Heading Home…

The devotional book was a blessing for us all and we hope to apply not only in our mission as physical and occupational therapists, but in every moment of our daily lives. Yesterday morning we realized our time here was unfortunately coming to an end, and we wanted to make the most of it on our last day with both the children and the therapists. There was a surprise celebration for Emily’s birthday in which the therapists shared their own tradition of what a birthday celebration was like in Guatemala (minus the pinata). Our final moments spent with the children and therapists reminded us to be grateful for the things that God has already and will bless us with. We will always remember the memories and the relationships developed throughout the week with the therapists, children, and our team.
We had the opportunity to spend our last afternoon in the historical city of Antigua. We visited the ruins of the beautiful monastery and roamed the streets of the Artisans market. Many of us realized we are not too savvy with our bargaining skills; however it was a good learning experience.
The whole trip was a success and all of us are hoping to come back and continue to strengthen our relationship with the people of Guatemala. Thanks for all of your support and prayers. We will see you soon! Hasta Luego!

A Fullfilled Day Of Learning

Last night we were able to attend a church service that really tugged at all of our group members´ heart strings. Considering there were Spanish and English speaking people attending the service, the pastor and his wife provided a bilingual message for us. We were also blessed to worship in song in Spanish and English. The take home message was that our “perspectiva” must magnify God so that our struggles will be “light and momentary.” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
This morning the OT group had the opportunity to visit with the children at the school. After enjoying the scenery on the bus ride there, we were quickly bombarded by young children anxious to receive the candy and gifts that we brought. We observed the end of a devotional service at the school´s chapel which also serves as the church´s sanctuary. We met Mark Smith, headmaster of the school and pastor of the church, who introduced us to our translator, a senior student named Oral. Oral led us to the classroom full of students waiting to hear about Occupational Therapy. We explained what OT is and had them participate in different activities that would simulate a possible OT session. The students enjoyed the competition that we set up with them and had to race to put on a shirt with one arm tied behind their back. Afterwards, we took a tour of the school and church and encountered many other classrooms full of kids who we gladly gave more treats and candy. In the afternoon, we created a tripod finger splint for a child´s thumb. The child was born with an extra digit and after its removal, his thumb was prone to excessive bending; the splint´s purpose was to prevent excessive bending and keep the thumb in proper alignment for functional use.
The PT group had the opportunity to meet with the new hospital director and she stated she was very grateful for the services our team was providing and hoped our relationship would become stronger. The interaction we had today was mucho bountiful with both the children and therapists we were working with. There was a multitude of demonstrations of creative treatment techniques we shared that sparked the therapists´ motivation to practice and incorporate into their own treatments. The children showed a positive and significant response to the treatments we were providing; some children demonstrated movements that they had never shown before in rehab. This afternoon, we provided a presentation about the pathology of Guillan-Barre and its symptoms, progression, and treatment to both the OT and PT therapists.
Evening devotionals involving the book “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” have inspired us to think about how the human body is anatomically presented and how it´s associated with the spiritual Body of Christ. Tonight we will be discussing Motion and how it relates to spiritual strength and endurance.

Kicking it into overdrive!


To say the least, today was the busiest day so far. We really got our hands dirty and jumped in helping out treating the kids. We saw a lot of children with many of the common diagnoses we see in the states, but we also saw a significant number of children with rare diagnoses. The PTs and OTs split up and helped out in the two different therapy gyms. The OTs collaborated with the Guatemalan OTs and OT students in treating patients and coming up with solutions for seating.

The Belmont OT students were able to practice their musical talents and Spanish with the Guatemalan children with the donated musical instruments. The children loved the instruments as well as the attempt to communicate using our version of Spanish. In PT we were able to assist in treating many patients. In addition we were asked to evaluate two sets of siblings with rare genetic disorders. It was a great experience for the student to brush up on their manual muscle testing. In addition we had one set of twins teach us all a Guatemalan dance. We used the dance to be able to observe their functional abilities and muscle strength, in addition to testing our own coordination skills and rhythm.

We continue to be humbled by the knowledge, beauty and caring of this culture. We are heading to church tonight to share in worship within a different culture. Thanks so much for your donations. They are all greatly appreciated by the people here. In addition we appreciate your continued prayers.

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Day 1…A Full Days Work


Last night we had a traditional Guatemalan meal inside a ginormous hut. After a good nights sleep we headed out for our first full day of work. Half the group began work at the rehab hospital and observed and participated in the treatment of 9 kids. They worked with sensory stimulation and developmental activities.

The other half of the team went to the Shalom School. We attended chapel time for the school and participated in the singing and devotional. We did a presentation to about 40 students who will be graduating soon regarding the profession of physical therapy. We had the students interact with our demonstrations. We were able to deliver nap mats, books, school supplies, and toys to the school.

We returned to the hospital for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon presenting and discussing clinical cases with the staff of the hospital. We delivered the donated sewing machine and they were very excited about doubling their potential to make braces and splints for the kids.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Feel free to send us comments (use the comments link below).

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We Have Arrived!

Bus Ride

We made it!….Everything went smooth and we had no troubles getting through customs. Even though many of us didn´t get much sleep from anticipation we are all definitely feeling the exhaustion from the effects of travel. When we arrived we loaded up the bus and made our way straight to the hospital, distributed the donations and determined which facility they would go to. Our team was given a tour of the hospital which is for children up to age 12. We got to meet with a few of the therapist we will be working with and directors of the hospital.

Everybody was very welcoming and appreciative for the work we will be doing in the upcoming week. We then took an exciting bus ride and got to feel the rush of Guatemala traffic on the way to the hotel. We are now resting up and preparing for our first Guatemalan dinner. We will keep you updated daily throughout the week.

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2008 Mission Team to Work in Guatemala

Guatemala Mission Team 2008 An eleven member team of Belmont University students and faculty are serving rehabilitation hospitals in Guatemala over Spring break. The group plans to provide physical and occupational therapy to the needs of the local hospital as well as train the hospital staff in up-to-date knowledge and treatment techniques. The students will also have the opportunity to visit a local school and inspire students to pursue health professional goals.
At the end of their mission service work, the group plans to visit the historic city of Antigua, Guatemala.
There are many Thank You’s to pass along: The Shalom Foundation played a major role in organizing the logistics and on-sight coordination of this medical mission trip. In addition the team would like to recognize the College of Health Sciences and Nursing, Gabhart scholarship fund as well as individual family, friends, and churches.
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