Today brought more amazing opportunities to meet great people and hear their stories. The team just keeps getting better every single day, ironing out kinks and refining systems. Though temperatures soared into the 90s, with humidity through the roof, we suited and showed up in full force.
One of my favorite things to see when I’m working is all the beautiful clothing that the patients wear to the clinic. Many show up in their Sunday best to see the providers. Many also wear traditional Guatemalan skirts and aprons, which are truly gorgeous. I got to photograph Nicolasa, who was wearing a beautiful yellow floral top, with a patterned skirt and a white floral apron. When asked about their clothing, many of their faces light up and they love to share the stories behind them. Lots are gifts from family members or bought new for the clinic.
Working in the lab where many patients need blood tests, it’s very common to see children nervous or scared of the needles that are used for the tests. However today I met two little girls who were quite the opposite. The first was a girl who came in with her mother, she was about 8 years old. Both her mother and her needed to get their fingers poked for their tests. The girl watched her mother very intently as she received the test, and hopped happily up into the chair when it was her turn. She didn’t seem nervous at all, instead just very interested and was even smiling as the test was explained to her. She took the needle like a champ, smiling the whole time. It was so fun to get to see a young girl just happy to be there and so interested in what was going on. The second little girl, probably around 4 years old, came in with her mother who was getting tests. She was so curious about everything, even taking the blood pressure pump and helping squeeze it. She was absolutely adorable and so happy wandering around exploring while her mother sat for tests.
One of my favorite stories of the day was one where two little boys came in with their mother and grandmother. The boys were around 18 months and 4 years old and were both born with a congenital defect that inhibited their abilities to walk or stand on their own. Because of this, their mother and grandmother carry them everywhere, either in their arms, or strapped to their back. Today, they got to visit the mobility clinic, and with the help of our amazing team of providers, were fitted with pediatric wheelchairs, and assisted standing boards. The wheelchairs come equipped with pouches for diapers and other supplies, and spare parts for when the boys grow, so the chairs can grow with them. The standing boards can be used to avoid pressure ulcers from sitting down for too long, and to help begin to build some muscle in the legs. Providing these things for those two boys is truly something life changing, for the boys, for their mother and grandmother, and for all the people involved in helping them get there. They now have chairs that they can move around in, that can stick with them as they grow, which is helpful for when they are older and their mother no longer can carry them everywhere on her back. The family was so grateful to everyone involved and it really was a precious moment. And thanks to our wonderful Marie, we have pictures of the boys and the team during the process.
Every moment with patients here, both big and small, is really something special. Whether I am watching a boy get a wheelchair and being mobile for the first time, or simply a child playing with a doll that was provided by a volunteer, every single one is something beautiful. Tomorrow is our last day in Caballo Blanco serving this community, and I am so excited to see what awaits us there!