After a long day of traveling on our flights that left dark and early, our team arrived safely at our hotel in Antigua. So far, nobody seems to have had any issues with the air quality from the volcanic eruptions, but we’ve brought masks for our volunteers that they can choose to wear just in case. There is ash on the ground between the cobblestones, but that’s really the only effect we’ve seen so far.
This morning we began work at Las Obras Hermano Pedro Hospital. Our medical staff met with patients in the clinics, and tomorrow will pick up as surgeries begin. This year we have specialists in urology, audiology, anesthesiology and ENT. We also have nurses working in the PACU to assist patients recovering from surgery, and we have our wonderful pharmacist, Jessica, who graciously put together emergency medicine packs for our volunteers in case anyone gets sick.
In addition to our medical volunteers, we also have an Ambassador team that spends time playing games and doing crafts with the families waiting for their consultations. The Ambassadors play a huge role in helping our group connect with the Guatemalan people, and they’re able to help reduce stress the families waiting might have. Coloring with crayons and making funky glasses out of pipe cleaners for kids might seem like a small job, but it makes a big difference in everyone’s attitudes during the week. All together, our group gets to help patients feel better physically, but we also get to help them feel better emotionally.
Photos by Erin Milsten and Matthew Bene