Sunday, March 24, 2013

Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala

Faith in Practice Medical Mission Trip: Post from my first trip to Guatemala

Well, I promised to talk more about Guatemala. It was awesome! The weather was great and even though I only had one day to sight-see it was nice to just be away from snow and cold! Everyday we got up early and went to the hospital by 7 for surgery. Since I was in the post-op area, we stayed two hours after the surgeons and surgical teams left. I left each day around 5 or 5:30PM. The patients were so grateful for their care. And for the most part, I think I did a good job of translating (not a great job). There were barriers to communication, like accents, different vocabularies, and the people that only spoke Mayan dialects. Luckily those people brought translators and I played telephone with them, translating from English (the doctor) into Spanish (the translator) and then to the Mayan dialect (the patient). When I commented on how I worried if I was understanding my patients correctly with the whole telephone conversation, the doctor just said, "Well, how do you know if you messed up or not? It's not like you can find out if you did." Good point. I stopped worrying because the Mayan translator knew a lot about what we were doing and the plan for the patient.
Antigua, Guatemala is gorgeous; a lot of Europeans visit and Ex-pats live there. The tour guide from my half day tour was American; she'd moved their 40 years ago as a teen with her family.

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