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Today was the group’s last day of surgery at Obras hospital, completing 6 operations over the course of the day and then beginning our pack-up process. Our team of 23 members has now successfully completed a total of 32 surgeries over the course of 4 days- 9 surgeries on Monday, 8 on Tuesday, 9 on Wednesday and 6 on Thursday.

Dr. Clegg, Dr. Nawab and Dr. Polley have done an amazing job with our patients every step of the way over the course of the past week, truly sharing meaningful moments with their patients. However, I would be remiss if I did not also mention that every single other member of our team did an equally amazing job, checking in on our patients and coordinating the best care possible in a new hospital- something that requires a lot of effort. As team translator I was present for the many vulnerable yet powerful moments our patients shared with all of our team members- surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, practitioners, scrub technicians, first assistants, circulators and Zimmer Biotech representatives- and it was a great gift to see our patients display strength, perseverance, humility, thankfulness and most of all, faith, as they return to health.

Our last devotional was led again by Dr. Magdy Khalil, and centered on how faith and God’s word can spread through the position we find ourselves in. When we try to overly quantify our impact, we fail to grasp the ripple effect of our work. But when we realize that every patient has family, friends, coworkers, and many more people who will benefit from their health we can see the interconnectedness of ourselves and our actions, and that because we answered the call to be here in Guatemala we spread faith much further into the world than on the surface of just one total joint replacement.

I hope this blog can be another vessel for spreading faith and motivation and extending the positivity of this mission to all those tuning in from home- wherever home may be. And through our work, others may be brought to faith as well. Dr. Nawab also commented that in doing this mission we really become family- as coworkers, as team members, as providers, as Christians and as people- and that this trip has made him reevaluate his definition of family to include us all on the mission and the patients whom we have bonded with. I would have to agree with him.

After the day at the hospital, the team walked back to the hotel under clear blue skies and rested in preparation for our celebratory team dinner at a local hotel named Santo Domingo. We ate with several members of Obras hospital staff as well, had a really nice time, and then headed back to the beautiful Quinta de las Flores hotel for some well-deserved rest, where I am writing right now in my casita as the rain is now hitting the roof tiles and the moonlight illuminates my room.

Until tomorrow,

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