Mission to Guatemala 2012
Our first visit was to Lucy. The nursing team and I were honored with an invitation inside her home, and witnessed a kind of gratitude for that home (which had been built by The Shalom Foundation) that far outdid what any of could have expected from someone living in such extreme poverty. Our hearts broke in unison when Lucy disclosed that the beautiful baby girl in her womb was past due, and that she completely lacked access to any kind of hospital, clinic, or even midwife to facilitate delivery… Las Conchas simply didn’t have anything to offer her or her baby to be… And Lucy simply didn’t have access to transportation. Her plan, when the time came, was to take to the bumpy dirt road outside her home and walk until she passed someone who could help. Not long after, we ran into Julio, another man Shalom had provided for in the past. With one of his precious daughters wrapped around his legs, Julio lamented that he no longer had a job and that he was struggling to provide food and fulfill basic needs for his family. Heart-wrenching visits like these passed one by one throughout the day until finally, standing outside a small tin home on a hillside of the Las Conchas community while the nursing team examined another helpless baby girl, I stared down the steep dirt road toward the masses of other small tin houses, and thought to myself that there was simply too much.
Luckily, I had someone there to remind me that miracles happen one by one. And the reminder was well-timed. Today was a day of miracles. I even think I may have contributed to one very special miracle at the clinic that we visited in Las Canoas. The nurses were overjoyed at the bags and bags of medical donations that we brought with us. They dug right into everything, and with great care they organized it all between the two small rooms that functioned as their office and exam room. Their gratitude for the donations was unmistakable. still it wasn’t long before I became aware of a rather large deterrent to their actual ability to use many of the supplies that we were leaving them with: They couldn’t read any of it. In fact, they couldn’t read any of the bottles or instruction sheets for any of the drugs that they had so neatly organized in their cabinets from previous rounds of donations. It was therefore with great honor that I was able to translate the function and dosage information for their entire cabinet. The nurses enthusiastically noted and labeled everything, with their minds undoubtedly full of the many local people that they would now be able to treat with the medicines they had received.
The need here is overwhelming. But with the right mixture of generosity and sharing of skills… perhaps these small miracles can be even more so.